Internet usage

Internet usage

Who has the most internet users in the world? According to the Internet world stats page it is Asia, with a whopping 1 billion plus users. Now I bet you thought that North America, (Canada and the US) might be close to the top. Not even close. North America has approximately 274 million users. That makes this region 3rd among seven regions tracked. So who is second? Well I was surprised that Europe with almost 519 million users is the second most internet user region tracked.

Ahh but you say who has the biggest percent of population of users? I am glad you asked. It turns out North American shines here with 78.6% of the population using the internet. Oceana and Australia comes in second with 67.6% of the population using the internet. Europe is third with 63.2% of the population using the internet. Using this admittedly a bit bias scale which region is in last place? Well Africa with a mere a mere 15.6% of the population using internet is last, but guess which is second last? It is Asia, with 27.5% of the population using the internet.

These numbers all come from the following page. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm and I have to say it is very fun to mess around and drill into this part of the database or that. I did it for my dissertation and if you look there is some almost unreal imbalances around the Globe.

So what does all this say and why would I bring it up on this site? First, it represents a basic truth that most companies already know. Asia (Including China) is a market beyond any market we have ever seen in the history of the world. It will be bigger, grow faster, and out run all of its next competitors in every category. We Americans like to think that last century was the century of America. If that is true and some historians will disagree, we likely have to call this century the century of China provided of course it does not have a political collapse where parts become embroiled in wars of independence. There is no indication that will occur at this point and even if it does the Asian Region will grow like no other.

Second it says that Chinese is likely the language of this century. In 2000 about 39% of the world’s internet content was English. In 2011 that number was 27%. In 2000 about 9% of the internet content was in Chinese. In 2011 Chinese language content was 24%. If the statics were done today Chinese content would likely surpass English this at a time when total content is booming worldwide. The source of this language information is also a biased, this time in favor of China but it can be found here http://www.techinasia.com/dominant-languages-on-internet-english-chinese/ So what does this mean for consumers? To being with English products and services, including medical devices will likely face language changes. For instance it says that Chinese may be the first language we see in our instruction books. But on a more important level, it likely means we who speak English will someday have to get use to speaking a hybrid of Chinese and English. Just as my friends Linda and Shoshana (both TUDiabetes Members and contributors), who speak French have learned two languages English and French.

Finally it speaks of where sites like TUDiabetes will have to go in order to remain relative. The future of this site and frankly all sites is Chinese. I once thought naively it would be Spanish. Yes Spanish will be important. But it is not a growing internet language. Largely because Spanish language dominate nations do not yet have tremendously growing internet usage. That will change of course. But that change will mean English will be even less important.

This brings me to the issue of support for TUDiabetes. If any of us have thought for one second that TUDiabetes could stay the same and not change these statistics should do in that notion. We, those of us who love this site, have a difficult path ahead if we wish it to not be marginalized. We have difficult choices, are we ready to ride the wave up, or will be swamped by the growing Chinese presence of web content.

Traditionally TUdiabetes has a Fall appeal for funds. I received a note about it over the weekend and we will all be hearing more about it in the future. That appeal is important. Yes we must keep the lights on the servers working and the content flowing. Without your help we cannot do that. But just as important is that over time we have to think about a future that is bigger than what you participate in today. Please consider donating, protect today, but also give to the future. This web site needs your help to remain relevant.

Please give when asked.

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Rick

Thanks for the shout out Rick. Yes, if people are able we hope they will consider donating to the Diabetes Hands Foundation, home to TuDiabetes and other programs for people touched by diabetes.