A study by eMarketer, a US based market research company has come out with a study that is making Indians very proud.
Released at a conference in Bengaluru this study has shown that compared to other nations India has shown a tremendous growth of 37.4 per cent in the user base of social networking sites in 2013.
On Facebook India has already emerged as having the second largest user base after the US and the growth in the usage of Twitter and Linkedin has been even more phenomenal.
The promoters of digital media are of course delighted as they see this as a huge marketing potential. But should we as a country be happy with this development? I don’t think so
The usage of mobiles that was supposed to have increased communication was the first step in creating this gap between the real and the perceived notions. Have you noticed a couple sitting in a café for over one hour sipping their coffee without talking to each other because they are engrossed on the messages flashing on their mobiles. Who knows they might be even playing mobile games. I have.
The increased usage of Facebook similarly, for the vast majority in the country means that people, particularly girls and women in small towns who are not allowed to talk at home can express their feelings on the Facebook.
It becomes a medium to show off that facet of their personality which their relatives are not aware of. Having gone through a lot of apolitical conversations on the Facebook I have discovered that many of these women who are not very vocal in the English language are using quotes from well-known sites. This, as TS Eliot said in the ‘Love song of Prufrock’ helps them to:
“Prepare a face to meet the other faces that you meet”
In other words, the increase in the usage of Facebook to me only means that in India even unitary families are on the verge of breaking up because its members are unable to talk directly to each other!
Twitter has become a vehicle for VIPs in a hurry who want to see their names on Page 1 or Page 3. And the fact that their numbers are on the rise does not surprise me.
Similarly, the increased usage of Linkedin is not a very positive development. Most users are using it like the now defunct Employment Exchange to look for new job opportunities. Is that a positive sign? I am not too sure.
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