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Rajat Raizada
Taruna Vinayak
Gaurav Srivastav
Sakshi Garg
Sakshi Mehrotra
Professor Y.P.Gupta Shobhit Chandak

We hereby declare that all the work presented in the project report entitled “The
Effect of Social Networking Sites on the Personal Lives of the People” of the
subject Business Research Methods at ICFAI , IBS Gurgaon is an authentic
record of our own work carried out under the guidance of Prof Tapas Mahapatra.

Date: Rajat Raizada

Taruna Vinayak
Gaurav Srivastav
Sakshi Garg
Sakshi Mehrotra
Shohit Chandak


This is to certify that project report entitled “The Effect of Social Networking
Sites on the Personal Lives of the People” of the subject Business Research
Methods, which is submitted by Rajat Raizada, Taruna Vinayak, Gaurav Srivastav,
Sakshi Garg, Sakshi Mehrotra & Shohit Chandak at ICFAI , IBS Gurgaon is an
authentic record of the candidate’s own work carried out by them under our
guidance. The matter embodied in this thesis is original and has not been
submitted for the award of any other degree.

Prof. Y.P. Gupta

(Project Guide)

We express our deep gratitude to Prof. Y.P. Gupta of ICFAI BUSINESS SCHOOL
for his constant support, guidance and motivation which helped us immensely in
completing this project. The project provided us with an opportunity to understand
the fundamentals of research methods in a better manner and apply them. The
insistence on taking up a socially relevant topic like the use of social networking
sites help us to understand the psychology of the people using these sites better
and correlate the research to human behavioural aspect.

We also would like to thank our respondents for giving us their valuable time and
providing us with the information needed to carry out the research successfully.

Date:- Rajat Raizada

Taruna Vinayak
Gaurav Srivastav
Sakshi Garg
Sakshi Mehlotra
Shohit Chandak

The social networking sites are gaining a lot of popularity these days with almost
all of the educated youth using one or the other such site. These have played a
crucial role in bridging boundaries and crossing the seas and enabling them to
communicate on a common platform. It has become a popular and a potential
mean for them to stay friends with the existing ones and to grow up their social
circle at least in terms of acquaintances.

The question regarding the safety, privacy and the legal issues have been cropping
up all this time. Through this research we try to find out the impact of these
networking sites on the personal and professional lives of people using them. It is
a very subjective question to answer and is very opinion based and the same is
reflected in the research methodology adopted by us.

The report is initiated with the definition of the objective followed with the research
methodology used along with the research design, sample size, methods used for
the purpose of conducting survey. It also incorporates the sampling frame and the
data collection procedure.

Subsequent to this is the Introduction to the networking sites along with a brief
description of the most popular sites. Then the issues of concern which have come
up along the way in all these years since these sites gained popularity are
discussed. The various issues and concerns of the respondents are also
incorporated there. The next part of the research has the literature surveys which
are the articles we took up from the published reports. We then analyzed and
interpreted the data at length. The last part deals with the suggestions and
recommendations that the group has come up with after carefully analyzing and
incorporating the opinion of all concerned.

1. Objective
2. Research Methodology
3. Sampling
4. Introduction to sites
5. How do Social networking sites work
6. Popular networking sites
7. Issues of concern
8. Literature Survey
• SNS in India
• How safe is your Orkut account
• An article regarding technology used
• The Perils of Social Networking
• Other Research
9. Utilization in business
10.Analysis and Interpretation

In this age of globalization, the world has become too small a place thanks to the
electronic media and portals. Communication has become effective as never
before thanks to the advent of internet. The social networking sites have also
played a crucial role in bridging boundaries and crossing the seas and bringing all
people at a common platform where they can meet like minded people or find old
friends and communicate with them. It has become a potential mean to relation
building and staying in touch with all known.
Hence the objective that we wanted to achieve through our research is to:
Find out the influence of social networking sites on the personal and professional
life of the people- how it affects their relations, what are its uses for each
individuals and how have they been influenced by these sites.


A considerable amount of work has been done in this field and several articles are
available on the internet and magazines about the social networking sites. So first
we carried out a literature survey of the available data for collection of secondary
information. We followed it by a descriptive research design in order to understand
the problem and carry out the research in a lucid manner.

Data Collection method: After secondary data collection through data collection
over the internet, a primary research was carried out through a questionnaire. The
questionnaire was well structured and the responses were sought from the
respondents. The nature of the questions was such that it avoided ambiguous
responses from the respondents and it also helped in quick analysis of the data

Two methods of questioning were used for the data collection:

1). Person Assisted: The responses were collected by personal questioning. The
responses were taken from the students in the Qutab Institutional area from
institutes like IMI, FORE, IIFT, etc. this form of questioning helped the respondent
to understand the questions better and answer accordingly.

2). Wed enabled: The questionnaire was e-mailed to respondents who filled it and
then mailed it back to us. A flaw that we realized here was that some of the
respondents did not understand the questions and hence could not answer them to
the best of their capability, unlike the other method employed where the questions
could be explained if required.


Sampling Design: The target population for our research was defined as the
students who form the major chunk of users of these social networking sites. This
was done to have a better insight into the research as the target population was
one which is the most avid user of these sites and could provide good responses.
Even the understanding of the questionnaire was easy to them as they were
familiar with the sites and quite clear about the reasons they use it for and the
various problems that they face.
The extent of the survey was limited to the IBS Gurgaon and Qutab Institutional
area of New Delhi. However, through online survey some regions outside Delhi
were also reached to validate the information collected from Delhi.

Sampling frame can be defined as all the users of social networking sites in the
Once the sampling frame was decided, simple random sampling method was used
to select the respondents. In the person assisted survey, almost everyone in the
sampling frame had an equal chance of being selected and we got the responses
filled through those people who were readily and willingly accepting to fill it.
To some extent judgment sampling was also used, especially in the online survey,
where the questionnaires were sent only to our acquaintances in the other B-
schools outside Delhi.
Wikipedia states that a social network is “…a social structure made of nodes
(which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more
specific types of relations…” (Social network, 2007). With the rapid growth of
people who use or have access to the Internet, social networking websites are a
must for the Internet community to stay in touch with each other. Social networking
web sites help people keep in touch with old friends, make new friends, distribute
new data or product, and many more aspects of our everyday lives.

