The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Sonal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
“If you’re looking for the next big thing, and you’re looking where everyone else is, you’re looking in the wrong place.”
This line brilliantly underlines the conspicuous trait which any entrepreneur, seeking unwavering ascension needs to emulate .In the last UDBHAV issue, we analyzed the biggest entrepreneurial creation – The INTERNET .However small the word is , the Internet is a massive synergy of imagination and practicality. If we are to envisage internet-oriented establishments or businesses, it’s high time; we concerned ourselves with, “what do we actually do with internet?” The very first things that pop into our heads would be Google followed by Facebook, hence testifying the unbeatable dominance of Search-Engines and Social Networking .While the search engines are glass-clear about their purpose and applications, the meaning of social networking runs deeper.
Social networks, which provide platforms for online users to connect, share, and build relationships with others online, have forever altered the lives of individuals, communities and societies all over the world. The growth in popularity of social networking has also created and engendered new online consumer behaviors.The correlation between social networks, the Internet, and ethics may be difficult to initially discern, however, their interdependency becomes obvious when examined in detail. The Internet is an integral part of our society and, as such, there have been many scholarly articles dedicated to determining its effects on our social lives. The ethical implications become obvious when you consider how people interact with one another online. Facebook, online dating websites, MySpace, HubPages and chat rooms are all examples of places where people gather digitally to exchange information, develop relationships, make new friends or keep others updated. The authenticity of the information provided, however, is difficult to verify. People create whatever online persona they desire.
Time spent – Even more telling of social networking’s emergence is the amount of time people currently engage with it. As a percentage of all the time people spend online, social networking activity has more than tripled in the last few years. In October 2011, Social Networking ranked as the most popular content category in worldwide engagement, accounting for 19 percent of all time spent online. Nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online is now spent on social networking sites – a stark contrast from when the category accounted for only 6 percent of time spent online in March 2007. Time spent on social networking sites gained ground during this time by taking share predominantly from web-based email and instant messengers, reflecting its emergence as another primary communication channel for users. Unmistakably, it has evolved over the years to become an integral part of the global online experience, in many ways both mirroring and augmenting the offline social experience.
Growth of social networking- The growth of social networking is a global cultural phenomenon. Despite significant differences in government, infrastructure, availability of Internet access and cultural practices around the world, social networking is growing in every single country. A look at individual markets shows the penetration of social networking sites, ranging from 53 percent in China to 98 percent in the United States, with 41 of the 43 markets individually reported by comScore seeing a market penetration of 85 percent or more. Regardless of how open or closed a society may be, it is safe to assume that more than half of local online populations are engaging in online social networking, making the practice comparatively ubiquitous around the world. The high user engagement on social networks across global regions demonstrates its universal appeal.
Facebook – To fully comprehend the state of social networking today, one must understand how Facebook – the largest player by virtually any metric – drives the behavior of the category as a whole. Consider that Facebook is the third largest web property in the world, trailing only Google Sites and Microsoft Sites. In October, Facebook reached more than half of the world’s global audience (55 percent) 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. While Facebook is the leading social networking site in the vast majority of countries, it is not the leader everywhere – yet. In the beginning of 2010, Facebook was the category leader in 30 of the 43 markets that comScore reports on at the individual level. Today, there are only 7 markets where Facebook does not have the largest audience in the category – Brazil, China, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam.
Microblogging – Microblogging, a style of communicating through short-form content, has taken hold as a wildly popular social networking platform in recent years, due in large part to the emergence of Twitter – which saw its audience begin to erupt in the spring of 2009. To date, Twitter reaches 1 in 10 Internet users worldwide to rank among the top social networks, and posted an impressive growth rate of 59 percent over the past year. Other microblogging services beginning to gain significant traction are Tumblr and Sina Weibo (Sina Microblogging). Sina Weibo, the leading Chinese microblogging site which ranks as the tenth largest social network globally, has posted an increase of 181 percent in the past year. Tumblr, ranking twelfth globally, followed suit with a similarly strong growth rate of 172 percent. With both sites on the rise in addition to Twitter, it is likely we will see microblogging emerge even further in the near future.
Not kid’s thing anymore – Anyone with children might be under the impression that social networking is a “kids’ activity.” Several years ago, there was some truth to that. However, in the last 18 to 24 months, that has changed completely. Social networking reach in older segments has all but caught up, to the point where it’s now quite similar across age groups. In fact, users 55 and older represent the fastest growing segment in social networking usage.
Ad publishing – One cannot discuss display advertising on social networks without mentioning Facebook – currently the single largest publisher of all U.S. display ad impressions. While this metric does not account for the size of ads (ads on Facebook are generally small as compared to other premium publishers), based on the sheer number of impressions, Facebook is by far the largest publisher
Mobile phones – Analysis of mobile social networking activity in the U.S. and EU5 reveals that most mobile users who reported accessing social networks on their devices at least once in the previous month did so to connect with their personal networks. In the U.S., 70 percent of mobile social networkers reported using their phones to post a status update, while 80 percent read posts from people they know personally. Mobile social networkers in the EU5 showed similar levels of engagement in these activities.
Looking at the above analysis , we can say that the Social Networking affects the very cortex of our lives and so, it won’t be a foolishness to think if social networking is good for us or not. The variety of applications, instant communication, and conception of new and sturdy friend circles and inception of public opinions strengthens our belief on Social Networking as the new-age revolution. But I would like to voice some of the views which media understandably refrains from propagating. Our interaction with the outside world becomes limited because of the advent of these so called social networking so much so that people are more up-to date with their “online friends ‘daily life” rather than our own family members and friends whose faces we see every day. The other aspect of this addiction to social networking is the breaking down of our health systems due to long hours spent in front of the computer and also the lack of serious physical activity on a daily basis which can give rise to extremely serious health repercussions like high blood pressure, heart problems, etc .. Analyzing the issue on a psychological scale we could say that these sites gives a virtual satisfaction of social-interaction and hence discourage us from actually interacting and facing real problems which matter in our personality-development. The speculations may always be there, but not a soul should doubt the magnificence of this brilliant innovation; for this creation continues to surpass its own records at an accelerated rate .