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Jan 02, 2010, 12.41 PM IST | Source: Forbes India

Bitten by the zuckerbug

The Facebook effect: Why a billion people like this site

Bitten by the zuckerbug
The Facebook effect: Why a billion people like this

Account information
Name: Rohin Dharmakumar
Network: Network18
Last update: Is watching newbie twitter CEO Rajeev Bajaj take on questions from random people on twitter
Personal Info: Self critic and cynic with mild OCD


Rohin Dharmakumar is wondering if there is anything or anyone that scares Google?

5 people like this.

Rajesh Lalwani Facebook? I think it’s the most significant threat to Google. Google represents the Internet of yesterday when we searched for information…information that had to be indexed first. With Facebook information finds you, right here and now.

What is happening to search? Earlier when you heard an announcement you went to Google and did a search, but now you see a video and share it on your Facebook page…and half a day later it’s on all of your friends’ profiles and everybody is talking about it. Put simply, earlier you sought news, now news finds you!

Prashant Mehta While seeking answers people like us will trust information from friends on Facebook a lot more than Google. Facebook is people while Google is just a machine.

Alok Kejriwal I don’t think so. The biggest challenge for Facebook is this: Facebook = Friends whereas Google = Information. I will never think of Facebook while searching for information about, say, rheumatoid arthritis. Besides the average number of connections on Facebook is 100-150, and you cannot get a wealth of info from that small a network.

Rohin Dharmakumar Hmmm, interesting thoughts. But isn’t Facebook more of a Western phenomenon?

Prashant Mehta When 2009 began Facebook’s ranking among the most popular Indian Web sites was in the 20s. It is now Number 7. No Web site has moved that fast in a market like India.

Rohin Dharmakumar wants to know how big the Facebook phenomenon is in India?

Alok Kejriwal I would say no Web site has ever had such an impact on Indians! Two girls from Dehradun will spend 5 hours a day on Facebook because there’s nothing else to do. Though in cities it’s a conversational medium, in smaller places it’s an entertainment medium…which means that’s where the games and apps are getting played and explored.

Gaurav Mishra Facebook was not the first platform to become big in India, Orkut was. And what Facebook does is fundamentally most of what Orkut does too – connect with friends, share interests. But Facebook does have more applications, a more sophisticated user interface and better privacy controls.

Rajesh Lalwani Though Orkut is currently Number 1 in terms of numbers, Facebook is probably growing much faster. It is also poaching a lot of Orkut users through its Import Profile feature.

Rohin Dharmakumar Thanks for those comments folks. I thought of checking on some figures around Facebook’s popularity in India, just to be objective, you know :) Data from both comScore and Vizisense says 10.3 million Indians, or roughly one in four Indians with an Internet connection used Facebook in October 2009. But the data also says Google’s Orkut had like 15.5-17.5 million Indian users. But Rajesh is right on the growth aspect – compared to Orkut’s annual growth rate of 43.4%, Facebook grew at a whopping 229.7%!

Prashant Mehta Orkut might not be number 1 by 2010!

Charles Assisi These are fantastic figures Rohin. Can we consider Facebook as a contender for our Person of the Year awards? Let’s talk once you’re in office.

Rohin Dharmakumar commented on Forbes India’s page – 2010 Person of the Year

Rajesh Lalwani wants to know what makes Facebook special for you? (via Rohin Dharmakumar, who’s writing at article about it for Forbes India)

3 people like this.

Gaurav Mishra I was a typical IIM MBA working in a 9-to-5 job. Then through Facebook and Twitter I came upon writing book chapters, articles, a fellowship (at Georgetown University) and finally a new company (20:20 Social)!

Rohin Dharmakumar Not everyone is going to be as lucky as you, Gaurav!

Alok Kejriwal You know about the famous “Speaker’s Corner” in London’s Hyde Park? You know the one where anybody can stand and address the world? Well Facebook is my Speaker’s Corner to the world!

No other medium has ever existed where I could broadcast my thoughts to 5,000 friends at the click of a mouse. Thoughts that everybody notices, whether or not they react doesn’t matter.

Prashant Mehta Some Facebook apps have completely consumed us. My nine-year-old cousin comes home to get online and use Facebook. My 65-year-old mother-in-law connects with me from the US. There is no other medium that has an impact on such a wide segment of society.

Rohin Dharmakumar Interesting! But I’m curious to know if Prashant’s experience is isolated, or if it is more widespread in India?

Rajesh Lalwani  I have my 12-year-old niece and 65-year-old former boss on Facebook. Everybody is a wire agency today!

Alok Kejriwal Rohin, my 13-year-old daughter has a Facebook account. Initially I and my wife were concerned, but then we found out that she is connected to five of her school teachers too! My daughter also plays Facebook games with my Mom. Sure they could have played together at home, but the point is they don’t.

Rohin Dharmakumar created a poll.
If you could be on only one social network, which one would it be?

Facebook    78% (7 votes)
LinkedIn    22% (2 votes)
Orkut          0%
BIG Adda    0%
IBIBO          0%

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