The first official social networking web site was which was
founded in 1995 (Social Network, 2007). What followed was a slow but steady
growth in numbers of social networking websites to the overwhelming number of
sites we have today. The reason that social networking websites work so well is
that, like their inception, they start of small and then grow exponentially. The site
starts off with a few people who then tell their friends about the site, then those
friends tell their friends about the site and soon the site is a huge database of
users connected by friends, acquaintances, or just random people. The web sites
are made to “…allow users to create a "profile" describing themselves and to
exchange public or private messages and list other users or groups they are
connected to in some way.” (Social Network 2007).

Most social networking websites are often designed to fit a certain type of
community such as the college community being mirrored by or a
music/party community mirrored by With the rapid growth of social
networking web sites and their global scale usage, whatever one feels concerning
social networking web sites is irrelevant because social networking web sites are
on a popularity rise and are here to stay.

We define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to:

(1) Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system,

(2) Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and

(3) View and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the
system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to

While we use the term "social network site" to describe this phenomenon, the term
"social networking sites" also appears in public discourse, and the two terms are
often used interchangeably. "Networking" emphasizes relationship initiation, often
between strangers. While networking is possible on these sites, it is not the
primary practice on many of them, nor is it what differentiates them from other
forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC).

What makes social network sites unique is not that they allow individuals to meet
strangers, but rather that they enable users to articulate and make visible their
social networks. This can result in connections between individuals that would not
otherwise be made, but that is often not the goal, and these meetings are
frequently between "latent ties" (Haythornthwaite, 2005) who share some offline
connection. On many of the large SNSs, participants are not necessarily
"networking" or looking to meet new people; instead, they are primarily
communicating with people who are already a part of their extended social
network. To emphasize this articulated social network as a critical organizing
feature of these sites, we label them "social network sites."
While SNSs have implemented a wide variety of technical features, their backbone
consists of visible profiles that display an articulated list of Friends who are also
users of the system. Profiles are unique pages where one can type oneself into
being. After joining an SNS, an individual is asked to fill out forms containing a
series of questions. The profile is generated using the answers to these questions,
which typically include descriptors such as age, location, interests, and an "about
me" section. Most sites also encourage users to upload a profile photo. Some sites
allow users to enhance their profiles by adding multimedia content or modifying
their profile's look and feel. Others, such as Facebook, allow users to add modules
("Applications") that enhance their profile.

The visibility of a profile varies by site and according to user discretion. By default,
profiles on Orkut or are crawled by search engines, making them visible to
anyone, regardless of whether or not the viewer has an account. Alternatively, sites
like MySpace allow users to choose whether they want their profile to be public or
"Friends only." Facebook takes a different approach—by default, users who are
part of the same "network" can view each other's profiles, unless a profile owner
has decided to deny permission to those in their network. Structural variations
around visibility and access are one of the primary ways that SNSs differentiate
themselves from each other.

After joining a social network site, users are prompted to identify others in the
system with whom they have a relationship. The label for these relationships differs
depending on the site popular terms include "Friends," "Contacts," and "Fans."
Most SNSs require bi-directional confirmation for Friendship, but some do not.
These one-directional ties are sometimes labelled as "Fans" or "Followers," but
many sites call these Friends as well. The term "Friends" can be misleading,
because the connection does not necessarily mean friendship in the everyday
vernacular sense, and the reasons people connect are varied (Boyd, 2006).

The public display of connections is a crucial component of SNSs. The Friends list
contains links to each Friend's profile, enabling viewers to traverse the network
graph by clicking through the Friends lists. On most sites, the list of Friends is
visible to anyone who is permitted to view the profile, although there are

Most SNSs also provide a mechanism for users to leave messages on their
Friends' profiles. This feature typically involves leaving "comments," although sites
employ various labels for this feature. In addition, SNSs often have a private
messaging feature similar to webmail. While both private messages and comments
are popular on most of the major SNSs, they are not universally available.

Beyond profiles, Friends, comments, and private messaging, SNSs vary greatly in
their features and user base. Some have photo-sharing or video-sharing
capabilities; others have built-in blogging and instant messaging technology. There
are mobile-specific SNSs (e.g., Dodgeball), but some web-based SNSs also
support limited mobile interactions (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, and Cyworld). Many
SNSs target people from specific geographical regions or linguistic groups,
although this does not always determine the site's constituency. Orkut, for

example, was launched in the United States with an English-only interface, but
Portuguese-speaking Brazilians quickly became the dominant user group. Some
sites are designed with specific ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, political, or
other identity-driven categories in mind. There are even SNSs for dogs (Dogster)
and cats (Catster), although their owners must manage their profiles.

While SNSs are often designed to be widely accessible, many attract

homogeneous populations initially, so it is not uncommon to find groups using sites
to segregate themselves by nationality, age, educational level, or other factors that
typically segment society, even if that was not the intention of the designers.


Orkut is an Internet social network service run by Google and named after its
creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. It claims to be designed to help
users meet new friends and maintain existing relationships. Similar to Facebook,
Friendster and MySpace, Orkut goes a step further by permitting the creation of
easy-to-set-up simple forums (called "communities") of users. Since October 2006,
Orkut has permitted users to create accounts without an invitation.
Orkut is the most visited website in Brazil, being more visited than Google Brazil,
number 2 on the list. In total visits, Google is probably still more popular since it
appears as the second (the Brazilian version) and seventh most visited site (the
international version).
The initial target market for orkut was the United States, but the majority of its
users are in Brazil. In fact, as of November 2007, 62.9% of the traffic come from
Brazil, followed by 19.2% from India. In December 2007, Google dropped orkut
from the drop-down menu of its international homepage.


Facebook is another example of social networking site. Developed by sophomore

Mark Zuckerberg of Harvard University in 2004, was originally (Facebook, 2007). Purchasing the domain name of in August of 2005 for $200,000 the site was originally developed for
college and university students as a way to connect with each other (Facebook,
2007). Hosting the most members for a college based social networking site, is also the number one site for uploading pictures, boasting several
million uploads daily. Since its inception, has now been opened to
anyone with a valid email address and offers its members options of joining the
millions of networks of people with similar interests. It is said that 80% of users check their account daily and that 93% of
users check their account at least monthly (Facebook, 2007)
generates its revenue from advertisement since it boasts a huge number of
registered users.


MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted

network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos
internationally. It is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, USA, where it shares
an office building with its immediate owner, Fox Interactive Media; in turn, the
owner of Fox Interactive and therefore MySpace, News Corporation, is
headquartered in New York City.
According to Alexa Internet, MySpace is currently the world's sixth most popular
English-language website and the sixth most popular website in any language, and
the third most popular website in the United States, though it has topped the chart
on various weeks. The service has gradually gained more popularity than similar
websites to achieve nearly 80 percent of visits to online social networking

The company employs 300 staff and does not disclose revenues or profits
separately from News Corporation. With the 100 millionth account being created
on August 9, 2006, in the Netherlands and a news story claiming 106 million
accounts on September 8, 2006, the site reportedly attracts new registrations at a
rate of 230,000 per day. As of December 18, 2007, there are over 300 million

hi5 is a social networking website, which, throughout 2007, was one of the 25
most visited sites on the web. The company was founded in 2002 by Ramu
Yalamanchi who is also the current CEO. As of December 2007, hi5 had over 98
million members. In hi5, users create an online profile in order to show information
such as interests, age and hometown and upload user pictures where users can
post comments. hi5 also allows the user to create personal photo albums and set
up a music player in the profile. Users can also send friend requests via e-mail to
other users. When a person receives a friend request, he or she may accept or
decline it, or block the user altogether. If the user accepts another user as a friend,
the two will be connected directly or in the 1st degree. The user will then appear on
the person's friend list and vice-versa. Some users opt to make their profiles
available for everyone on hi5 to view. Other users exercise the option to make their
profile viewable only to those people who are in their network. The network of
friends consists of a user's direct friends (1st degree), the friends of those direct
friends (2nd degree) and the friends of the friends of direct friends (3rd degree)

Although many people don’t think of it, social networking web sites harbour many
dangerous elements and many people are concerned about some major problems
that they contain. One such problem is privacy issues. With social networking web
sites like, and, it is almost too easy to
retrieve personal information about someone and use it to harm them. In a case
with, the availability of being able to customize one’s own site has
allowed people to use phishing html code to create phishing profiles that allows
that person to access anyone’s profile who have visited the phishing profile.
Phishing can often lead to the loss of personal information such as usernames,
credit card numbers, and passwords. (Phishing 2007) This in turn causes great
privacy issues since that person can now access personal information and then
sell it off to marketing companies for a profit. (MySpace, 2007) This selling of
information to companies has led to the rise in spam emails that we all receive.

Another great issue of concern with social networking web sites is that of
child safety. Research has shown that almost three out of every four teenagers
who use social networking web sites are at risk due to their lack of using online
safety. (Joly, Karine, 2007) A lot of the web sites do have an age requirement but it
is easily bypassed by the lying about of one’s age. Even if they don’t lie about their
age the average age requirement is around fifteen years old. has
been specifically targeted for these child safety issues after a sixteen year old girl
flew to Tel Aviv, Israel to meet and engage in sexual relations with a twenty year
old male whom she had met through (MySpace, 2007) Although a
lot of the social networking web sites are trying to implement new ways to keep
children safe, included, predators are finding ways around these
new implementations and kids are still naive to the fact that not everyone online is
who they say they are.

A third issue of concern with social networking web sites is that of copyright
infringement. With the massive amount of files shared through social networking
web sites it has to tell sometimes who the original owner of the selected file is.
Also, commercial products are being reproduced by individuals and uploaded to
these social networking web sites. is a great example of how copy
right infringement can come about using a social networking website. Members
can pretty much upload anything they want on to to be viewed by
anyone who comes across it. This leads to many people committing copyright
infringement and uploading files and video clips that don’t belong to them. The only
real way that copyright infringement is reported is through the self-policing of the
YouTube community. (YouTube, 2007) With the easily missed copy right
infringement YouTube has been sued many times in the past and is now being
sued for over one billion dollars by Viacom on the claim that has
160,000 videos that belong to Viacom on their site without Viacom’s permission.
(YouTube, 2007)

In all the social networking phenomenon in India is small compared to the US

(Indian social networking websites today claim a user base of around 3 million
registered users) while MySpace, which has 106 million users and Orkut which has
67 million have far greater numbers.

Clearly, Indian firms have a lot of work ahead of them in order to catch up.
However, Siddhartha Roy, CEO, BigAdda, says optimistically: “We are early on the
curve.” Alok Mittal, MD, Canaan Partners, a venture capital firm, says: “When you
put that in context, Indian social networking websites are in their infancy. The
break-even point is longer, but once they attain a critical mass of 40 million users,
then VC firms will start investing in them.”

Navin Mittal, CEO,, says: “With the Indian Internet user-base
negligible compared to the US or China, these are very early days.” The owner of
the blog does a great job of explaining the benefits of social networking for
India and what it means for consumers and businesses.


Social networking sites, which allow users to build or be part of online

communities, account for 44% of the country’s Internet traffic

Social networking sites, which allow users to build or be part of online

communities, account for 44% of the country’s Internet traffic, according to a report
by consulting firm JuxtConsult Research and Consulting Pvt. Ltd. The space is
dominated by global players such as Orkut, MySpace, Facebook and Hi5. Google
Inc.’s Orkut, launched in 2004, isthe most popular social networking site among
Indians with more than seven million users, but advertising is something the site
has only recently dabbled with.

“Nobody has made money on social networking so far,” Ajit Balakrishnan,

chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), India Ltd, the company
behind, one of the earliest Indian dot-coms, had previously said. “But
when 10 million people congregate, somewhere down the line the company will
make money, and it will be advertiser-related, he had added. launched
iShare, a video sharing platform, in July, and plans to add a social networking tool
to it in the coming weeks.

Indian firms and entrepreneurs entering the social networking space are convinced
that they need to build up a critical mass of users first, and then worry about
advertising., started by the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s Reliance

Entertainment three months ago, has about 700,000 users but no advertiser yet.
Similarly, one-year-old social networking site for students has a
user base that exceeds one million but no advertisers.

“On the Internet, consumer is king. They decide where they want to spend their
time and advertisers recognize that,” said Siddhartha Roy, chief operating officer, “You want to first create a strong user base and give them an
uninterrupted experience.”

