Tag Archives: mxit

Does the Internet impair our ability to concentrate?

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ARGUMENT: The Internet impairs our ability to contemplate and concentrate for long, sustained periods of time

AN ex-colleague of mine (Ryan Calder) started an interesting debate about the Internet on Facebook. He was asking whether or not people thought that the Internet (and cyber culture in general) impairs our ability to concentrate. Some of the comments were quite interesting.

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Social networking in South Africa

WEB SURVEY: MWEB’s Friendship 2.0 survey revealed social networking as the new way to “talk over the garden fence”

ON average, adult social networkers in South Africa are in their 30’s, employed full-time, and describe themselves as sociable and outgoing. This is according to findings in new research commissioned by MWEB. The Friendship 2.0 survey was conducted towards the end of last year among local web users aged 16 years and older, busting the myth that social networking is only done by youngsters. It demonstrates how social networking has gone mainstream.

Facebook remains the dominant social networking platform with a massive 82% using the service. Behind Facebook comes YouTube (32%), then MXit (29%) and Twitter 28%. The majority of people are using these services to communicate real life activities such as sharing personal news, gossiping and making arrangements to meet socially.

Social networking is changing the format of personal networks dramatically. Many people are now making friends and meeting potential partners online. The impact of social networking is also expanding personal networks with the average user claiming to have around 158 friends they regularly interact with.

“Social networks have really become the garden fence of the 21st century, and are used for very much the same purposes as community meeting places. We are at the end of the early adoption phase, which was dominated by young people, and social networking is now a mainstream activity enjoyed and used by all age groups, particularly those in their thirties.” – Carolyn Holgate, General Manager of MWEB Connect

Users in South Africa
The survey revealed that the average age of Facebook users in South Africa is 33; MySpace is 32; Twitter and YouTube come in at 31; and the youngest in the survey is MXit with an average age of 27. These findings dispel perceptions that social networking is for teenagers only.

Multiple presences
Many online South Africans are also taking up multiple presences using a combination of Facebook, Twitter and MXit accounts. To facilitate integration between these multiple platforms, these users link their various accounts to each other enabling visitors to their Facebook pages to view their Twitter updates and click through to their MySpace profile.

On certain social platforms it’s more a matter of viewing than doing. For example, 75% of MySpace users are only ‘viewers’, moving from one profile to the next. Similarly, 72% of Twitter users are ‘lurkers’, reading what others post. This may be because Twitter is still relatively ‘new’ and users do not have the option of accepting people who would like to follow them. Users could also be more concerned about what their followers may think of their comments.

Facebook and LinkedIn are the most balanced, with 60% of their users classed as “viewers”, who just view other people’s pages, and 40% actively posting their own information regularly.

Facebook Chat
The addition of Facebook’s chat facility/instant messenger tool has seen 56% of South African Facebook users ‘chatting’ to their friends on the site. “When we looked at who they are chatting to, friends and family were tops. Clients, partners and suppliers were the lowest, possibly because most Facebook users prefer not to befriend people they deal with professionally.”

Internet connectivity
The way South African’s are accessing the Internet revealed that ADSL is the connection of choice. “Some 48% of the participants are connecting via ADSL, followed very closely by 3G/HSDPA at 42%, and 35% via their cell phones using 3G,” added Holgate.

Online personality types
The survey results categorised respondents into five different online personality types. These personality types, vary from those who are reluctant to use the Internet and do not have an understanding of what can be done online, through to users who are comfortable using the Internet and indulge in potentially “edgy” behaviour, such as using a pseudonym online or using the Internet to find out what a past partner is doing.

