Are you from planet Tumblr India ? Look around you. Do you know anyone who knows about Tumblr ( a few will now thanks to Yahoo), but hardly a handful will be using Tumblr in India. You connect to friends/ acquaintances / colleagues/ via Facebook or LinkedIn. You follow top celebrities via twitter. No matter what their geography or income level or organization you can get in touch with any of them on these social networks in India. Your best blogs are on Google Blogger or WordPress.
It’s not that India does not have cool teenagers. This demographic is the largest in India and all brands target them. They swarm Facebook, search on Google or watch videos on YouTube. All brands advertise to this segment and try to be cool. Yet the coolest blog property Tumblr India avoids it.
There are I believe 2 key reasons why Tumblr has not gone viral in India, a land of creative people with 60% of the population below 30 years of age.
1. Smart Phone penetration: In US of A, Europe smartphones are sold by the carriers at a subsidized price. This is because they are sold on contracts (what we call postpaid in India). The prices of smartphones are very prohibitive for most of the teenagers in India. The power of a visual social blog site like Tumblr comes alive only on smartphones. At 5% penetration most of the Indian teenagers are not on bandwagon Tumblr India. Most are on Facebook as they are handset agnostic. Also initiatives like 0.facebook.com, m.facebook.com ensures that ever more feature phone users join those communities. Do remember that unlike the developed countries the first taste of internet for majority of Indian teenagers it’s the mobile phone. Also Facebook, Twitter, Google clients are embedded by all OEMs across smart and feature phones alike. Hence for Tumblr India adoption remains low.
2. The Urge of Sharing: If you are blogging from India only a handful of your peers will see your posts. Only one (if you are an optimist) or none (if you are a realist) will comment or Like or reshare your post. When there is no peer involvement on your blogs / pics/ quotes then the urge to keep sharing content quickly goes away. Forget the finicky teenagers. Tumblr’s hi res image lead blog style should have been the favourite of Indian brands and celebrities. But they to avoid it as it has no Indian fans. There is no entity to kick-start the adoption cycle of Tumblr India.
So whether Yahoo interferes in Tumblr or not, whether it introduces advertising in Tumblr or not, India’s social network scene will not be affected due to its unique demographics and dynamics.