Measuring the Information Society 2012

In last Thursday’s fascinating CGCS lecture, Digital Innovation for International Development, Martin Hilbert referred to the International Telecommunication Union Report, Measuring the Information Society 2012 which presents two authoritative benchmarking tools to monitor information society developments worldwide. From the report launch:


The first of these is the ICT Development Index, the IDI, which combines 11 different indicators into one single measure to track progress made in ICT access, use and skills.

The IDI measures the level of ICT developments in 155 economies worldwide, presents country rankings, and compares progress made between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011.

The second is the ICT Price Basket, the IPB, which combines fixed-telephone, mobile-cellular and fixed-broadband Internet tariffs for 165 economies into one measure, and ranks countries based on the 2011 tariffs, and in relation to income levels. It also compares tariffs over the four-year period from 2008 to 2011.

The report also features new data and analysis on revenue and investment in the ICT sector.
This 213-page report is required reading for anyone interested in the global information society–especially in terms of equality/disparity issues.  

Social Media Report 2012

Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report is out this month chock full of growth statistics (compare to last year’s report, 2011 Social Media Report, Q3 2011). It will come as no surprise that mobile platforms and app usage are huge drivers in all of this and that trend shows no sign of slowing. The report ranks top social networks with Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and Wikia vaulting up  the list of “regulars” (Facebook, Blogger, Twitter). While there is some demographic data  provided for sex, age and race in the report, it’s spotty–for instance, you can get a real demographic profile of Pinterest but not the same for Tumblr or Twitter. Nielsen only gives us samples of data in these free reports but we’ll take what we can get. The report also tracks simultaneous usage of mobile platforms with television viewing and finally, takes a global view of usage. Definitely worth checking out if you work in this area and the data fact you need is there for you.

From Nielsen Wire:
Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy. Social media continues to grow rapidly, offering global consumers new and meaningful ways to engage with the people, events and brands that matter to them. According to Nielsen and NM Incite’s latest Report, consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites—roughly 20 percent of their total time online via personal computer (PC), and 30 percent of total time online via mobile.  Additionally, total time spent on social media in the U.S. across PCs and mobile devices increased 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012, compared to 88 billion in July 2011. The recent proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media. While the computer remains as the predominant device for social media access, consumers’ time spent with social media on mobile apps and the mobile web has increased 63 percent in 2012, compared to the same period last year.

After Broadband: Imagining Hyperconnected Furtures

I’m reposting this Wharton School Press Release from the end of last month.  The 25-page report is at the link below.

After Broadband” Report Released

Wharton Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics Kevin Werbach, a co-organizer of the After Broadband workshop

Wharton Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics Kevin Werbach, a co-organizer of the After Broadband workshop
Now that broadband Internet access is widely available in the United States, what comes next? What business models and policy initiatives will help move beyond broadband to a hyperconnected world? To tackle these questions, the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Institute for the Future (IFTF) are pleased to announce the release of After Broadband: Imagining Hyperconnected Futuresa report based on a high-level experts workshop earlier this year, at
“Broadband today suffers from a failure of the imagination. We won’t get the networks needed to support tomorrow’s applications until we envision what those applications will be,” said Wharton professor Kevin Werbach, a co-organizer.
The day-long workshop brought together business leaders, researchers, technical experts, entrepreneurs, and futurists at Wharton’s San Francisco campus for a deep dive into eight specific domains: Management, Operations and Analytics; Communications and Collaboration; Education and Learning; Commerce, Identity and Security; Health, Well-Being and Life Management; Creation and Production; Social, Home and Community Life; and Entertainment. Guided by expert IFTF facilitators, the participants developed scenarios and identified six critical challenges that must be addressed.
“IFTF was delighted to collaborate with the Wharton School on this event where experts vigorously debated both the technical and social implications of a broad range of futures such as adaptive software defined networks, fragmented special function Internet Protocol networks, isolated large geographic internets, embedded and mobile swarm networks, linked supercomputing clouds, and the spiraling cyber security arms race,” said Mike Liebhold, co-organizer and IFTF Distinguished Fellow. “We hope this report serves to elevate and support the public discourse on the future of our communications systems.”
The workshop report, written by IFTF Distinguished Fellow Richard Adler and based on the contributions of over 40 leading experts, offers insights on topics including:
• The deployment of gigabit connections
• Mobile broadband and wireless sensor networks
• Big data and the cloud
• The tidal waves of streaming video and social networking
• Changes in user behavior and interfaces
The After Broadband website at includes a downloadable version of the report, materials from the workshop, and video interviews with selected participants. “Broadband is a critical foundation for both business and daily life as we move deeper into the 21st century,” said Werbach. “This report is one of the first to offer an independent, forward-looking perspective on where we’re going and how to get there.”

Journal issue feature: Frontlines

The latest issue of USAID’s Frontlines is their Youth/Mobile Technology edition.  It includes articles on what’s possible with mobile technology in the developing world, texting for conservation, mobile gaming, and m-money or, mobile money.

