Tunku Varadarajan in The Daily Beast on why India loves Facebook –
But this story—and Facebook’s continued growth in India—is not a prosaic one of devices, apps, and Internet penetration alone. It is about the Indian nature and temperament.
India is a land of the “open crowd”—to use Elias Canetti’s idea from his landmark Crowds and Power—the type of crowd which, as soon as it comes together, “wants to consist of more people.” As if in fulfillment of a social-media dream, “the urge to grow is the first and supreme attribute of [this] crowd… there are no limits whatever to its growth; it does not recognize houses, doors or locks and those who shut themselves in are suspect.”
So should we think of Facebook as yet another canvas on which the Indian etches himself into an entwined crowd? One can see this art of connection on display on many Indian Facebook pages, where seemingly private conversations are conducted in a wide-open space. “I sacked the maid,” an Indian “friend’s” recent status update said. “Anyone know how I can find another fast?” “Should I wax or thread?” another asked, provoking, like the first questioner, a torrent of responses that other cultures might regard as intrusive or presumptuous.
I would like to believe that Indians use Facebook in fundamentally different ways, from let’s say Americans, because we are more “social”, but I haven’t seen any meaningful research so far that supports the hypothesis. In fact, all research seems to show that Indians’ use of social networks, including Facebook, is dominated more by the early adopter bias (less than 5% of Indians have access to the internet) and not by any cultural proclivities.
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