Kavita Iyer, CEO, Minglebox, agrees: “...In this business, users fluctuate from one
site to another and it is important to first reach a certain level of stability and
maturity before getting advertisers on board.”

But some experts say that those scrambling to enter the social networking space
have left it too late, and that plain vanilla social networking will, by itself, not work
any longer.

According to Balakrishnan, social networking has to become more than just a

communication platform. “Social networking will have to be morphed into every
online initiative,” he had said. “It has a tendency to pick up fast but loses
momentum just as fast. This is why we are integrating iShare with social

That’s a strategy similar to the one adopted by Yahoo Inc. “We want to make
Yahoo mail more social by combining properties such as SMS,instant messenger
and emails together. It’s too early to tell what we’re planning on social networking,
but it will be a convergence of communication channels,” John Kremer, vice-
president, Yahoo Mail, had previously said.

Others are trying this as well. Ibibo Web Pvt. Ltd’s is a multi-platform
social interactive site with applications such as networking, blogging and gaming
as some of its applications. “We’ve been around for seven months in India but I
can tell you that it takes about two to three years of good consumer traction to
drive revenues,” said Ashish Kashyap, CEO, Ibibo group. “It is important to create
a picnic effect before we can get to advertisers,” he added.

Advertisers themselves seem content with the picnic effect itself. PepsiCo India
Holdings Pvt. Ltd has not yet bought into social networking from the advertising
point of view, but it has bought into the concept. “Pepsi has not advertised on
social networking sites so far but we have got what we wanted by users
themselves creating discussion groups about the brand,” said a spokesperson for
PepsiCo India.

According to one expert, that may well indicate what social networking sites need
to do to start earning revenues.

“For advertisers, social networking sites are slow in generating revenues directly
but they are good in influencing decisions,” said Gulrez Alam, group head, paid
search, Communicate2, a paid-search marketing company. “Social media sites
will soon have alternative revenue generating tactics that will help influence the
user without intruding on the experience, that’s the way ahead.”
Almost half the Internet traffic generated in India is on account of social
networking, and while this has not translated into advertising revenue so far, a
pioneer in the country’s Internet space expects the situation to change.

How safe is your Orkut account?
Mayank Tewari/Dhananjay Khadilkar
Sunday, December 23, 2007 03:07 IST

A virus, which has been fixed by Google, had affected between 4 lakh to 7 lakh

MUMBAI: Google recently added a new feature on Orkut where users can post
Active X Content on their friend’s scrapbook. But the feature turned out to be
Google’s nemesis as an attacker used the vulnerability and posted a virus that
affected between 4,00,000 to 7,00,000 Orkut users. Though Google managed to
fix the bug on Thursday, the incident has highlighted the security aspects of social
networking sites such as Orkut that have a huge following in countries like India.

A Google official, who requested anonymity, admitted that because of this bug
several people received scraps from friends, who claimed they had never posted
any such scraps. “The newly introduced scrapbook feature had been exploited,”
the official said.

According to Chetan Gupta, a 26-year-old independent cyber security expert, “The

feature allows users to post clips, songs, animation etc on their as well as other
user’s scrapbooks,” he said.

Users who were attacked got a message in their mailboxes informing them that
someone had posted a scarp on their profile. The scrap, written in Portuguese,
when translated into English reads: “2008 is coming… I wish that it begins quite
well for you.”

As soon as the user viewed the post, the virus downloaded a file to the user’s
computer. The worm then took control of the user’s account and enlisted a group
called ‘Infections pelo Vírus do Orkut’, which translates as ‘Infected by Orkut virus’.
The virus also sent copies of itself to all the friends of the user and repeated the

According to, the virus infected seven lakh Orkut users within 24
hours before Google was able to rectify the problem. The virus was not supposed
to do any real harm to the users. The intent, according to a blog posting on Trend
Micro, was to only make a point. The blog post says “It appears from both the
script that this script was designed purely to spread, rather than for more malicious
purposes. The author has pulled the malicious JavaScript from the Web, having
gotten his point across.”

A Google spokesperson said that the internet search giant takes the security of its
users very seriously. “We worked quickly to implement a fix for the issue. Service
to Orkut was not disrupted during this time.” This is not the first time a virus like this
has targeted a social network. MySpace too was attacked by ‘Samy Is My Hero’
worm in 2005.


Business Standard, January 25 '07

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Business Standard, Riding the networking wave

Priyanka Joshi / New Delhi January 24, 2007

TECHNOLOGY: Want to get seen? Advertise on social networking sites. This,

incidentally, is the new mantra of online advertisers.

About 93 per cent of the 28 million Indians online belong to the age group 18-45
years — a target audience that has the maximum buying power.

Ten million of these are hooked on to some form of online social media, be it
personal, career or business networking, matrimonial sites, discussion rooms,
virtual activity platforms, instant messenger, podcasts, RSS feeds and blogs. The
mix of social media sites being a hot favourite among this bunch of young Indians,
it presents a perfect milieu for online advertisers.

Content-specific advertisements have become a rage on networking sites like

Orkut, TechTribe, LinkedIn, Ryze, Flickr, MSN Live Spaces, Blogger, Fropper and
Facebook, which are a compelling buy for advertisers seeking to target the active
lifestyle set the sites cater to.

In short, content-specific networks are riding a wave of popularity and newer

networks seem to be springing up every day.

Rajnish, head (digital marketing revenue and strategic business), MSN India,
explains why marketers want to be seen on social networking sites: “In Asia, email
and instant messaging take 40-50 per cent of the time we spend online.
Blogosphere is doubling in size every six months and an average Indian user
spends anywhere between 40-60 minutes daily on social media sites. Little
wonder, banks, automobile companies, FMCGs, and even IT firms want a virtual
advert that’s both engaging and innovative.”
Social media advertising has been taking the online advertising industry by storm.
The total marketing spend on social media is forecast to grow at a compound
annual rate of 106.1 per cent from 2005 to 2010, reaching $757 million in 2010,
according to a report from PQ Media.

Some social-networking communities focus on vertical markets with a narrowly-

defined audience, such as business-relationship sites like LinkedIn and TechTribe.
Their ad revenue exceeded $20 million in 2006.

