Jan 17 2009

The Confusion Over Growth Projections of the Worldwide Mobile Subscriber Base

by at 4:18 pm

The confusion over growth projections of the worldwide mobile subscriber base continues with eMarketer reporting projections ranging from 3.35 billion in 2013 (Frost & Sullivan) to 5.6 billion in 2013 (by Strategy Analytics). eMarketer’s own prediction is that there will be 4.3 billion mobile subscribers worldwide in 2012.

As I had written before, the main reason for such variation in these projections is that most of the growth in the mobile phone subscriber base is expected to come from BRIC countries and analysts are not sure how quickly this growth potential will be realized.

Cross-posted at my personal blog.

One response so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Access,BRIC,Gaurav Mishra,Mobile | Tags: , , , , ,

Oct 30 2008

World Map of Flickr Privacy Settings

by at 2:14 am

World Map of Flickr Privacy Settings

TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb have written about a slide shared by Yahoo!’s Principal Research Scientist Elizabeth Churchill on geographical locations where Flickr users are more likely to post their photos with privacy settings (red) or use the default public setting (green). The sample set was 1 million Flickr users who self-reported their locations, in 2005.

Neither Michael Arrington nor Marshall Kirkpatrick share any details of the methodology behind the map, but a quick Google search led me to the presentation from which this slide seems to be taken: ‘Sharing Preferences and Privacy Cultures‘. The presentation itself is based on a paper by Elizabeth Churchill and Shyong K. Lam titled ‘The Social Web: Global Village or Private Cliques?’ The paper is behind a firewall but the presentation gives some more data about the research —

– More than 90% of users younger than 25 post their photos as public. In the 25 to 40 age group, public photo sharing behavior drops, almost in s straight line, to 80% and goes as low as 70% for users in their late 50s and early 60s.

– Public photo sharing behavior follows a S curve when mapped against the number of contacts: it first decreases between 0 to 10 contacts, then increases with the number of contacts to go beyond 90% for more than 30 odd contacts.

– In the world map itself, there are at least five gradations from green to red. It seems that pure red means that about 70% of the users share their photos publicly whereas green means that about 90% of the users share their photos publicly. Since no information is available for the methodology behind the world map, I can only conclude that users in America, Brazil and Russia have a higher tendency to share their photos publicly than users in India, China or Europe.

The conclusion that Indians are more concerned about online privacy than Brazilians and Americans further complicates my research on attitudes towards online privacy in BRIC countries. Another research by Synovate showed that Brazilians and Americans are more concerned about online privacy than Indians, whereas my own understanding is that both Brazilians and Indians are much less concerned about online privacy than Americans.

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Brazil,BRIC,China,Gaurav Mishra,India,Privacy,Russia,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 23 2008

Universal McCann Study: Indians Have the Highest Number of Personal Contact Points Across Communication Channels

by at 9:47 pm

BRIC Social Circles

I had earlier used data from the Wave 3 of the Power of the People Social Media Tracker by Universal McCann to do a comparative analysis of social media usage in BRIC countries.

Now Universal McCann has published some more findings from the same study in another report titled When did we start trusting strangers? How the internet turned us all into influencers. The report is a treasure trove of interesting findings on how digital media is changing how we look at relationships and influence and I’m sure that I’ll return to it often in subsequent posts.

However, in this post, I want to focus on Universal Mccann’s findings on how we stay in touch with our personal contacts —

The evolution of the web as a social platform and primary communication channel has had a dramatic impact on the scale and nature of our friendship networks. Figure 8 shows the global average number of friends and personal acquaintances we maintain via different forms of communication including face to face, digital and letters.

The amazing truth is that the web has massively expanded the size of our social platforms and virtualised a large proportion of our daily contact. Today, although we still maintain an average of 35 friendships face to face, it is rapidly being equalled by email with an average of 32, social networks with 30 and Instant Messenger with 29.

Interestingly these all rank above SMS or phone calls, which shows that PC based internet is for expanding networks, while mobile is for maintaining current ones.

The nature of friendship is changing from voice to text and written word. This is a significant change in the ability to influence and share opinions as it’s much easier to do in text – communication is more frequent and can include additional information like links, videos and photos.

It’s important that we keep four clarifications in mind as we think about these numbers —

– These are the average number of people the respondents stay in touch with regularly in their personal life through each communication channel. These are not the number of people in their phone- or computer-based contact list, which is likely to be much higher.

– There is likely to be a large overlap between the number of people the respondents stays in touch with using different communications channel. So, the sum of these numbers is the number of total contact points and not the number of contacts itself.

– “Staying in touch” can mean different things in different cultures and these numbers do not capture the frequency of use of these communication channels.

– These numbers are based on responses from active internet users in the 16-54 age group, who aren’t representative of the overall population, especially in the BRIC countries who have very low internet penetrations.

While the worldwide figures are interesting in themselves, the country-wise comparisons are even more illuminating.

At the overall level, the Indians are the most social with 292 contact points, followed by the Brazilians at 260 contact points and the Chinese at 234 contact points. The world average is 194 contact points while Americans are rather asocial at 110 contact points.

Face-to-face, the Indians (42 contacts) and the Brazilians (38 contacts) are very social, the Chinese not so (28 contacts) and the Americans even less so (20 contacts).

On social networks, the Brazilians (52 contacts) and the Indians (43 contacts) are also hyper-social, which probably connects with the Brazilian/ Indian obsession with the rather open social network Orkut. The Americans, who are more mindful of online privacy, prefer the more controlled environment of Facebook and stay in touch with only 17 contacts.

Both the Indians (with 36 contacts) and the Chinese (with 32 contacts) like to stay in touch with SMS, while both the Brazilians and the Chinese (with 49 contacts each) extensively use instant messengers to stay in touch with friends.

The Indians, in fact, are truly channel agnostic and heavily use the phone (45 contacts) and letters (24 contacts) to stay in touch with personal contacts.

Finally, the Chinese have truly embraced personal blogs and use it to stay in touch with as many as 26 contacts, almost the same as the 28 face-to-face contacts.

I have always thought of myself as a introvert, but I regularly (that is, at least once a month) stay in touch with a surprisingly large number of friends — 50+ face to face, 50+ by e-mail, at least 100+ by social networks, less than 5 by instant messenger, 20+ by phone, 20+ by test message, 20+ by personal blog and none by letters, totaling to at least 250-300 contact points.

What about you? What is your preferred communication channel? What is the number of your contact points?

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Brazil,BRIC,China,Culture,Gaurav Mishra,India,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 20 2008

Edward Hall’s Context Prism

by at 12:05 am

In search of more prisms that I can examine BRIC countries through (Gaurav blogged about Geert Hofstede, which gave us some interesting data points), I came across Edward Hall’s high- and low- context analysis.

Other sites already cover Hall’s theory pretty well, but basically he differentiated cultures based on an idea that some had high-context communication and others had low-context communication.

Scandinavians, for example, have low-context communications.  You can walk into any conversation with them and their dialogue will contain very direct messages that are self-encapsulated and contain most of the information you would need to make sense of it.

There are codified norms within the society that make the conversation rules-based and less personal.  It comes off as very direct and to the point. Continue Reading »

4 responses so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Ben Turner,BRIC,China,Context,Culture,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Oct 12 2008

Modeling Transparency, Openness, and Privacy

by at 11:22 am

Since I am specifically studying what the internet will look like within the BRIC countries in terms of privacy, openness, and transparency, I thought it would be best to lay out a matrix of those three phases plotted versus five key social spheres, which maybe I could call “accountability arenas”.  Since there’s no good way to insert a matrix here without using SlideShare or an image, I’ll just list the results here:

Privacy

  • Personal: Libertarianism, isolationism, anonymity
  • Sexual: Don’t ask, don’t tell
  • Health: Non-contagion/non-preventative care
  • Financial: Shadow market pools, corruption
  • Political: Weak communities, divided citizens, big money interests, oligarchy

Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Ben Turner,Privacy | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Oct 12 2008

Why is Spam So High in Russia?

by at 3:44 am

Spam in BRIC Countries

Over the last week, reposts of a rather misleading Trend Micro press release on on spam in BRIC countries1 kept showing up in my Google Alert feed for “BRIC + Internet”. The press release and most of the news articles quoting it verbatim focus on the high incidence of spam in BRIC countries. However, even some cursory math showed me that the incidence of spam in BRIC countries is not unusual: BRIC countries account for 28.5% of the world’s internet users and 27.1% of the world’s spam (according to Trend Micro). In fact, two other reports from Sophos2 and Secure Computing3 peg the contribution of BRIC countries to worldwide spam at 19.7% and 18.5% respectively. Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Brazil,BRIC,China,Gaurav Mishra,India,Russia | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 07 2008

Social Technologies and National Contexts

by at 6:20 pm

When you are doing an interdisciplinary study of social technologies across four countries, it is important to focus on the connections between otherwise unrelated factors, and it is useful to develop a framework to look for these connections.

Here’s the framework we have been using for our research on social media in BRIC countries —

The Connection Between Social Technologies and National Contexts

The outer circle is the national context, which comprises of the five interconnected Cs of computing devices, connectivity, culture, content and capabilities. The inner circle is the social media ecosystem itself. Our research, which looks at the connections between the two, has three layers —

Layer 1: The role of the national context in social media adoption
Layer 2: The dynamics of the social media ecosystem
Layer 3: The role of social media in changing the social context

Finally, the national contexts we are looking at are the four BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and United States (as a reference point). Continue Reading »

One response so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Announcements,Gaurav Mishra,Theory | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 07 2008

The Three Laws of Networked Technologies

by at 11:24 am

While reading through chapter 2 of Howard Rheingold’s ‘Smart Mobs’, I started thinking about how the three laws of networked technologies (Sarnoff’s Law, Metcalfe’s Law and Reed’s Law) relate to social media in BRIC countries —

1. Sarnoff’s Law: The value of a broadcast network is proportional to the number of viewers (n).

2. Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system (n2).

3. Reed’s Law: The value of a group forming network (or a social network) increases exponentially, proportional to 2 raised to the power the number of users in the network (2n).

In Sarnaff’s network, the only communication possible is one-to-many. In Metcalfe’s network, the only communication possible is one-to-one. In Reed’s network, all types of communication are possible, including one-to-one, many-to-many and some-to-some, so it’s effectively any-to-any. Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,BRIC,Gaurav Mishra,Theory | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 04 2008

Breakout Years in Adoption of Communications Technologies in BRIC Countries

by at 11:53 pm

Here’s a brilliant TED presentation by Hans Rosling on how to look differently at development indicators across countries and continents, using Gapminder‘s trend visualization tool Trendalyzer —

I spent an hour playing around with Gapmindmer and discovered some interesting trends related to the diffusion of communications technologies in BRIC countries.

In all these charts comparing Brazil, Russia, India, China and United States, the X axis represents the income per person (in fixed PPP$) on a logarithmic scale while the Y axis changes. By pressing the ‘play’ button, you can see how the variable changes for these five countries over years. Continue Reading »

3 responses so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Access,Brazil,BRIC,China,Gaurav Mishra,India,Mobile,Russia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 26 2008

How International Values Shape Communications Technologies Podcast – Episode 1

by at 12:03 am

In the introductory episode of our weekly fellowship podcast, Ben, Pavneet and I explain why our research on social media in BRIC countries is uniquely interdisciplinary, share the personal biases with which we are approaching our research, summarize what we have learned so far, and share our plans for the rest of the year.

The starting point of our research is to understand how differences in culture, access and language in BRIC countries impact the three core values of social media usage — collaboration, community and user generated content — across tools and devices. Pavneet’s focus is on the community and he explores two really important use cases for social media — consumer advocacy and civic engagement. Ben’s focus is on the individual and he explores issues of identity and privacy in the context of social media usage. My role is to pull it all together into a meaningful framework.

So, our research really lies at the intersection of three worlds that (surprisingly) don’t really understand each other — the web 2.0 world, the technology policy world, and the ICT4D world. But, beyond that, it’s really rooted in the tradition of cultural studies and borrows heavily from research related to business, government and development. Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,BRIC,Gaurav Mishra,Podcast,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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