Social Media in Developing Countries

Mon 27 February 2012 16:00, Vitto Christaldi

Social Media in Developing Countries

Today I read the “Social Media’s Impact on Developing Countries” article written by Alexandra Kuhle. The article itself did not surprise me, because I come from a developing country, Indonesia, and social media there is very big! However, it is fascinating how social media evolved: how quickly social media reached every earth citizen and how big the authority of social media is in many countries!

As many of you probably have guessed, Facebook and Twitter are the two biggest social networks in most countries. China, unlike the rest of the world, has Qzone, Sina, Weibo, & RenRen as the most used social media; mainly because Facebook, Twitter, and other “foreign” social media sites are banned by the Chinese government. (However, even though Facebook is banned in China, I heard some Chinese companies are still using Facebook fanpages to promote their brands in China! I reckon the Chinese Facebook population is probably quite big, since they can still access Facebook using VPN connection. But again, it is only my guess!)

The plateau continent, Africa, also does not want to be left behind! As I quoted from UN’s Africa Renewal Magazine, “In recent months Facebook — the major social media platform worldwide and currently the most visited website in most of Africa — has seen massive growth on the continent. The number of African Facebook users now stands at over 17 million, up from 10 million in 2009. More than 15 per cent of people online in Africa are currently using the platform, compared to 11 per cent in Asia. Two other social networking websites, Twitter and YouTube, rank among the most visited websites in most African countries.


The World's Map of Social Network

For those living in developed countries, you are probably curious how social media can become so big, when not every household even has an internet connection. The answer is simple: mobile internet! According to techwireasia, Asia has the biggest share of web usage from mobile devices worldwide. And what is the second biggest? Africa! The reason why those two continents have the biggest share of web mobile usage is the cheap price of mobile devices! Again as I quoted from techwireasia, “A relatively cheap mobile phone will then be a much more realistic option, and it therefore becomes the way to reach the Web for many. It’s either that or no web access at all, so it’s a matter of necessity”. Apart from mobile internet, internet cafés are quite big in Asia, at least from what I see in Indonesia. So it is not really necessary to have computer devices in the developing countries in order to access internet!


In another article, I found some interesting statistics about internet users in a country of snake charmers, India. Apparently India has the world’s youngest internet population, with 75% of all Indian internet being under 35 years old! Other interesting statistics that I found on IBNLive about India:

  • One third of India’s total online population is between 15 to 24 years old
  • 95% of all population has an account on social media
  • Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin as the most visited social media sites
  • The usage of email and instant messaging is declining to 22%

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