The message is loud and clear that Facebook is certainly a top contender in the race for the hot spot of being the most popular social networking website. I would scream- "Facebook is clearly a global phenomenon". In my opinion, not only it picked up it's user base in India and Brazil but also it is potentially growing at a great pace in all other countries. Facebook was there for a long time but it was Google's very own Orkut, which came into big league and dominated India. It was a complete new thing for the Indian audiences, something which they have never experienced despite the presence of other social networking websites in what I call as the virtual world(Internet), but Orkut made its mark. Orkut came to India and instantly, it was a big hit. I would say- one of the major reason for Orkut becoming so popular in India was because people were already used to Google through the Gmail and the Google Search Engine that particularly gave Google the platform to market and to launch something new like Orkut. I have to say it was Orkut, which laid the foundation stone of what is called Social Networking Website in India, and it worked big time. People loved the status message concept, the community concept, the sharing of photos and videos, and most importantly the messaging (Scraps- as Google would call it) concept, which actually brought the demise of the e-mails to some extent. Overall, the popularity grew like anything and Orkut became a SUPERHIT!!
Orkut pretty much ruled the social networking arena till the mid of 2009 when all of a sudden there was Facebook explosion in India. By this time, Indian's have mastered the so called concept of Social Networking and thanks to Orkut for it. With Google's Orkut application becoming heavier and heavier day by day, and with new users being added everyday Google server did face performance issues, pretty much making the Google's very own funny line- "NO DONUT FOR YOU", a really irritating and frustrating site to see on the screen. Google did overcome the performance issues but overall it was kind of moratorium period for the users with nothing new coming from Google in terms of features. Meanwhile, Twitter was evolved in India and thank god to all the celebrity hype across the globe, which pulled the attention of the Indian audiences to Twitter. Yes, Twitter's most important factor for growth in India was celebrity presence and of course, celebrities have found a new channel to market and to connect with the common man. Twitter actually made the concept of short status messages popular, though Orkut had the samething but Twitter actually engraved the impact on Indian audiences. After all, Twitter helped the people to express themselves in the shortest possible word limit. Yet there was one thing common between both the Twitter and the Orkut i.e. their privacy strategy. Both the Twitter and the Orkut supported the security/privacy features for the users and that made sure that without user's permission no body can sneak into their internet life. Not a bad thing in terms of giving more security to people but yet conservative.
Facebook was a sudden outburst in India, one of the main reason it grew in popularity so enormously is it's very much belief in the "Public Social Norm". Facebook's founder Zuckerberg says- The Age of Privacy is Over and yes, Facebook has struck the right chord with its relaxed privacy features and has echoed the world of Social Networking with the word "Public". Your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List, and all the pages you subscribe to are now publicly available information on Facebook. This means everyone on the web can see it; it is searchable. Different and yet exciting was the response of public social norm among the Indian users of Facebook. The Indian audiences that matured a lot in the internet world especially the Social Networking Concept(thanks to Orkut and Twitter) loved the Facebook's share all concept the most and started multiplying in numbers to be a part of it. So, what Indian people started witnessing was a social networking website with all the features of Orkut and Twitter backed with better performance, and the vast application bundle, few funny, few crazy and few total non-sense,but yet popular. Facebook was right into the action and started growing in India big time. Seeing at the growing popularity of Facebook, it is pretty much inevitable that Facebook is here to grow and grow big. Already, Facebook has realized the potential user base in India and has planned to open its support center in Hyderabad, India. Overall, its a thumps up to Facebook in India and the verdict is- "Facebook is teasingly hot".
P.S. I DO NOT WORK FOR FACEBOOK, NOR ZUCK HAS PAID ME ANYTHING TO WRITE THIS.