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Entangled in the net?

KARTHIK SUBRAMANIAN
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Are you one of those social network shirkers? Happy with your online existence restricted to the bare minimum — emails, search? A recent study by Nielsen and AbsolutData indicates that social networks are growing at a tremendous pace in India. It could soon be a case of “join in or lose out,” writesKARTHIK SUBRAMANIAN

YOU CAN'T TEAR YOURSELF AWAYSocial networking can be addictivePhoto: K. R. Deepak
YOU CAN'T TEAR YOURSELF AWAYSocial networking can be addictivePhoto: K. R. Deepak

There have been serious cases of social network de-addiction or even detoxification among some of my friends in the recent past. Way too much time on Facebook or Twitter can make someone wake up all fuzzy. Which is why a recent press release from Nielsen, research and analytics firm, led me to believe that there is no escaping social networks any time in the near or distant future. As Agent Smith would put it, it is inevitable.

According to the study by Nielsen and AbsolutData, Indian online users have started spending more time on social networks than personal email. We now have nearly 30 million social network subscribers and close to two-thirds of them are logging on, on a daily basis. Importantly, we are spending more time on social networks than on personal emails.

The study, of course, spins the case for a more robust spending from companies' marketing budgets towards social networks. Quoting Adrian Terron, vice-president, The Nielsen Company: “Social media is now ingrained in the way tech-savvy Indians live their lives. With its ability to play multiple roles in an individual's life by enabling shared experiences, creating linkages between communities and satisfying the need to be networked, its role in creating a deeper engagement is a boon to marketing.”

According to Suhale Kapoor, EVP, AbsolutData: “The social web appears to have gone beyond supplementing communication. Online Indians today are using social media to facilitate activities that range from leisure like entertainment, improving their livelihood through job searches and researching prospective partners.”

There are some more numbers that make the case for social networks even stronger. According to estimates, over the next six months, nearly 45,000 new Indian online users are expected to join any of the prominent social networks. More brands are will have to come up with strategies for branding online. So more contests and give-aways are in store.

Customer reviews

The biggest attraction of social networks is ‘customer reviews' which seem to have gained more acceptance than expert reviews. According to the study, nearly 40 million Indian online users read customer reviews before making a decision to purchase something. That's a whopping 67 per cent of all online users.

The study was conducted through on an online survey on a sample population of 2,000 people from all walks of life, spread across top five metros and Tier-1 cities.

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