“There has been a recent ‘change of guard’ online with social networks — from
being a ‘push’ medium to a ‘pull’ medium,” remarks Rajnish, “MSN is using
people’s attention to engage users with advertisers through contextual advertising
and desktop television.”

The audiences, in return, generate revenues each time they click on a banner,
keyword or a floating advertisement on a webpage. While online rate cards are not
exactly cheap, averaging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh, the prices are
expected to get spiked by another 20-25 per cent by the end of 2007.

Social-networking sites entice users to spend considerable time and view many
page views, and many sites are seeing those numbers increase.

Nielsen/Net Ratings reports that users’ visits to YouTube grew in duration from
about 17 minutes to 28 minutes (64 per cent) over the first six months of 2006.
Page views grew 515 per cent during the same period. Members of communities
spend hours looking up friends’ profiles and following paths of interconnected
relationships. These long visits and high page views directly correlate to ad

Blog advertising, worldwide, totalled $25 million in 2006, which includes blogs,
podcasts and RSS advertising.

“By the tail-end of 2007, even Indian bloggers (the well known ones) would be
making money out of advertising on their blogs, podcasts, videos, personal web
pages and other forms of user generated content,” claims a media buyer.

Anil Kaul, CEO, Absolute Data, a research and analytics firm, has helped websites
and advertisers look beyond popular targeting options like geography and
demography “using complex targeting options on networks, like behavioural and
contextual and domain-level targeting. We have shown clients how to get the most
from an online advert.”

The Perils Of Social Networking



Posted 12/26/2007

In November, more than 145 million people worldwide logged onto at least one of
the 20 most-visited social networking Web sites, says Nielsen/NetRatings.

Brian Mann wasn't among them.

It's not that Mann, founder of management consulting firm Midnight Oil, is opposed
to networking.

Developing relationships, getting referrals and connecting with potentially new

clients is crucial to his business.

He has as many as eight business-related meals a week. He regularly attends a

weekly networking group in Los Angeles, where 55 professionals meet for
Saturday breakfast to discuss trends in technology, media and entertainment. He
visits trade shows, conferences and seminars to make connections.

Yet he says social networking Web sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and
MySpace, which let people post their profiles and potentially link up with hundreds
of others, isn't for him.

Quantity, Quality

"Networking to me means adding real, incremental value to the person you meet,"
Mann said. "You can't screen people on social networks the way you can in real

"Social networks are not so much about quality as they are about quantity. And
quantity means you have to kiss a lot of frogs with the hope that someday you'll
find a prince."

Social networking Web sites remain a social experiment. Whether these sites can
maintain stickiness — keeping people coming back — is critical to keeping enough
viewers to draw advertisers.

But as Mann attests, not everyone likes the sites, for business or pleasure.

Users of Facebook revolted when the firm unveiled Beacon, a system designed to
catalog user activity and use the data so advertisers could more accurately track
Privacy advocates and analysts said Beacon was far more invasive than the
company implied.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg issued a public apology and changed the
program so that only users who wanted to be part of Beacon were included in the

"The push-back was strong," said Nicholas Givotovsky, an analyst with research
firm Diffusion Group. "Sometimes what people want isn't directly in line with the
business model of the company. Limits are being felt."

A case in point to the limitations is a story told by Fons Tuinstra, director of speaker
relations for China-based Chinabiz Speakers, on a recent Web posting titled "Why
LinkedIn Does not Work for Me."

Tuinstra used LinkedIn to see if his contacts on the site would help him connect to
their contacts, in a bid to develop some business relationships.

It didn't work.

Turns out his contacts really didn't know the people they had listed as their
contacts, or at least didn't know them well enough to feel comfortable forwarding
Tuinstra's request.

Wrote Tuinstra: "A large number of people . . . have so many contacts that they
cannot realistically know them personally."

Tuinstra then offered this advice: "You should only add people you really know to
your contact list."

Then there's the case of a man we'll call John Doe, since he spoke on condition he
not be identified.

On Facebook, John had linked to a female acquaintance that another friend

recommended, thinking she might become a client down the road.

Racy Photos

When her photo popped up on John's Facebook page one time, John's girlfriend
happened to see it, and asked about her.

"My girlfriend began to think I had a secret life," he said.

So John invited his girlfriend to check out his new friend's Facebook page, to learn
that the connection was a professional contact. But John himself had failed to
check out his new friend's Facebook page thoroughly.

And the friend had several racy photos of herself on the site, which his girlfriend
saw, adding to her suspicions. "Things escalated, and it ended up with my
girlfriend leaving me," John said.
That example is among the reasons Mann and others avoid social networks. "You
can end up putting control into the hands of people who don't have your best
interest at heart," Mann said. "You can end up destroying your brand quicker than
anything else."Analyst Givotovsky advises caution. "You can't treat social
networking with the casualness you would a video game," he said. "People need to
think hard about how they spend their time in the digital world, on what terms and
what mechanisms they use."


Networks and Network Structure

Social network sites also provide rich sources of naturalistic behavioural data.
Profile and linkage data from SNSs can be gathered either through the use of
automated collection techniques or through datasets provided directly from the
company, enabling network analysis researchers to explore large-scale patterns of
finding, usage, and other visible indicators (Hogan, in press), and continuing an
analysis trend that started with examinations of blogs and other websites. For
instance, Golder, Wilkinson and Huberman (2007) examined an anonym zed
dataset consisting of 362 million messages exchanged by over four million
Facebook users for insight into Finding and messaging activities. Lampe, Ellison,
and Steinfield (2007) explored the relationship between profile elements and
number of Facebook friends, finding that profile fields that reduce transaction costs
and are harder to falsify are most likely to be associated with larger number of
friendship links. These kinds of data also lend themselves well to analysis through
network visualization.

