A social media boom begins in Africa

Check out these téléphone mobile images:

A social media boom begins in Africa
téléphone mobile
Image by Africa Renewal
More and more Africans are using mobile technologies to access social media tools on the Internet. Photograph: UN Photo / P Mugabane

Using mobile phones, Africans join the global conversation

In the mid-1990s, as the use of mobile phones started its rapid spread in much of the developed world, few thought of Africa as a potential market. Now, with more than 400 million subscribers, its market is larger than North America’s. Africa took the lead in the global shift from fixed to mobile telephones, notes a report by the UN International Telecommunications Union. Rarely has anyone adopted mobile phones faster and with greater innovation.

A similar story now seems again to be unfolding. Africans are coupling their already extensive use of cell phones with a more recent and massive interest in social media — Internet-based tools and platforms that allow people to interact with each other much more than in the past. In the process, Africans are leading what may be the next global trend: a major shift to mobile Internet use, with social media as its main drivers. According to Mary Meeker, an influential Internet analyst, mobile Internet and social media are the fastest-growing areas of the technology industry worldwide, and she predicts that mobile Internet use will soon overtake fixed Internet use.

A social media boom begins in Africa

téléphone mobile
Image by johnwilliamsphd
Telephone pole, NW DC.

O2 Mobile Base Station
téléphone mobile
Image by tj.blackwell
A foreboding barbed wire fence at the base of one of the O2 phone network’s transmission towers. Their website claims that their base stations "are designed to blend in with surrounding landscapes to prevent the public from access to the transmission antennas and to ensure there can be no inadvertent exposure to any radio waves." Thanks for the reassurance, O2!

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