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Nielsen: Friendship drives social networking sites in India

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | April 04, 2008
A new study by Nielsen finds that 82 per cent of respondents use social networking sites to keep in touch with people they already know

Use of & #BANNER1 & # social networking sites such as Orkut and Facebook is now a routine affair, especially among the youth in India. But why do these youngsters keep coming to social networking sites? Market research firm Nielsen conducted an online survey called Your Voice to figure out the reason for continued use of social networking sites.

NS Muthukumaran, director, online research, Nielsen, says, "Social networking is growing fast among Indians and such sites are upcoming forums for communication and various activities."

According to the findings of the survey, staying in touch is the strongest factor for use of social networking sites. As many as 82 per cent of the respondents surveyed use social networking sites to keep in touch with the people they know. Some 58 per cent said they joined a social networking site to reconnect with old acquaintances they had lost touch with. Around 53 per cent said they joined a social networking site to make new friends.

Surprisingly, business networking is not a much preferred choice and only 43 per cent respondents said they joined a social network for professional networking purposes.

Although online networking has gained ground, people still prefer face to face interaction over online interaction. Some 71 per cent respondents thought face to face meetings are not outdated or on the decline, and 66 per cent respondents believed that social networking sites are no substitute for actual face to face meetings with friends. Around 43 per cent respondents said they were comfortable meeting offline, people whom they have met through a social network.

The majority of the users are still concerned about the security measures offered by networking sites and, as a result, they opt for fake identities to interact with others. Around 68 per cent respondents said they used alternate identities because they did not want to reveal their personal details on social networking sites.

The online survey is based on a sample size of 300 respondents selected from a panel of 9,000 people, based on the parameter that a respondent access a social networking site at least once a month. The sample of 300 respondents consisted of 250 male and 50 female respondents from cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Pune, representing different age groups starting from 15 years. Around 172 respondents who participated in the survey belonged to the 25-34 years' age group, and 71 respondents belonged to the 15-24 years' age group.