Top Caribbean Countries for Social Media

Following our 2011 internal research into how social media is used in the Caribbean, it remains a growing community when it comes to social media. Our latest review of the region was to look at which countries within the CARICOM region were the most active in social media. Our surprise was that Haiti continues to lead the way as a percent of overall engagement. We reviewed top Caribbean social networks, over 4,000 blogs, 2,500 Twitter accounts and other channels. Haiti kept popping up as a leading country – despite the state of the country in its reconstruction phase and costs of Internet access on a per Mb basis.











Cuba was a surprise for the level of engagement overall, but Cubans rarely if ever discuss political issues unless it is Cuban diaspora. We did not count for diaspora living outside the Caribbean in this study. Behind Haiti comes Trinidad & Tobago followed by Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Our next study will look more at what each of these countries people are doing in social media channels as a follow-up to our previous work. The analysis period ran from January 1st 2012 to March 15th inclusive and total volumes of usage were adjusted for populations. We also assessed costs of Internet access in each of the countries for dial-up, broadband and wireless data networks.

Digital Diplomacy is A New Soft Power Element

Digital Diplomacy…is it worthwhile? What is the impact if any? Why even bother with digital diplomacy? And there are more questions than that as the U.S. and the UK lead the way in digital diplomacy. So what does digital diplomacy even mean? In short, it means a government putting out it’s foreign policy messages via social media channels, looking to engage in dialogue with the target countries. It’s not without some controversy and there are those who suggest it’s just a form of cultural export…

Digital Diplomacy is certainly an aspect of Soft Power, of which one element is cultural exports. Hard Power is the use of force, such as military elements deployed to project force to ensure a foreign power understands the threat and the potential of damage to them from the use of Hard Power. On the other hand, Soft Power is a complex set of tools ranging from embargoes through to exporting ones culture; such as Bollywood movies entering the Western entertainment field and American television being broadcast into European households. Or MacDonalds in many countries.

Digital Diplomacy is a new element of Soft Power. It enables countries that use it well, to reach an audience through social media channels that it might not otherwise reach. By the US State Department and the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) use of the same tools, they have the ability to project their foreign policy views into other countries. It also enables the average citizen of the U.S. or UK to participate in communicating the message of a government through their own choice. A prime example may be the diaspora of a country living in America sharing and discussing US foreign policy issues to people in their homeland.

As a result of this citizen to citizen (C2C) engagement, a foreign government can engage in dialogue and undermine a dictatorship or ensure a greater understanding of their objectives, bypassing the rhetoric of a totalitarian regime such as in Burma or Syria. It can also bolster the support of rebel groups, such as those in Syria, that a foreign country acknowledges their issues and mission.

The Best Part of Digital Diplomacy
Diplomacy is all about ideas, ideologies and views of how the world could be. Most importantly, when properly executed, digital diplomacy can help foster more open dialogue. When we understand each others views, opinions and concerns more clearly, we are less likely to seek conflict as a method of resolution. By the U.S. and UK and increasingly Norway and Sweden, use digital diplomacy by engaging in dialog through Twitter, blogs, Google+, Facebook and other tools, they provide a second viewpoint than that of a particular State.

When such engagements deepen the reach into civil society in a state of conflict or where the leaderships rhetoric is more violent in its intent, dialogue might more easily happen. This is a good thing. As long as people are talking, there is less chance of violent outcomes. Social Media tools enable an opportunity to engage civil societies in more dialogue. That can’t be a bad thing can it?

How Men & Women Deal With Content in Social Media

With the rapid and almost surprising rise of content curation or “social bookmarking 3.0″ site Pinterest, we wanted to take a deeper look into just how men and women curate their digital content. This represented a challenge, as we don’t use surveys to ask these kinds of questions, we passively collect and analyse information and turn it into “intelligence” – you see, it’s intelligence we use to make decisions, not information (as stated by JFK.) The methodology we used is below if you’re interested. Our sample size was 250 men and 250 women; treated as blinds in aggregate, no personal information was collected/analysed.

Women & Content Curation in Social Media
Women are “gatherers” and to some degree “hoarders” of digital content. But while they collect more content online, they are also more organised with their content and tend to share across a broader network. Women also collect more text content than men, such as blog posts. Women discuss societal issues (laws, education and healthcare etc.) about 20% more than men. Men, however, discuss politics 24% more than women. Women “tag” content more than men as well; part of their being better organised on content curation. When it comes to discussing technology such as apps or devices, women will focus on the benefits.

Men & Content Curation in Social Media
Men are haphazard collectors of content. They prefer video and images and rarely tend to share text information. Men don’t collect and organise content as much as women either. There is also a tendency to “one-up” each other in groups by sharing content that would be seen as being “better”, as in funnier or more interesting than the last piece of content shared. Men also tend to share “humorous” content more than any other kind, preferably video format. For men when it comes to discussing technology such as as apps or devices, they will debate the features over the benefits, including price. Men also share less across networks they aren’t as familiar with, whereas women are more open and social in new apps.

As we’ve seen in general trend analysis, the preferred forms of content to be created and shared and also curated it turns out, is video and images. Text is still common, but less of it. We’ve seen the average blog post dwindle from 800 words in 2009 down to less than 300 in 2012. Both men and women prefer video and image. And when it comes to ranting or opinion-making on news sites, we see both men and women almost equally sharing their views. Both men and women tend to curate more content on sites that are easiest to use, such as Pinterest or Storify, perhaps in part explaining their success. We also found that women would recommend an online app or tool 40% more often than men. But men would recommend technology devices more than women by 15%.

Some Conclusions
For apps designers and developers – keep thinking ease of use. For marketers, women remain in Cyburbia as they tend to in the real-world, the best networkers and the ideal target to drive popularity of general consumer apps and products. Women return to and keep content (in social bookmarking sites, social networks etc.) more than men and are far more organised overall.

To do this, we looked the profiles of 250 men and 250 women who had active (engaging in each platform at least three times per week) publicly available profiles in sites such as Pinterest, Gentlemint, Delicious, Google+, Storify, Cowbird and Twitter. We also looked at 50 open Facebook groups where 25 had predominantly male membership and 25 with predominantly female members (over 98%.) We then ensured they were within the age bracket of 30-45 using our methodology for doing this (which is proprietary to us but has a 87% accuracy rate.) We also ensured a cultural distribution across Caucasian, African American/Canadian and Asian ethnic groups. Profiles were random across the United States, UK and Canada. We did not collect any information from profiles that were not publicly available. We do not collect names or locations of test profiles, no such data is retained on our servers at any time. Names may be reviewed as part of gender validation only, but are not kept or stored in any form after analysis and verification. None of the information is re-sold to a third party unless it is in aggregate form.


Posted By: Davis for the team which included almost all of us and a lot of debate and statistical fights in which the CEO often left to get “coffee”….