Additional interesting findings include:

  • The research revealed that 74% of South Africans going online do so specifically to visit social networking platforms.
  • 16% of Facebook users in the survey are on Facebook all day, an additional 58% visit the site once a day or more. This means 74% are accessing Facebook at least once a day.
  • The computer desktop remains the most popular way to access Facebook (55%), but 35% are using a combination of their cellphone and computer.
  • 62% of Facebook users are updating their status, and 61% are uploading videos or photographs, and searching for someone on the site.
  • 16% of participants are using social platforms to promote their business.
  • 94% of the participants are using the Internet to access their email followed by 81% using the Internet for work related activities.
  • Social networking (74%) rated six on the list of online activities after reading the news (76%), searching for information (76%) and online banking (75%).
  • 50% of Facebook users classified themselves as English, 58% are male and 25% have parents on the social platforms.
  • 25% of the survey participants have met more friends online than they have in real life.
  • 24% have gone on a face-to-face date with someone they have met online.
  • 36% have used a pseudonym online.
  • 36% have used the Internet to find out what a past partner is doing.
  • 37% believe they spend too much time online and need to cut back.
  • 49% feel vulnerable to abuse by sharing their personal details online.
  • And 21% have experienced a breach of their privacy on the Internet.

TNS Research Surveys conducted the survey with a selection of participants of varying demographics to identify which social networking platforms are popular among South Africans and to probe what they are doing on the various sites. 401 people from TNS Research Surveys’ online panel were interviewed. All respondents were aged 16 years or older and the data is representative of the South African online population in terms of age, race and gender. The data was weighted to bring age/race/gender into line with AMPS figures.

For more information about this survey, indicative profiles of the five online personality types identified during this survey, and to see how you compare to the average South African using social networking platforms, visit: http://www.mweb.co.za/services/friendship/

– issued on behalf of MWEB

Related post: Web addiciton 2.0

Small acts. Many people. Big change

MXit has put its innovative technology to work to help raise HIV/AIDS awareness this World AIDS Day. If you have been living in a cave or under a rock, this day is today.

The company has teamed up with SANAC (South African National AIDS Council) to launch an innovative campaign that will simultaneously raise HIV/AIDS awareness amongst a key target group – the youth of South Africa – and raise money for future projects.

MXit has a subscriber base of 10 million, mostly made up of 16-25 year old South Africans, who thus represent a huge segment of the population.

CEO and founder, Herman Heunis, says that the MXit platform can be a positive force in South Africa today and that this campaign is an example.

“The MXit brand stands for the evolution of technology and communication and we constantly try to push the envelope with what is possible using this platform. MXit is more than just games and chat – we support an entire lifestyle – and see ourselves very much in this role” – Herman Heunis

The initiative, which kicked off on Friday, works in the same way as conventional advertising campaigns on MXit. Users are invited to download special World AIDS Day ‘skinz’ (artwork/photos with which users can customise their MXit interface) onto their mobile handsets at a cost of R1 (100 moola) per download. This is around half the usual price of a skin download. All the profits will go to SANAC.

Mike Carter, Account Manager at MXit, said Metropolis (SANAC’s media agency), had booked 5 million splash ad impressions – which are viewed when a user launches MXit – to ensure the call to action is loud and clear.

“MXit is the largest youth portal in the country and with it we can get this message out to a crucial segment of the population. Given the massive mobile penetration rates here in SA, it makes sense to use the cellphone medium for mass communication for this campaign” – Mike Carter

MXit has also been sending a broadcast message to its entire active database since Sunday to supplement the 5 million splash ads.

As a further incentive to get involved, users who download the World AIDS Day skinz stand a chance of winning one of two Nokia 6210 Navigator phones, which were donated by Nokia SA.

Mark Heywood, SANAC Deputy Chairperson, said that the organisation has planned an historic and unprecedented campaign for World AIDS Day 2008 and that the MXit initiative formed a crucial part of their strategy.

“Our mission this year is a massive one – we want to get every person in South Africa to think about HIV in relation to themselves and their communities this World AIDS Day and are using the MXit medium as well as radio, newspapers and civil society bodies like churches and trade unions to do this” – Mark Heywood

In addition to the one minute of silence planned for noon today, SANAC have also initiated 15 minutes of national dialogue, in which they hope work-places will stop and encourage discussion around the HIV/AIDS challenge.

“The campaign slogan developed by the Jupiter Drawing Room and Metropolitan Republic is “Small acts. Many people. Big change. We shall overcome.” The belief is that this encapsulates the immense power that rests with the technology-enabled social networks of today.

Can we trust that we can make a difference? To add the inspirational Barack Obama slogan: “Yes we can!”

•SANAC is a body made up of 18 different civil society sectors, including religious bodies, trade unions and government, amongst others, and aims to be the leading force in the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS.