A digital anthropologist examines the online lives of millions of people in China, India, Brazil, and across the Middle East—home to most of the world’s internet users—and discovers that what they are doing is not what we imagine.
In The Next Billion Users, Payal Arora reveals habits of use bound to intrigue everyone seeking to reach the next billion internet users.
Read on to find out the 8 myths that get busted in this book:
Myth 1: Leisure is the prerogative of the elite and the poor don’t use the internet for frivolous purposes
There is a belief that digital life for the poor would be based in work and inherently utilitarian but that is not the case.
“When it becomes clear that leisure pursuits are what motivate people at the margins to embrace new media tools, will development agencies and grant organizations lose their own motivation to provide universal internet access…”
Myth 2: Old mass media has become redundant
“Because newspapers are unavailable in many villages in Namibia’s Ohagwena Region, mobile users circulate clips of newspaper articles on WhatsApp…Old technology seems to reinvent itself, offering new channels of expression and communication.”
Myth 3: Girls use mobile phones more than boys
“It was found that the girls used mobile phones far less often than the boys did. When asked why, the girls explained that their brothers monopolized the mobile phone. Also, as girls, and unlike their brothers, they had to do housework and had far less uninterrupted leisure time…”
Myth 4: Technology helps create a balance between labour and leisure. It liberates people from work
“…new technologies have had an adverse effect on leisure time, as people tend to be in a constant state of busyness with their mobile devices…White-collar workers can be trapped in a 24/7 world of labour if they are unable to switch off their digital devices.”
Myth 5: People don’t friend strangers due to privacy and safety issues
“ Teens who have grown up in a slum surrounded by their family, relatives, and neighbours, in highly constrained settings, are attracted to befriending people from another city or ,better yet, anyone who is foreign, not only because it widens their horizons but because it can enhance their social status among their friends.”
Myth 6: Text-only mobile versions are popular in households with low income and connectivity
“ Clearly, young people, regardless of their income or the region they live in, place high value on visual images…They are confidence builders, and they work particularly well for the vast number of semiliterate youth- enabling them to comfortably participate in this online world by sharing posts and expressing themselves in spite of their limited literacy. This is a key reason Facebook Zero, the text-only mobile version of Facebook…struggled to gain traction in low-income communities.”
Myth 7: Piracy is a problem that can be solved if people who pirate are punished
“…piracy is not a problem, not a crime, but instead a problem of pricing: what has made piracy ubiquitous is, quite simply, the media industry’s refusal to lower prices and its continuous neglect of the billions of low-income consumers in countries of the Global South, who simply want to be able to experience the pleasures provided by entertainment media that are so easily accessible for wealthier people.”
Myth 8: Corporates hate piracy
“The only way to find out what gets the attention of media consumers in this saturated content era is to watch piracy sites, because these are the favoured sites of the majority of the world’s consumers and reflect the great diversity in consumers’ tastes. If certain television shows, for example, are…downloaded by users from Mali to Mumbai, then producers cab more confidently invest in the global scaling of those media shows.”
The Next Billion Users is bound to intrigue everyone from casual internet users to developers of global digital platforms. AVAILABLE NOW!