According to a recent study by Tata Consultancy Services on the web 2.0 generation, across 14,000 high school children in 12 Indian cities, aged between12 and 18, over 63 per cent of urban students spent over an hour online daily and as many as 93 per cent were hooked on social networking. It comes as no surprise then, that social networking web sites are among the most visited web sites today, sometimes even surpassing search engines.
Most of us like to reconnect with our past friends, discover new people, browse and comment on photos and generally while away time playing games or engaging in a host of other activities on social networking web sites. These are some of the features that are offered by today’s social networking web sites. Now let’s get on to the process of finding out which is the best social networking web site out there? To come to a conclusion we decided to first leave out the usual suspects - Orkut and Facebook - and look at some other alternatives (of both desi and other origin) for strong contenders.
We found the Indian web scape crowded with numerous me too alternatives. Shifting through the hoards we came to some of the better ones. There was bharatstudent.com, which is more popular in terms of page views than most Indian networks. Among the Indian networking web sites are ibibo, Yaari, BigAdda and Minglebox. Each has its own small USP and focus. For instance, ibibo was more of a talent showcase, while Bharatstudent has a lot of resources on education, and Bigadda hosts celebrity blogs including that of Amitabh Bachchan. However, some web sites can be described as nothing more than shady hangouts where fake profiles and objectionable content abound. Others just lie abandoned. What good is a social networking web site without people, right?
Special Mention : MySpace
MySpace has been involved in several initiatives lately to increase its market share in India. It hosted a series of ‘secret shows’ and events in the metro cities. To attend these concerts, you needed to have a MySpace profile. Thousands of people made profiles and queued up outside these events with printouts of their profiles in hand. Gimmicks aside, MySpace is a pretty user friendly web site. It’s a good place to find new music from emerging artists from all over the world and especially India. The reason for this is that the web site is very artist friendly and allows them to have embedded players on their profile pages. Several artists choose this medium to showcase never heard before music, and this makes for interesting browsing.