In a survey conducted by a social media agency, Prabhavya Interactive, it was determined that smartphones, not computers, drive the use of social media in Gujarat. Furthermore, Facebook users from four major cities in Gujarat accessed social media using their smartphones more often than cities in India, including metros, reports TechGig.com.
To be more specific, Ahmedabad has 60 percent of users logging into social media using smartphones, as compared to 55.2 percent in Mumbai and 51.6 percent in Delhi. Other major cities in Gujarat, including Rajkot, Surat, and Vadodara, have up to 56 percent of users logging into social media using smartphones, versus other Indian cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, and Pune at less than 56 percent.
Data indicates that Facebook usage in Gujarat is higher than the national average and that consumers in Gujarat prefer smartphones, while nationally, Indian consumers favor feature phones. One of the reasons for this is because broadband Internet usage in India is not only more expensive, but also not available in all markets. The various Indian mobile operators offer attractive data plans, and in some cases, offer free connectivity for using social media sites such as Facebook and even Twitter. If anything, usage of these mobile services is expected to grow substantially in Gujarat, especially amongst users under the age of 25, as they are also the largest group of Facebook users in India too.
In my opinion, another reason why social media has become so prevalent in states such as Gujarat is because of the upcoming Indian federal elections in 2014.
The lead contender for the BJP political party, Narendra Modi, is currently the Chief Minister of Gujarat, and is one of the few politicians who is personally active on social media such as Facebook and especially Twitter. Reports indicate he has plans to tweet in 15 different languages in the upcoming months to the 2014 elections. As such, social media plays a big role these days in political campaigns in India, and those of legal voting age in states such as Gujarat would obviously want to be informed of the latest developments.
As for the current Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, well, he has accounts on Facebook and Twitter, but it's quite obvious that others from within the PM’s office are managing the accounts. Then again, as leader of the Congress party, he might feel the 2014 elections are a sure win for him and his party, and as such, perhaps isn’t interested in taking such a proactive approach with social media.
On the contrary, it's good to see someone like Narendra Modi doing the exact opposite. Of course, we'll have to wait until next year to see who comes out the winner. That being said, I'm certain towards the end, social media will have a significant influence on voters' minds.