Discovering the global digital life
“Discover Digital Life” has published the output of what they claim to be the largest survey of online trends on a global scale. They make for interesting reading.
First of all, the classification – which are you?
The problem with these categories is that no-one ever completely fits any one of them. For example, I doubt if I am a prolific enough mobile user to be considered an Influencer. I don’t consider myself new to the Internet (Aspirers) and I’m a Functionalist either. I have some characteristics of Communicators, Knowledge-seekers, and Networkers even if I don’t meet all their criteria.
Interestingly, males dominate the knowledge-seeking and females dominate the networking category. How does that fit with the stereotypes of males / female behaviour?
As to what people get up to online, the activities seem to make sense.
How highly might you rate yourself on these? I do some of all. The internet seems to be my first port-of-call these days for many things. On the occasional instances where it isn’t….. e.g. turning up at the cinema to see The Social Network to find it booked out….. I wonder why I didn’t book it online beforehand.
Respondents spent an average of 4.6 hours every week being sociable. This is surprisingly low. Even with full time jobs, I reckon that there are plenty folk who spend this amount of time per day. It’s likely that there are many semi-dormant social networking accounts. Internet marketers can take heart from the fact that noticeably more people seem to be “actively looking for brands” when online than those who are actively avoiding brands. Yet, marketers need to be careful about how they put their brand across. Online consumers can and will click away if they feel they are being preached to by branders.
What’s really interesting about the study is the cross country comparisons. They are not all intuitively guessable. For example, the countries having the highest % of people engaging on the net are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the lowest are Denmark and Indonesia. I didn’t expect the Danes to be in that category. Turkey, Thailand and Malaysia score highly on the social networking & connecting category. Turkey is also tops for knowledge & education as well as for online gaming. Vietnam, Hong Kong and South Korea are scoring highly in several categories. Asia seems to be surpassing Europe and America in many of these categories of activity. We clearly need to get our act together in Europe.
It seems that we in Europe don’t see online activities as all that important. For example, 50% of South Africans consider social networking as important while only 24% of Uk respondents feel the same way. The Americans and Europe practically disappear off the world map in terms of the importance of online multimedia / entertainment. Only 1% of UK residents rate multimedia / entertainment as important while 10% of Vietnamese do. The average Malysian has 233 online friends while the average German has 75. While there may be local / cultural differences as to what a friend is, the trend is clear.
We in Europe simply are not as serious about the internet as our Eastern friends. This has serious implications for online business and social life, as well as innovations and developments in these areas. If these trends continue we are likely to slip even further behind – certainly not a good thing.