Social Networking: Rampant Indeed [A Concise Analysis]

Posted on July 19, 2010 in All Things Social

By Rishabh Prasad:

“900 Million” – By this figure, I do not mean to signify a multimillion-dollar deal, the population of India before the new millennium, or even the number of slum dwellers. This figure surprisingly denotes the number of social networking subscribers worldwide, of which 31 million belong to India.

Sites such as Facebook and Google-owned Orkut, which offer contacts and friendships, or like Twitter, the micro blogging site where members exchange thoughts, ideas, jokes and conversations, are almost becoming an addiction for many youngsters worldwide. These three websites lead the internet social networking revolution that began in US.

Social networking has become a necessity. It has left a huge impact in almost every field, which includes advertising, technology, entertainment, marketing, and many more. Advertisers are waking up to this phenomenon. Nowadays, advertising is not restricted to publicizing products; it also involves self-advertisement, for securing jobs, or arranging marriages. Sites like LinkedIn have gathered pace and have become one of the vital sources for job- related information.

The popularity of social networking and the need to stay in constant touch has triggered a rise in social networking sites

Digital advertising has found yet another appreciable and momentous source of advertising. Just a year back there hardly was any advertising on these sites but now it is fast catching on in the world. Facebook has announced that it is collaborating with a Malaysian company to sell credits at retail outlets across Asia for the first time, aiming to make it easier to purchase virtual goods and play games on the site, while boosting revenue for application developers. Facebook also has a ‘text only’ mobile site, which works at a high speed, and is free of cos. More or less, every Smartphone now has a Facebook application embraced in it, which symbolizes the growing proximity between the real and virtual worlds.

A Display ad showcasing the Facebook app for Blackberry mobiles. Such apps have gained popularity as users need to be connected on the go 24 X 7.

Microsoft has already revealed that Windows Mobile 7, to be unveiled in late 2010, will directly integrate social networking functionality into a phone’s “core experience”. Not only are mobile phones, even digital cameras are offering Facebook services. It allows the user to upload their videos or photos on Facebook directly. Augmenting the addiction to social networking, Twitter and Facebook have already come up with desktop gadgets to help the users to keep up with Facebook updates and messages right from the desktop of the computer. The competition among different social networking sites is acting as a catalyst to their own growth in this particular arena. In addition to Orkut, Buzz and Google Friend Connect, rumors are that Google is working on another application, along the same lines as Facebook but modeled more closely on real-life interactions.

Twitter's Google Desktop Gadget

Going by the all these facts, one cannot help but think of the implications of rampant social networking. Over generations, we have seen the development of various interpersonal virtues in us, which have evolved in the context of face-to-face communication. What impact will digital media have on these virtues and values? What, for example, would honesty mean in the context of a world where “Avatars” represent people? Will other virtues emerge as more important in social networking, where we can easily shut off communications with others when we are bored, or encounter difficulties?

The writer is a tech-columnist of Youth Ki Awaaz.

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