SNS researchers have also studied the network structure of Friendship. Analyzing
the roles people played in the growth of Flicker and Yahoo! 360's networks, Kumar,
Novak, and Tomkins (2006) argued that there are passive members, inviters, and
linkers "who fully participate in the social evolution of the network". Scholarship
concerning Live Journal's network has included a Friendship classification scheme
(Hsu, Lancaster, Paradesi, & Weniger, 2007), an analysis of the role of language in
the topology of Friendship (Herring et al., 2007), research into the importance of
geography in Friending (Liben-Nowell, Novak, Kumar, Raghavan, & Tomkins,
2005), and studies on what motivates people to join particular communities
(Backstrom, Huttenlocher, Kleinberg, & Lan, 2006). Based on Orkut data, Spertus,
Sahami, and Büyükkökten (2005) identified a topology of users through their
membership in certain communities; they suggest that sites can use this to
recommend additional communities of interest to users. Finally, Liu, Maes, and
Davenport (2006) argued that Friend connections are not the only network
structure worth investigating. They examined the ways in which the performance of
tastes (favorite music, books, film, etc.) constitutes an alternate network structure,
which they call a "taste fabric."

Bridging Online and Offline Social Networks

Although exceptions exist, the available research suggests that most SNSs
primarily support pre-existing social relations. Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007)
suggest that Facebook is used to maintain existing offline relationships or solidify
offline connections, as opposed to meeting new people. These relationships may
be weak ties, but typically there is some common offline element among
individuals who friend one another, such as a shared class at school. This is one of
the chief dimensions that differentiate SNSs from earlier forms of public CMC such
as newsgroups (Ellison et al., 2007). Research in this vein has investigated how
online interactions interface with offline ones. For instance, Lampe, Ellison, and
Steinfield (2006) found that Facebook users engage in "searching" for people with
whom they have an offline connection more than they "browse" for complete
strangers to meet.


Popular press coverage of SNSs has emphasized potential privacy concerns,

primarily concerning the safety of younger users (George, 2006; Kornblum &
Marklein, 2006). Researchers have investigated the potential threats to privacy
associated with SNSs. In one of the first academic studies of privacy and SNSs,
Gross and Acquisti (2005) analyzed 4,000 Carnegie Mellon University Facebook
profiles and outlined the potential threats to privacy contained in the personal
information included on the site by students, such as the potential ability to
reconstruct users' social security numbers using information often found in profiles,
such as hometown and date of birth.

Acquits and Gross (2006) argue that there is often a disconnect between students'
desire to protect privacy and their behaviours, a theme that is also explored in
Stutzman's (2006) survey of Facebook users and Barnes's (2006) description of
the "privacy paradox" that occurs when teens are not aware of the public nature of
the Internet. In analyzing trust on social network sites, Dwyer, Hiltz, and Passerini
(2007) argued that trust and usage goals may affect what people are willing to
share—Facebook users expressed greater trust in Facebook than MySpace users
did in MySpace and thus were more willing to share information on the site.

In another study examining security issues and SNSs, Jagatic, Johnson,

Jakobsson, and Menczer (2007) used freely accessible profile data from SNSs to
craft a "phishing" scheme that appeared to originate from a friend on the network;
their targets were much more likely to give away information to this "friend" than to
a perceived stranger. Survey data offer a more optimistic perspective on the issue,
suggesting that teens are aware of potential privacy threats online and that many
are proactive about taking steps to minimize certain potential risks. Pew found that
55% of online teens have profiles, 66% of whom report that their profile is not
visible to all Internet users (Lenhart & Madden, 2007). Of the teens with completely
open profiles, 46% reported including at least some false information.

There are many ways that business’ can use social networking web sites to their
advantage but we are going to focus on three. The first aspect of a business that
could use a social networking website for would be the hiring of employees. Such
sites as actually help many people searching for jobs and many
companies looking for employees to find each other. It’s as simple as creating your
own resume and putting it out there. then takes your resume and
compares it to the needs and wants that companies have posted on the web site
and connects the company with people who meet or exceed their posted
standards. This a lot faster and involves a more broad spectrum of resources for
which a company can use to find the perfect employee.

Another aspect of business affected by social networking websites is marketing.

With the millions of people that use social networking web sites, what better way to
market your product then by buying space on those web sites? Whether it’s
through banners or links millions of people will view your ads should they be
placed on a social networking website. An example is that of Through its
great reputation to gamers many gaming companies are willing to spend
thousands of dollars for advertising space since they know that gamers who view
the web site will most likely learn about their product. Not only is online advertising
more effective than commercial advertising such as TV ads and magazines, it’s
also more cost effective and reaches far more people than other forms of
advertising. An example of the effectiveness of internet advertising is
in which experts have estimated that “Given its traffic levels, video streams and
page views, some have calculated that YouTube's potential revenues could be in
the millions per month.” (YouTube, 2007)

A third aspect of business that is affected by social networking websites is that of

fair pricing. With so many businesses’ out there creating virtually the same product
it’s easy for one to get lost in the broad spectrum of products. With social
networking websites people can get advice from experts, gain knowledge of
product through others who have used it, and get reviews on nearly anything that
is mass produced today. This in turn is also great for businesses. With all this
information out there concerning products it’s easy for a company to look through it
and see what customers want and for how much. This in turn leads to better
products being made to suit the customers’ needs and wants.
The popularity of the social networking sites is immense, specially amongst the
youth. The sample chosen had a majority of students from the B-Schools. Analysis
of the data tells us that 98% of the students uses at least one of the networking

Male 69
Female 31




below 15 yrs 2
15-19 yrs 0
20-24 yrs 64
25-29 yrs 28
30 yrs and above 1

30 below 15 yrs
28 15-19 yrs
10 20-24 yrs
2 25-29 yrs
0 0
below 15 yrs

20-24 yrs

30 yrs and above

30 yrs and
Of all the respondents 58% were graduate while the rest i.e. 42 % were

How many sites do the respondents use?

59% of the respondents use only 1 site regularly, 2% using no such networking
sites and 39% of them using more than 1 site. Out of the ones who use more than
one site, 31% amongst them use two sites and 5 % use three sites with an
exception of 3% use four and above networking sites.
sites percentag
Options used e
4 or
a above 3
b 3 5
c 2 31
d 1 59
e 0 2

Number of nteworking sites used


percentage users






1 2 3 4 5
number of sites used
By this we infer that although these networking sites are getting very popular these
days, most of the students use one site with the second majority being of those
who use two networking sites.

Now we will analyze which sites are the most popular ones.

