A new report by Gartner seems to say that India represents both a promising social media market and a risky venture.
Which is probably true. Because of the fluid nature of social media it is difficult to gauge just what will happen in the next five minutes, much less in the next five years. Different forces are pulling users a myriad different ways, so predicting which forces will win out in the long run is dicey-at best.
However, the Gartner report clearly indicates that although the people who live in India might have qualms about using social media, they certainly don't have any problem working in the social media or technology industries and it expects the nation to soon become one of the most dominant forces in technology as a whole.
So, on the one hand we have the people of India who seem to be reticent about sharing too much information on social media; wary of the potential hazards they face using social media too much, or allowing it to become a dominant feature in their life. And on the other hand we have a people who are dedicated to making the systems work better for others.
It reminds me of the cigarette industry in a way. People making something they don't quite know if they trust enough to use themselves, yet not minding that others are using it.
So far social media has not been proven to cause cancer so maybe that is a poor analogy.
What matters here are two key pieces of information: India continues to represent a strong brain trust when it comes to the social media industry and that the people of industry, while representing a huge potential consumer market, are savvy enough to recognize a potential threat when they see one.
How the wider social web works to overcome this possible obstacle is yet to be determined, but it seems unlikely that social media companies will simply forget about the consumer buying potential of nearly one billion people, regardless of how those people may feel about their products.
India is already a powerhouse in the technology world and that strength is likely to continue. How well its people continue (or not) to embrace this same technology is irrelevant.