Insights & Strategy

Debunking Myths About Facebook. Really?!

Everything that catches attention always comes under the close scrutiny of the critics. Everyone has an opinion be it the tech geeks, social media experts, politicians or the general public. And when it comes to Facebook –  we love to have conversation about it both on and off it. facebook engancha

Cynics have suggested conspiracy theories of world domination in Facebook’s policies. Well, it could seem quite believable when you find the company imitating ever walk of ones social life and wrapping it for display online. It’s not that no one has tried it before- MySpace, Orkut and loads of other have traveled the same road and got lost in tech graveyard. Sometimes the burden of rising user expectations have pulled them down while at other times extreme focus on monetization of user base have got them bleeding.

Though the jury is still out on Facebook’s future – nearly a billion users network can’t be discounted that easily. The social in facebook is still strong and those who think getting the taste of e-com to the network could be the beginning of the end are in for a big surprise. Simply because ‘Money is Social’. That’s where most networks in the pre-Facebook era have lost the plot. They tried to monetize the social by selling it i.e. the numbers to advertisers anyone and everyone. Perhaps it was the only logical model that they saw delivering the moolah following the steps of big brother Google.

But Google didn’t have stakes on social until recently with G+. What these networks didn’t understand was that Google was all about numbers and algorithms – a mechanical code that barely touched upon the psyche of social existence. In fact, only thing it managed to capture was the hype and persona of the glittery banner ads with somewhat segmented traffic base which came in hordes and disappeared even quickly. But Google has evolved and learned it’s lesson about where the real money is.

So where is the real money? Well, its there where it has always been. Any guesses? Yes, its the people. People have the money. But people have a nasty habit – they don’t give you the money when you want it unless that’s what they want and they have to want it badly. And Google or Facebook  would want them to do just that.

So, what’s the great idea – Make Money Social. And Facebook is doing exactly that. It is enticing enough for people to mirror their real life or reel life relationships on the network. And now that everyone I know and you know is on Facebook what’s the next thing we can do.

Well, it’s the same thing you do every Friday after work? PARTY.

Only difference is this party doesn’t need a Friday to start. It lasts the whole week. Your fancy clothes retailer is even offering an ‘Offer’ with exclusive discount. You got shoes available too. Well, why not invite everyone else too! And you know what’s even better let’s show off to the losers who missed out. Blahhh.

Well, that’s facebook. So when next time someone tells you Social is money! They are almost right but it has always been the other way round. Remember this – whoever said money can’t buy everything didn’t know how to Facebook.

Help him log in. Peace!

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Well, this article was actually supposed to be about Myths about Facebook. The serious stuff. Will write that sometime today.

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Insights & Strategy

95% of online Indians spend time on social networking sites

English: India Gate

Image via Wikipedia

The trend of social networking has been growing worldwide and India is no exception with 95% of the online population spending time on social networking sites. This data was revealed today as part of Comscore’s 2011 Social report unveiled today.

For China the figures stand at 53%, US and UK lead with 98% followed by Brazil at 97%. India holds a total online audience (15+ age group) of 45.9mn with those frequenting social networking sites pegged at 43.5mn. The average time spent by Indians on these networks is 3.4 hours. Regardless of how open or closed a society may be, more than half of local online populations are engaging in online social networking, making the practice comparatively ubiquitous around the world.’ This is part of data for October 2011.

It’s no surprise that Facebook has emerged as dominant player among social networking sites behind Google sites and Microsoft sites. Facebook overtook Orkut in July 2010 as the number one player by the virtue of total unique visitors. Facebook has 81.9% reach to India audience with 37,600 total unique visitors followed by Orkut, LinkedIn, BharatStudent and Twitter. Facebook is way ahead of the competition in the Indian market with an avergae user spending 221.8 minutes, for Orkut its 21.4 minutes and others even less.

Facebook has managed to reach 55% of world’s global audience and accounted for approximately ‘3 in every 4 minutes spent on social networking sites and 1 in every 7 minutes spent online around the world.’ Facebook is showing no signs of slowing down after it overtook orkut in India and is expected to soon become the dominant social network in Brazil as well. However, it still trails behind regional social networks in Poland and South Korea. Facebook is blocked in China losing access to a large online audience.

According to the report, social networking sites now reach 82% of the world’s online population, representing 1.2 billion users around the world. This is in sycn with the global internet adoption curve and increase in connectivity with nearly 1 in 5 minutes online is spent on social networking sites.

Where age groups is concerned, social networking sites are no longer frequented by young ‘kids’ only. In India,  55+ age group is fast emerging the leading segment with a penetration of 83.3% (males) and 87.6% (females).  The highest reach is for the 15-24 age group with 99% of the population.

Compared to rest of the world the East Asian countries spend least amount of time on social networks with the exception of Phillippines, where 43% of the online time is spent on social networks.

The full ComScore report can be accessed here

This article of mine was originally published in Daily Post. You can also access it here

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Insights & Strategy

Waste it or save it, it’s your identity, digitally yours

Here is my article on ‘Waste it or save it, it’s your identity, digitally yours‘ first published in the Daily Post India.

The times are ripe for a digital revolution. Well, wasn’t the Arab Spring too a fine example connecting the masses with social networking? Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google maps, forums and proxy servers were all in action to connect the fighting Arabs with their brethren, at large. They had a purpose, and they all fared quite well.Image representing MySpace as depicted in Crun...

So, post Hosni Mubarak’s dethroning and Muammar Gaddafi perishing, what is next? What happens to the blog that saw several hundred posts a day, the Twitter handle that fired 140 characters every minute and the Flicker page that crowdsourced pictures from across the Middle East. Well, as expected things are now quieter and some of these digital outposts have been silenced and others abandoned over the weeks. These unattended user profiles and blogs are considered as digital waste by some experts.

According to the recent estimates, WordPress.com, the famous blogging site, has reached the 60-million mark, and social networking behemoth Facebook is inching closer towards its 1billionth user. Isn’t that a revolution of the masses? Well, it is and it isn’t too.

The number of active members on Facebook can be pegged at 400-500 million, much less than its total strength. So, there is a difference between the total number of users who opt for a social network or blogging service and those who actually go for it. The digital waste is created and fed by us intentionally or otherwise.

Now, while most of us have created a Facebook or Twitter account, how often do we use it for what it’s intended? The abandoned pieces of our digital personality are plenty in number. Remember Orkut? Did you make a crossover to Facebook but still maintain the Orkut account that seldom gets your attention? And now all your college friends are tweeting about the professor’s receding hairline and you feel left out! Okay, so did someone create a blog to celebrate their love for Metallica and you too are feeling the pressure to stamp your personality digitally by taking your photography passion online?

Being socially active on an online network is part of growing up process, courtesy MySpace, Orkut to Facebook and now Google+. However, we are leaving a trail of our digital self in the form of networks, which in time either get ignored or abandoned by us for various reasons. The digital waste of our life tells a story about who we were in a time not so long ago.

This waste could also become something to cherish, when many years from now, a Google search would tell your kids that their dad was almost a rock star in college, posing with that embarrassing picture in the hostel dorm, which got you almost expelled from college!

Waste it or save it, it’s your identity, and it’s always going to be digitally yours.

vishalsharrma@dailypostindia.com

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