Sites Users
Only Orkut 57
Orkut 94
Facebook 34
Yaari 6
My space 6
Hi5 6
Popularity of sites

Percentage users 50 94
30 57
20 34
10 6 6 6
Only Orkut Facebook Yaari My space Hi5

Orkut is a hands down winner in this regard. One major interpretation here is that
59% users who use only 1 networking sites, 99% of them use orkut. Considering
the overall data, 94% students seem to use orkut site which makes it the most
popular one. The second most popular is facebook which is used by 34% people
followed by a 6% share by each yaari, myspace and Hi5.

The number of hours spent on these networking sites should be analyzed here to
determine what impact it would have on the users. The more the time spent, more
probability of these sites being beneficial is there.
Hours per
week Respondents
15 or
above 13
10 to 14 15
6 to 9 22
3 to 5 24
1 to 2 18
less than 1 8

The majority of the students spend on an average of about 6 to 9 hours every day
surfing these networking sites. Amongst those about 28% users spend more than
1 hour everyday, ranging between 10 to over 15 hours being spent every week.

The next question that arises is what else these students would be doing if not
surfing on these sites during that time. When we asked that question during the
survey, we arrived at a number of such things.
Activites Percentage
Studying 18
Socialising 48
work 11
Reading novels 22
Others 8

Most of the students would use the spare time for Socialising or hanging out with
friends if they were not using these networking sites. 40% were of the opinion that
they would be studying or reading novels and books which means that these
networking sites are leaving the students with less time to study and to read books
and novels. 8% said that they would be doing some other things like social work,
sports, pursuing their hobbies etc.
What is it that attracts the students to spend time surfing rather than doing other
things mentioned above. Some said it was because they could make more
friends, some said it was easier for them to stay in touch with their existing friends,
for others it was to find old friends, to share a love relationship with or to find and
interact with people with common interests.

Let us see what made these sites the most attractive:

Usage Percentage
to make new friends 20
to find old friends 52
to communicate with existing friends 60
for relationships 6
to find people with common
interests 8

This shows that the desire to find old friends along with the need to communicate
with the existing friends is making more and more students use these networking
sites. In only rare case, people are looking for relationships over there. Also 20%
tend to use these sites for making new friends.

The impact on youth can also be determined by analysing if these people

have met anyone in personal through these networking sites.

Personal meetings

Who met through

networking sites
Who did not meet
through these sites
About 29% of the users have met someone personally through these networking
sites which is a huge number as it takes a lot of trust in meeting someone
personally. Here, the question arises regarding safety and trust as a lot of people
fake their profiles.

For some, these networking sites make them feel comfortable in their sexuality. For
49%, it is easier for them to be themselves while interacting through these sites. It
raises question as to how real they are while they act with people in personal or in
their normal routine life.

The networking sites for sure have some beneficial effects on the users. Lets
examine now how these social sites have benefited the users.

More friends 25%
Better connectivity 63%
Found my life partner 1%
Enjoy leisure or time when I am alone 22%
Link with prospective recruiters 7%

Better connectivity is what these sites definitely provide. Also people seem to have
more friends through their use. It happens due to finding out old friends and also
remaining in close connection with the old as well as the existing friends. This also
gives its users a way to enjoy themselves or the leisure time when they are alone.
They can be themselves and also remain in touch with friends at the same time.
Another benefit is the opportunity to connect with the prospective recruiters and to
find employment through these sites. Only an exception of 1% found their life
partners through this.

As per the survey, 80% of the people find that there is no as such negative impact
in their personal life. Only 20% of the sample population feels that there is a
negative impact on their personal lives.






From that of 20%, 55% feels that loss of time is the major cause of negative impact
while 20% feels its loss of privacy and 15% feels that it makes them more
dependent on electronic medium. Only 5% of the 20% people feel that it creates
some emotional disturbance or less emotional bonding in relationships.

(C) 3



There was no clear view that came out of the survey regarding the stand whether
parent’s discretion and monitoring is required while there children use these social
networking sites. Because 48% of the respondents thought that it is required while
52% said that they don’t think it is correct.
YES (a) 48
NO(b) 52

48% YES (a)

52% NO(b)
The survey also shows that only 36 people feel that social networking sites invade
in their privacy. When we looked at the specific question asking about if parents
discretion and monitoring is required in this case for children using these sites, we
get almost 48 saying definitely yes. So we see that these things indicate that there
is no as such anything wrong with the social networking sites and people find it
useful too.


YES (a) 36
NO (b) 64


YES (a) NO (b)


It clearly shows that social networking sites are having no crucial negative
impact on people’s life.

Influence of networking sites on lifestyle:

Social networking sites have some or the other sort of influence on the lifestyle of
the people. While some people did not feel that it influences the lifestyle as they
use these networking sites just for connecting with friends and did not feel its
influence on their lifestyle.

On the other hand, those who feel that it has some influence on their lifestyle had a
lot to share. The responses suggest that some people have got addicted to the
networking sites and use them more often and as such their life is completely
influenced by these. People find it trendy to use these networking sites and being a
member of the sites is considered trendy and in vogue thing. Some people surf
these sites to interact with people with similar preferences and it helps in their
decision-making ability. They take the views and suggestions of the people before
taking any such decisions and feel quite comfortable with it. Some people get
knowledge about latest trends in fashion, electronic gadgets etc.

The most staggering influence of these networking sites for some people is the use
of abbreviated words like ‘d’ for ‘the’ and likewise. They tend to use the similar
words in their day to day life and even in official communication and often have
suffered due to this. For students, it often comes across during exams.

Some people use abusive words to vent out their feelings on these networking
sites and the same has been seen in their personal life of late. Certain people
often use communities to dishonour their teachers and bosses or use bad-
mouthing words for even celebrities and sports stars.

Negative/bad experience from networking sites:

Generally the networking sites have been of great utility to the users and they have
found it of immense importance. But some people have had bad experiences from
these networking sites. These bad experiences have been seen observed more by

the female users than male users. The verification of genuine identity of the people
is a problem. Many users have suffered from the same. People pose as someone
else and tend to seek personal or confidential knowledge. This has led to breach
of trust of a section of respondents. The albums are accessible to everyone and as
such the pictures can be easily copied and have even been distorted in some
cases and put on fake profiles. Same is the case with scrapbooks or message
boxes which is visible to everyone. Information meant for one person is visible to
everyone and is often harmful in relations. Some unknown people also put their

comments on the scrapbooks to attract undue attention. The language is also

offensive on many occasions.

