India: Social Media Use Up by 100% In Rural Areas (And More)

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A recent report called ‘the Social Media in India 2014’ (yes, a bit of an outdated name) by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) International has India’s news sphere abuzz: social media use in India, it says, is rising, and the fastest growth is now in the rural belt. Out of India’s 143 million social media users (a number put forth in the same report), some 118 million are from urban areas. That’s a sizeable chunk of the 243 million people in India that have access to the Internet.

The stats are actually similar in spirit to Sri Lanka: relatively high usage in urban areas, a high portion of usage (61%) via mobile phones. Schoolchildren apparently constitute some 12% of the numbers; the majority (60%) is from “College-going students and young men.” The biggest platform, though, may not be Facebook: wearesocial.org, using Q4 2014 figures, puts WhatsApp ahead of Facebook (11% compared to 9%). Skype comes in at 8%.

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While it’s out for debate whether IM platforms consist of social media, especially in this context, everyone expects India to play a massive part in the message and data flow in the future. Cisco predicts 526 million total Internet users and 1.5 billion networked devices in India by 2018, and according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index™, 2013 – 2018, by 2018 the data equivalent of all movies ever made will cross networks every 2 hours. If Mark Zuckerberg has his way with Internet.org, those numbers will be even higher. Small wonder, then, that everyone’s moving to India.

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