Report Suggests Social Nets Most Prevalent in Asia

Dennis Faas's picture

A new study shows that Americans are less likely to engage in online social networking than many of their global counterparts.

According to the findings, Asia is fast becoming the place where people are most likely to go online to share digital thoughts and photographs with friends and family.

The research was performed by analyst firm TNS, which found that central and southeast Asia is a hotspot for social networking activity. In Thailand, approximately 92 per cent of Internet-connected residents have uploaded photographs to photo-sharing web sites. In nearby Malaysia, the number is 88 per cent, and it's 87 per cent in Vietnam.

Surprisingly, Japan appears to be an exception to the rule in this region. TNS found that only one in three online users in that country had uploaded photos.

Blogging Most Popular in the Pacific

Blogging is also very popular across the Pacific. An incredible 80 per cent of Chinese Internet users have reportedly participated in blogging -- that's compared to just 32 percent (or less than one in three online users) -- in the United States. Also blogging furiously are Brazilians, where more than half of Internet users have recorded their own blogs. (Source:

TNS' study also investigated the investment paid to social networking by studying the number of "friends" the average user counted. The highest count goes to Malaysia, where users of sites similar to Facebook had an estimated 233 friends each. In Brazil, the number was 231, while the Japanese proved the least social when it came to sites like this: there, users boasted a paltry 29 online pals.

And while Chinese users can't help but share their thoughts online via blogging, they're not particularly popular on Facebook-inspired sites either, racking up an average of just 68 online friends.

Developing Countries Affected Differently by Digital Age

TNS researchers think developing countries may be embracing online communities more than their Western counterparts, perhaps because this technology is newer to residents of China or Brazil.

"The Internet is a huge part of life in the 21st century, but how it affects our lives varies depending upon where in the world you live," noted TNS Chief Development Officer Matthew Froggatt. (Source:

"We've seen that in mature markets where people have been online for years and where access is ubiquitous, the Internet has already become a commoditized item that consumers take for granted. However, in rapid-growth markets that have seen recent, sustained investment in infrastructure, users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways."

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