The communities have even created furore over national and religious sentiments.
Due to absence of any strict monitoring, communities targeted to humiliate one or
the other community has mushroomed. Communities like “I hate Muslims” or “I
hate Hindus” have created differences among the people and have often invited
unwanted tension and rift. Some community had an Indian flag burning which
shook the entire users of India and the national sentiments as a whole.

Other insights:

Social networking sites have become a way of expression for some individuals.
They feel that life would have been incomplete without these sites. These have
shrunk the entire world and provided a common platform for all. Some people find
it very important in this age of ever changing world where people move from one
place to another very frequently. It has also bridged borders and brought about
cross-cultural understanding and sensitivity. The need is to utilize it effectively for

good reasons and find ways to curb its negative influence. The situation also
demands some kind of moral trafficking and policing to regulate its use. Even the
use of a social security number or some unique national identity could be asked for
while opening an account to prevent its misuse. Privacy is a concern which some
of the sites like Orkut have got sensitized to and are providing security option to
the users as to enable them use it as per their own discretion and avoid
mishandling of their information or pictures, etc.

All the uses of these networking sites vary from person to person and their
mentalities. Like each system has its good things as well as bad things, these sites
also have both the aspects. It now depends on the individual how well they are
going to use the same. Effective utilization is the source to gaining maximum
advantage out of these networking sites.


1. The sample size that we have taken is 100 which we are assuming that it is
homogeneous and enough to carryout the research.
2. Most of the sample population consists of students and hence our research
mainly focuses on students using social networking sites.
3. The analysis done is mainly judgmental in nature.
4. The concept of social networking sites is not very old in India thus not much
of research has been done in regards to its effects.
5. The expertise of the questionnaire design is limited.
6. The underlying assumption is that the survey conducted in limited area
represents the general psyche of the users of the social networking site.


A social networking web site is an online community in which people can connect
to others with similar interests. Since their start in 1995 with,
social networking web sites have grown enormously to include such huge sites
today as,, and Through these sites businesses’
can use social networking web sites to connect to potential employees, market
new products, and get feedback on their current products as well as new ideas for
future products. Although there are many valuable assets to social networking web
sites, there are also major issues that the sites must address such as the
protection of private information, the protection of children, and the protection of
copyrighted material. Although they have issues, social networking web sites are
still one of the best inventions of the modern era because they connect so many
The work described above contributes to an on-going dialogue about the
importance of social network sites, both for practitioners and researchers. Vast,
uncharted waters still remain to be explored. Methodologically, SNS researchers'
ability to make causal claims is limited by a lack of experimental or longitudinal
studies. Although the situation is rapidly changing, scholars still have a limited
understanding of who is and who is not using these sites, why, and for what
purposes. Such questions will require large-scale quantitative and qualitative
research. We hope that our findings and the work described here will help build a
foundation for future investigations of these and other important issues
surrounding social network sites.


Some ideas for future research for social networking websites would be personal
contact offices to register on these sites to determine the legitimacy of the person
who is trying to register. Although this would most likely end up a great hassle, it
would provide the best security out there for people who are trying to have safe fun
and connect with people that share similar interests and ideas.
Another future tool social networking websites could use would be a licensing
agreement with certain parties to prevent copyright infringement from happening
on the Internet.

Here are some ‘Golden Rules of Networking’ that we

suggest to be followed:
1. Help without expecting immediate returns – you never know, if the small favour
you give to other person might get you his recommendation for the coveted
position in his company a few years down the line.

2. Pursue excellence in all you do – ensure that people recommend you because
of your good work

3. Be genuine – people will see through your façade sooner or later

To summarize at this point-

1. Use each interaction with someone as an opportunity to network – to build a

2. Base these interactions on the 3 principles to increase your effectiveness at


But…Wait a minute! Aren’t we missing something? Ah….it’s the People to build a




1. Do you use any social networking sites?

a. Yes b. No
If yes, continue. Otherwise terminate.

2. How many social networking sites do you use actively?

a. 4 and above b. 3 c. 2 d. 1

3. Select the sites that you use:

a. Orkut b. Facebook c. Yaari d. Myspace e. Hi5
f. Any others (please specify)_________________________________

4. How many hours per week do you spend on using these sites?
a. 15 and above b. 10- 14 c. 6-9 d. 3-5 e. 1-2 f. less than

5. If you were not using these sites, what would you have done to utilise that time?
a. studying b. hanging out with friends/socialising c. doing more
constructive work d. reading novels e. Any others( please

6. What do you use social networking sites for?

a. to make new friends b. to find old friends c. to communicate with
existing friends d. to find someone I can share a relationship with
e. to interact with people with common interests

7. Have you ever met someone in person that you have come to know through a
network site?
a. Yes b. No

8. Do you think social network sites help you to feel comfortable in your sexuality?
a. Yes b. No

9. How has social networking sites benefited you as a user?

a. I have more friends
b. I am able to connect easily with my existing friends.
c. I have found a life-partner through these sites.
d. I find it a great way to enjoy my leisure or whenever I am alone.
e. Link with prospective recruiters and find employment.

10. Do you feel these networking sites have created any negative impact on your

personal life?
a. Yes b. No
If yes, then what do you feel can be these impacts?
a. Loss of privacy b. Loss of time c. More reliance on electronic
d. Less emotional bonding in relations e. Emotional disturbance

e. Any others ( please specify)___________________________

11. Do you think that there is invasion of privacy through these networking sites?
a. Yes b. No

12. Do you feel that parents’ discretion and monitoring is required in this case for
children using these sites?
a. Yes b. No

13. Do these networking sites influence your lifestyle in any way?

a. Yes b. No
If yes, how will you describe the influence?
14. Have you ever had any negative/bad experience from these networking sites?
a. Yes b. No
If yes, would you please describe the same?

15. Any other insights you would like to provide?


16. Gender?
a. Male b. Female

17. What is your age-group?

a. Below 15 yrs b.15-19 yrs c. 20-24yrs d. 25- 29yrs e. 30yrs and

18. What is your educational qualification?

a. Undergraduate b. Graduate c. Post Graduate

19. What is your profession?

a. Business b. Pvt. Organigation c. Govt Service d. Student e.


Thanks for your co-operation.