TNI Bureau: If we make a list of top ten things, which have had a great impact on the lives of people in the 21st century, then social networking would definitely make it to the top three. As of August 2012, Facebook and Twitter connect to 955 million and 550 million active users respectively.
If Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populated nation after China and India. According to ComScore, Facebook is the largest social networking site with more 110 million monthly visitors, while Twitter has become one of the top ten most visited sites on the Internet with over 340 million tweets generated daily.
Never has the planet Earth witnessed such a phenomenon of social networking as demonstrated by Facebook and Twitter. Social networking sites have become our quintessential means to communicate and stay connected. Infact, it has now become a platform to voice one’s opinion and preferences.
It would be hard to find a topic, which does not get discussed on Facebook today. A regular Facebook or Twitter user witnesses various Government initiatives, scams, profile of national leaders discussed every day. Facebook and twitter have become the meeting place of minds and thoughts of all kinds. Had Facebook and twitter not existed, it would have been hard for Anna Hazare and his allies to make such a great impact on Indian society. Facebook and Twitter has now become a new destination for advertising and marketing.
In March 2011, residents of Bhopal took out a protest march against the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh after a ‘Save Bhopal’ initiative on Facebook. Many government institutions use the Facebook platform to bridge the information gap between the government and the politically active Indian youths. This was highlighted when Planning Commission of India launched its Facebook page in 2011. In July 2012, when a girl was molested outside a bar in Guwahati, the entire nation joined hands on Facebook and Twitter to bring the wrong doers to justice. As a result of collaborative effort, the police was successful in putting the guilty behind the bars. On the darker side, violent protest erupted in Jammu and Kashmir on the Facebook spoof of “3 Idiots” portraying late Shiekh Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah.
Facebook makes people engage with businesses and the brand they like. It provides companies with tools, products and Social Plugins to make a social web for the customers. The most popular Social Plugins is the Like Button. Online marketers greatly leverage the power of Like button which has unique ability to drive referral and word of mouth traffic from Facebook. According to reports, an average media site which has integrated the Like button witnesses a 300% hike in traffic.
India would not be surprised if the next exit polls are conducted on Facebook and Twitter. With Facebook and Twitter being used at such unprecedented levels, India has certainly kept the right to freedom of speech and expression in letter and spirit.