In Apps for Afghanistan, Kathleen McGowan observes how

“[the] explosion of mobile users has created a network that bridges the country’s formidable urban-rural divide while transcending gaps in physical infrastructure, low literacy rates and pervasive insecurity.The near-ubiquity of mobile phone coverage has allowed Afghanistan to join the vanguard of countries experimenting with innovative new uses for the mobile channel, using the networks to extend services and information cheaply to populations lacking access through other means. Among the most promising is mobile money—the ability to safely store and transfer “e-money” via SMS, avoiding the expense and danger associated with moving cash, while extending the reach of basic financial services from the 5 percent of the population with accounts in brick-and-mortar banks to the 65 percent of Afghans who use mobile phones…

The overwhelming response to an app design competition this year among Afghan university students illustrated just how compelling up-and-coming young Afghans find mobile money—more than 5,000 students across the country submitted ideas, many of which focused on how mobile money on how mobile money could improve the Afghan Government’s ability to provide basic services transparently and efficiently.”

Frontlines is a publication of USAID, a United States foreign assistance program since 1961 that has been principal in extending assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.

Search & Social Media Survey Report

Greenlight, a digital marketing agency based in London, has created some buzz with its Search & Social Media Survey 2011/2012.  You can read the report from the survey at the link below.
From the Foreword:Our annual Search & Social Media Survey 2011/2012, is based on questions we posed to 500 people from all over the world – students, law enforcement professionals, medical staff, accountants, lawyers, the unemployed, and everyone in between. We wanted to hear directly from them about how they engage with online advertising, search engines, and social networks, in the hope that we could gain some insight into how people engage with us as marketers today, and also help us formulate some views on what the future might hold.

For instance, our research found that, of 500 respondents, 5% would ‘definitely’ use a future Facebook search engine if the firm were to launch one to rival Google’s . The other extreme, those categorically saying that they simply would not use a future Facebook search engine, totalled 26% of all respondents. Those responding in the ‘definitely’ and ‘probably’ camps totalled 17%. Those responding ‘no’ and ‘probably not’, totalled 48%.
These stats therefore suggest that Facebook could capture around 22% of the global search market by simply launching its own search engine tomorrow morning (the ‘definitely’, ‘probably’, and half of the ‘don’t know’ respondents combined). It wouldn’t need to be a spectacular engine either, just well integrated into the Facebook experience and generally competent. This 22% market share would make Facebook the second most utilised search engine in every major market except for China, Japan, and Russia, where it would occupy an uncontested third place.
 Direct link to document (PDF; 2.5 MB)

Mapping Twitter Around the World

The Oxford Internet Institute has recently published a study called A Geography of Twitter which examines Twitter traffic around the world.  Not surprisingly the United States is first in Twitter usage, followed by Brazil, Indonesia and the UK. The study’s results are displayed graphically which we’ve come to expect from the Institute (see more of their data visualizations)–though I have to say visual displays carry their own confusions. Is the longer, thinner rectangle of the UK smaller, larger or the same size as the fatter but shorter rectangle of Indonesia? Too close to call to my eye.

Writes the authors of the study, Mark Graham and Monica Stephens:

By mapping the distribution of tweets in the world it becomes apparent that Twitter is allowing for broader participation than is possible in most other platforms and media. In other words, it might be allowing for a ‘democratisation’ of information production and sharing because of its low barriers to entry and adaptability to mobile devices. Similarly barriers to the dissemination of information, such as censorship, are also visible through the small proportion of tweets originating in China (home to the largest population of internet users in the world).

Facebook: A Profile of Friends

A snapshot of Facebook users, Facebook: A Profile of its ‘Friends, is composed of data highlights from  the last few years of research done at the Pew Internet & American Life Project“The project has been surveying people who use social media to explore how they use it and what they get out of it. Highlights from the surveys paint a portrait of what kind of people use sites such as Facebook, who they connect to and how they manage their privacy.” As you read down through the featured points (such as “80% of Facebook user requests are accepted”) you can click on the link to the rest of the report. There appear to be five “feeder” reports to this profile. 

Compete Pro

Interested in website traffic and engagement metrics? Then you will want to truck over to the Lippincott Library for access to Compete Pro. This Kantar Media product provides specific insight into how the top 1 million websites are performing. Simply type in a domain to see two years of site  metrics such as number of unique visitors, paid views, time on site, and visitor demographics. Compete Pro’s key word traffic tool can provide semantic insight into how one stumbles upon a site (and we know a lot of stumbling goes on).  There is also a referral traffic tool to easily track which websites are sending visitors where. While Compete Pro was build for marketers internet and new media researchers have a gold mine of data here for the taking.

Remember, this database is available on-site only at Lippincott.  No appointment necessary.  

Center for Social Media (American University)

There are a lot of places to go to keep up on  fair use practice but American University’s Center for Social Media is one  of the best. However, the Center has a wider purpose:
The site prides itself on being a resource to teachers and media/content makers/creators. One can find and download codes of best practices for Academic and Research Libraries, OpenCourseWare, Media Literacy Education, and Online Video; there’s even a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry. They also have a collection of Fair Use videos (ex. Did These Mashups Use ‘Fair Use’? You Decide!; Fair Use in Documentary Film Discussion Clips; and Remix Culture).

The Center for Social Media showcases and analyzes media for public knowledge and action—media made by, for, and  with publics to address the problems that they share. We pay particular attention to the evolution of documentary film and video in a digital era. With research, public events, and convenings, we explore the fast-changing environment for public media. The Center was founded in 2001 by Patricia Aufderheide, University Professor in the School of Communication at American University.

If you are interested in making media that matters (i.e. propels viewers into action), documentary production and promotion, or media literacy/education in general this is a bookmark-worthy site.