It would be easy for me to dismiss nations with no readers as simply uninterested in the issues, or, in some cases, unable to read the blog in its native English language, but this article about a lot more than this particular blog (though it would be fun to claim readers in every nation on the planet). Before I get into the research, and related thoughts, here’s a list of where this blog is not read. In the case of Africa and Asia, I’m surprised by number of nations where people have read this blog.
In South America, only French Guiana, and in Europe, only Kosovo tallies at zero blog readers to date. No surprise that North Korea is also on that list; the other Asian nations are Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. In Africa, there are many counties–probably about half the countries on the continent, not yet in the fold: Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Botswana, Mozambique, and Madagascar.
Seeking reliable statistics about some or most of these nations as some sort of a cluster, I discovered a useful United Nations site that listed most of these nations, along with many smaller ones (in Oceania, for example), in category 199, “Least Developed Countries.”
I then reviewed the 2012 report on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The goals are focused on poverty, human rights and infrastructure, disease prevention, hunger, gender equality and education, and although education is the only item on this list with an undeniable direct connection to Internet use, much of Africa continues to face severe challenges in labor productivity, one link in the chain to open and available Internet access. Furthermore, more than half of the world’s children not in school live in sub-Saharan Africa, another suggestive indicator. What’s more, only about 1 in 4 people are literate in this region, and only about 1 in 3 are literate in southern Asia, so limited Internet use in these regions may be of lesser importance than sheer literacy.
In 2011, there were 7 billion people on earth. Two thirds of them had no Internet access. Once again, sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions posted the lowest rates.
So that’s the official global view. I wondered about the local view, and found a site called Edge Kazakhstan with a story about the local popularity of Facebook, and about the popularity of the Internet, generally, in Kazakhstan.
Statistics say social media sites are among the most accessed in the country… Number one is Russian social networking page VKontakte (http://vkontakte.ru), second is world leader Facebook (www.facebook.com) and in the third place is another Russian site, Odnoklassniki (www.odnoklassniki.ru)…Askar Zhumagaliyev, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Communications and Information, in a June Twitter posting said that 34.4 percent of the nation was using the internet as of early 2011 – compared to 18.2 percent in early 2010. He has also tweeted that he plans for the entire country to be covered by high-speed internet by 2015.
Social Bakers keeps track of social media use in nations throughout the world. I checked in Tanzania because Facebook use in Africa is growing very rapidly, despite a relatively low rate of Internet penetration, which is also growing fast, especially in the centers of population. Five years from now, connectivity in all but the most challenged or remote areas of Africa and Asia will not reach international averages, but they will be far higher than today (reliable statistics are hard to find, but Vodafone, a large international supplier, will likely serve between one-third and one-half of the technically available population).
I suspect that what I write may not be what most people want to read in Kazakhstan or Tanzania, but I would be surprised to find the list of nations who have never experienced the pleasure of reading this blog to be reduced by half within the next year (or so). The majority of my readers will continue to be found in U.S., Canada, the U.K., but I know that future map will show a wider distribution than the one I published today.
By the way, if you are reading this blog in a nation other than the U.S., I wonder if you would just comment and tell us where you are in the world. Thanks!