Google India, in its first ever annual Google Zeitgeist report, has mentioned that Orkut, Youtube and Gmail are the three fastest growing search terms that the users from India submitted to Google in 2007. We are witnessing the spurt in the number of social networking sites being launched.
A Delhi based online research consultancy firm recently declared that around 11 million urban Indians are engaged in social networking. The survey found that 52 per cent of users are under 25 years and are mostly male. 63 per cent of the total were seasoned internet users, clocking in at least two years online. These social networking sites are misty reflections of the IT boom in India. This concept has excited many big companies and they are trying to encash the rising popularity of social networking sites. Reliance Entertainment’s Big Adda is the latest example of this trend. There is Facebook, Minglebox and Orkut to name few others. Yet, India’s preferred choice is Orkut. India has the third largest number of Orkut users in the world, after Brazil and America.
Apart from chatting with old friends, there are other attractive features of these social networking sites that have fascinated the younger generation. Communities set up on these sites are a good rostrum for having political and social discussions. One can have discussions on topics varying from love to national and international issues, and may even include business or sports. One can interact with like-minded people and even discuss personal and professional aspects of life. The new generation leaders of our nation are effectively using it as a tool to connect with the masses and to express their views, opinions, propaganda of their political party and a lot of things. Akhilesh Yadav, Sachin Pilot, and Deepender Hooda are a few renowned names who are making use of social networking sites. These sites have also helped individuals to find their life partners, apart from giving them the chance to date, flirt and be ‘linked’ to different individuals on a personal or social basis.
However, there is also a darker side to this new phenomenon. Cases of misuse have been on the rise. It is hard to forget Adnan Patrawala, who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by ‘friends’ he made on Orkut. Fake profiles have also been on the rise, which can play havoc with one’s reputation There has also been a rise of anti-social elements and perverts using the site.They have really degraded the image of social networking sites.
Nevertheless, whatever pros and cons, the reality is that social networking sites are here to stay, and are making an impact on the views of this generation.