Social Media Use in the Developing World

The social media explosion that has sucked in the lives of a large population of the developed world, has also recently been rapidly spreading throughout the developing world. A study done by Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project from March 21-May 15, 2011 shows that use of social media is growing much more rapidly in the developing world than it is currently in the developed world. People in low income nations (in areas that have access to internet) use social media sites at rates as high or even higher than people in high income nations. For example, according to the study, Russia and Indonesia had the highest rates of social media users amongst their internet users with a rate of 86 percent. This is much different from the US in which less than 60 percent of internet users use social networking sites.

This is an extraordinary phenomenon as social media has the power to do many amazing things. Social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter enable the rapid spread of events and ideas throughout the entire world. The world is becoming much smaller as people from every corner are able to share with each other their ideas as well as their cultures. This spread of ideas has the capacity to greatly improve the livelihoods of populations throughout the developing world. People can use social media outlets to share their own ideas and form a common ground to improve situations. More recently, during the Arab Spring, people have been turning to social media to communicate with each other and start revolutions to improve their lives. The Pew Research Center’s study even showed that in events of political unrest, social media usage greatly increases. Both Russia and Egypt, countries which both have experienced recent political movements, saw an increase of ten percent in social media usage. This portrays the fact that people in the developing world are actually using social media outlets in times of strife as a way to collaborate efforts with others.

The results of this study have shown that usage of social media is truly growing exponentially throughout the developing world. This growing usage has the ability to enable populations throughout the world to communicate with each other and share their ideas at very fast paces in order to improve their livelihoods, especially during times of conflict. This usage is only going to increase as mobile usage, especially that of smart-phones, and internet become even more accessible to people throughout the developing world within the near future.

Pew Research Center Report 


One response to “Social Media Use in the Developing World

  • rbain1

    It makes sense. After a while, regardless of the innovation, the developed world seems to reach a plateau, especially since the developing worlds have such a longer way to go to even reach some of the earliest “developed” levels. Social media is a resourceful tool, though its infinite influence and development within itself can also be very scary.

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