Social secrets of the digital divide

by Arthur Goldstuck (@art2gee) Our society is held back by many digital divides. Those who have computers and those who don’t. Those who have Internet access and those who don’t. Those who create mobile apps in their spare time and those who are over 21.

Seriously, though, the digital divide is real, it’s a drag on the economy, and it exacerbates the gap between the haves and have-nots.

The one digital divide that has been crossed, however, is the gap between those who could afford a communications device called a phone, and those who could not. Today, 80% of South Africans have a phone. That’s the good news. The better news is that, as the average phone becomes more advanced, it becomes a tool to help users cross several other digital divides.

The findings of the South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study, released by World Wide Worx and Fuseware, reveals startling secrets of social South Africa.

The key findings of the research were that, at the end of August, 5.33-million South Africans were using Facebook on the Web, 4,6-million were on WhatsApp ,2,43-million on Twitter, 1,9-million on LinkedIn. A huge 9,35-million were active on Mxit.

Because Facebook does not measure mobile-only usage among those who have registered via their cellphones, however, the full extent of its penetration is significantly understated: primary research by World Wide Worx shows that 6.8-million people were accessing Facebook on their phones in mid-2012.

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