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Social Networks

Why Social Media Networks Continue to Grow in Mexico

How social media sites are used tends to vary from one country to another. Each country has a culture all of its own and sometimes cultural factors make one country use social media more or to less.

Mexico is the fifth most active country on Twitter with over 12 million active users, double the number of active Twitter users in the UK. As for Facebook, Mexico and the UK are about even with an estimated 38 million active users in Mexico and 33 million active users in the UK. Of course Mexico has getting on for twice as big a  population (112 million versus 62 million) but the UK has internet penetration of over 83% while Mexico lags with internet penetration of merely 33% of the population. Of these internet users in the UK only 52% have an active Facebook account which pales in comparison to the 92% of internet users in Mexico that enjoy Facebook.

Mexico also has a growing middle class (39% of the population) which might explain why LinkedIn has had success there recently too. LinkedIn has a growth rate of around 76% in Mexico with just over 2.1 million active LinkedIn accounts.

There are other social media sites in Mexico that have a regular following with Hi5 still accumulating accounts based on its connections with the gaming public in Mexico. Growth for the whole sector of social media networks in Mexico is expected to rise 18% in 2013, according to eMarketer, making Mexico the fourth-fastest-growing country in the world for social networks. These are remarkable numbers given the fact that 66% of all Facebook users in Mexico will visit their account at least once a day. More astonishing is the number of hours they will spend within social networks, which is currently four hours a day.

Video is one aspect that is driving internet usage. Mexico ranks fifth in the world with 81% of all internet users viewing online videos and music videos being watched by 44%. But according to a study by Garritz Online Media, only 22% of Mexicans cite video as the main reason they connected to the internet, well behind email, social media and search. And Mexico prefers short videos and not long videos: a Cisco report found Mexicans have the highest tendency to view short rather than long-form videos of any other country it surveyed.

Even when the cartels began to openly search on social media sites for prominent people to abduct, the people of Mexico continued to use them. Abductions did not deter people for one simple fact. The culture in Mexico revolves around a central meeting point for people. It may be the park or the market but all of life revolves around these gathering points. Social media sites have become a way for people in Mexico to connect with family, friends, merchants and other people in an informal way that is the virtual equivalent to the park or the market. Almost every city or region in Mexico has developed some kind of page on Facebook to buy, sell or trade goods.

But culture alone is not the driving force behind this activity. With a growing middle-class, more availability of mobile handsets and growing internet penetration, Mexico is primed for social networks that will allow the next generation of the population to connect more easily and more often with friends, family and business opportunities.

 

Daniel James Shosky is a public historian and freelance writer residing on the island of Cozumel in Mexico. His writing passions are in historic preservation, social history, travel, technology and the environment.


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Daniel James Shosky

Daniel James Shosky is a public historian and freelance writer residing on the island of Cozumel in Mexico. His writing passions are in historic preservation, social history, travel, technology and the environment.

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