Is the social media networking losing charm among the urban youngsters? A latest survey suggests so.

Youngsters in urban India have started experiencing social-media fatigue as they tend to log onto social networks like – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Orkut, LinkedIn, Myspace, Friendster, Hi5, BigAdda and others less frequently than earlier when they had initially signed up, according to a recently concluded survey carried out by apex industry body – The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

ASSOCHAM conducted a survey under the aegis of ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF) to examine current usage trends vis-à-vis social networks among youngsters and time spent on these websites.

About 55 per cent of all the respondents across these cities said they have consciously reduced the time spent on social media websites and are no longer as active and enthusiastic about their favourite social networks as they had been when they had signed up.

Replacing the real with the virtual

A majority of all the respondents said that compulsive social networking has led to insomnia, depression, poor inter-personal relationships, lack of concentration, high level of anxiety, ignorance and rudeness in their general behaviour as they tend to replace real-life social interactions with online social media.

ASSOCHAM representatives interacted with about 2,000 youngsters (equal number of male and female) in the age group of 12 years to 25 years at urban centres of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune during the months of October 2011 to December 2011.

Nearly 30 per cent of the respondents said they had deactivated or deleted their accounts and profiles from these websites and it is no longer a craze among them while many others said they had started maintaining a low profile on social networks as their privacy is being breached and peep in their profiles once in a blue moon.

About 75 per cent of the total sample said they had made a profile or an account on almost each of these websites which was a fad among them when these websites were just launched. But most of these said they barely use them anymore and prefer sticking to a singular site.

About 20 per cent of all the respondents said they hardly log on to social networking websites and prefer staying in touch with their folks via chat applications like BlackberryMessenger, Watsapp, Nimbuzz, Mig33, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger on their mobiles and computers.

An interesting aspect that has emerged out of the survey was that young Indian women seem to flock social networks more frequently as compared to their male counterparts.

About 500 of all the respondents said they have extended the time spent on social networking by over an hour and regularly log on to keep a track of multiple social media sites to stay connected to their entourage. Of these nearly 65 per cent were females and most of them said they tend to log onto social media almost everyday.

Of nearly 200 interviewed in Delhi about 60 per cent said that fascination with social networking they used to enjoy initially has been fading of late and now they find it boring and sick to see constant senseless status updates and the same thing over and over again and have significantly reduced the time dedicated to the social media.

While about 30 per cent respondents in the city said that they have extended the time spent on networking online and access multiple social networks to keep their friends, peers updated and stay connected to them.

Over half of those interviewed in Delhi said that they indulge in social networking at home, school, college and while they are at work on their smart phones and excess of it has started telling on their mental and physical health and even their professional and personal lives.

“Although social networking is the most popular online activity, youngsters have started finding social media boring, confusing, frustrating and time-consuming as they surf these websites less frequently and are tend to surf other informative websites, send e-mails, search the internet and play games instead of accessing their accounts, hardly respond to comments and other material posted on their walls,” said the survey.

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