Facebook has 500 Million users – What exactly do they do?

Social Networking site Facebook has 500 million users as of this week. Thats more than population of Europe or half the population of India, okay almost half , well its a huge number in any case.

But have you  ever wondered, What exactly do they do on facebook ?? Most people I know, i work with or I interact withare on Facebook or at worst  have atleast heard of someone in their family or freind using facebook. I beleive most people I know are already on facebook or will be in near future. Its simply because of this reason that Facebook has managed to attract more and more users by the day. If there is one site you want to be registered on that is Facebook because everybody you know is there. You can call it the ‘first mover’ advantage, although Facebook wasn’t the first social network available but it was certainly the most unique.

I have asked quite a few of them, what do they do. Majority are there on facebook just because everybody is on facebook, its more a peer pressure for some ,some are there to meet their long lost friends residing in some remote corner of the world. Some are there to meet their school friends or work colleagues or college mates who practically live in the next lane and perhaps meet them in ‘real’ world at least once in a day or couple of days. Some of the younger varieties are there for the ‘original’ task the site was designed for, ie. finding that HOT girl or girls, whom they are afraid of talking to in real life , and making her online ‘friend’. Some are there to share photos and nothing else, some are there to play mindless games like Farmville and Mafia Wars and silly quizzes.

What are Indians primarily doing on Facebook? A survey says majority of them wants to make online freinds and meet their long lost friends and relatives, almost 45%. Some 30% are there simply because their friends are on Facebook and its simply ‘cool’ to be there. About 35% Users login once every week to the site, while about 15% login at least once a  day, that says a lot about how popular the site has become. About 60% of Indian users have taken part in a quiz, a poll or an interactive game at some stage of their usage of Facebook. With its ability to connect with other social networks, popular blog sites and twitter, Facebook has become the first choice for most Indian Internet users, especially the first timers and youngsters. Every person has a different use of Facebook, some use it to connect with old friends, some use it to make new friends, some join it for games and interactivity, some for the picture sharing and some join it to be relevant in the emerging new ‘social’ world.

Although a recent survey says that Facebook is still not India’s premier social networking site, that honour goes to Orkut, the original social networking platform from Google but Facebook is catching up fast and how. According to the latest results Facebook has already gone past Orkut in search trends

Some say, Facebook is just another site which will lose its relevance in days to come and something better and different will emerge. But going by the sheer numbers I think it is here to stay for long.

So 500 Million is just a landmark and a billion is not too far for the most popular social networking site in the world, FACEBOOK.

My Experience with Tata IndiCom

Here’s sharing my experience with Tata Indicom, one of the leading private telecom operator who provides services ranging from Mobile Phone service, broadband connection, wireless broadband card etc.

Recently, tired of my frequently disconnection MTNL Triband connection, I decided to take advantage of an offer Tata Indicom was offering. I was getting free installation, wi-fi router and much better promised Internet speed with a lot bigger download limit. I contacted the local agent and pronto within 2 days my home was installed with the necessary wiring and the router was configured and I was surfing the net at twice the speed of my MTNL connection. What more could I want ??

Next of course comes the bill, which was well within the normal range I thought of. I being totally impressed by Tata Indicom decided to be their best customer and pay the bill right on time, well before the due date that is. No problem with that too except the twist in the tale. Next day my connection is disconnected !!!

After endless calling the agent who had installed the whole thing and their customer service agents, who every time verified my birth date and demanded all sorts of explanations,  finally I was told that I have a pending bill amount 5 times the bill amount I paid. This was for the bills which I did not pay in 2005 ( 5 years ago…)

Flashback: 2005

Shifting office from one end of mumbai to another is a nightmare in itself. After moving all the computers and the furniture and the files and other mundane stuff I realised that I needed telephone lines for the office if not for communication than at least for the dial-up Internet connection ( those were the days).

Any government of India service is rules out when you need something fast and I needed the phone lines urgently. Thats when I stumbled upon an agent who promised Tata Indicom telephone lines within 2 days flat !! I was of course impressed and happy to do away with rigidness of MTNL telelphone lines, I paid the advance for the same.

After a period of 3-4 days , after repeated calling the agent I was made to understood that I had applied for a WIRED line which wasnt possible to install so i had to go for WIRELESS phones, WALKY as they were called, they still are. I had no choice but to pay additional money and obtain those WALKY phones within a promised turnaround time of 48 hours !!  It was well past 7 days when I heard from them. Someone informed me that the engineers were on their way to install WALKY phones in my premises. That was the last communication from Tata Indicom to me. No engineers came, no phones were installed and I was still  without telephone lines. Repeated complaints and trying to connect the agent, customer service etc. yielded no result. I was told lines WILL be installed or my money would be refunded. Neither happened.

I still needed the telephone lines and the only choice I was left with was good old MTNL and I went through the procedure and obtained the required telephone lines within a then record period of 5 days flat.

Thus Tata Indicom had not installed any telephone lines and infact never returned my advance money. I like a typical lazy overworked Indian businessman with 100 other important things on mind forgot about the whole issue and even the money.

Now Tata Indicom had suddenly woke up from their long induced coma and discovered that I had not paid bills on the telephone lines that were in effect never actually delivered to me.

This time I decided not take it lying down, not that I had choice, I took my fight to them. I sat in their customer services cell ,explained my case to their representative, her immediate boss, the area head and so on. No one quite understood what was going on. They just had in their records that the bills of certain amount were pending from me. They did not have copy of the bills, copy of the work order, installation documents, delivery confirmation of Walky phones.  I had the right documents, the copies of payments I had made etc. Yet they knew one thing, I was suppose to pay, because their system said it or else they would not restart my broadband connection !!!

It took me better part of 3 days and some  ‘aggressive’ talking to some really senior people in the company. I refused to bow down and pay the ‘pending’ amount according to their records. Perhaps somehow someone sensible at the top realized what was going on. They agreed to restart my broadband account !! voila !!

Everything was fine and smooth till I completed the next billing cycle and …as history repeats itself , I started getting reminder calls for paying the long-standing bill. Only positive part was that this time they did not disconnect my broadband connection.

Tata Indicom not only didnt provide me service but didnt even refund my advance amount and on top of it are asking for the ‘unpaid’ bills for the same service which they did not even install !!!

Now, as I write it has been 3 months and I keep getting a reminder call /email every other day for the pending payment. But my internet connection is on – atleast yet and I have been paying all my current bills well within the stipulated time interval. I do not know what more to do and explain. I would continue to use this service as long as the ‘system’ does not disconnect me again and ask for pending payment. Next time it happens,  I am going back to MTNL.