I’m sure you have heard the statistics used by charities raising money for third world countries saying that if you own a computer, you are in the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world – or something along those lines. FedEx recently released a similar look at the prevalence of what we take for granted in the rest of the world.
This very visual presentation looks at how many newspaper titles, radio stations, and TV stations are attributed to each country, plus the average percentage of people who have access to the mobile web.
Before looking at the map, I expected to see the US heavily emphasized, with South America, Africa, and most Asian countries years behind. However, the US is severely lagging behind the majority of countries, and only 39 out of every 100 people have access to the mobile web.
Living in Boston, which is the 5th most “wired” city, this is hard to believe because we are surrounded by growth and development. In fact, according to The Boston Indicators Project, 61% of adults in Metro Boston have in-home access to broadband internet – the second-highest penetration of broadband in the US behind San Francisco and well above the US average of 49%. In this context, Boston’s residents seem to be extremely connected. But even if Boston leads the pack in internet connection, the US is still far behind countries such as Japan, which has a whopping 83.5 out of every 100 people able to access the internet.
It is interesting to consider the implications of this skewed perception. Namely, even though we assume that the entire world is on the Internet and human contact will be a foreign concept by 2050, less than half the US has access to the mobile web, making such a phenomenon impossible.
So keep writing hand written letters and don’t feel obligated to Skype rather than visit – the internet hasn’t taken over yet.