social media

By 2017,the Asia-Pacific region will have three billion mobile connections. This kind of critical mass is turning digitally native emerging market companies into global powerhouses. China’s Alibaba has one of the biggest valuations in the world, and India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm is launching the largest 4G network in the world.

As online access, digital media consumption and online transactions explode, the opportunities for media and entertainment (M&E) companies seem irresistible. However, the reality is far more complex. Despite the significant potential, M&E companies need to go into emerging markets with their eyes wide open. Read more

How isolated is Venezuela’s government from the people it supposedly represents? Very isolated indeed, according to a study commissioned by beyondbrics from Marco Ruediger and colleages at FGV DAPP, the department of public policy analysis at the Fundação Getulio Vergas in Rio de Janeiro.

The study, derived from activity on Twitter, demonstrates the extreme polarisation of opinion in the country and suggests that Venezuela’s media, often either controlled or suppressed by the government, is increasingly lining up with opposition voices.

Source: FGV DAPP

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Back in November, we wrote about an analysis of tweets in Brazil that illustrated the extreme polarisation of the country’s voters on the eve of the presidential election on October 26. A striking image (seen in miniature on the left) generated by Marco Aurélio Ruediger and colleagues at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, an educational institution in Rio de Janeiro, showed voters on each side of the two-way race talking exclusively among themselves and almost never to each other.

Three more snapshots produced by Ruediger and his team since the election suggest a big change has happened in the debate taking place on social media – but that supporters and opponents of the government remain as polarised as ever. Read more

With the end of Brazil’s elections approaching on October 26, the country’s smartphones are humming. Almost every group on WhatsApp, or ZapZap as Brazilians call it, has something to share about the second-round presidential candidates, incumbent Dilma Rousseff of the leftist PT and opposition rival Aécio Neves of the centrist PSDB. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been flooded with election-related videos and memes. Read more

Facebook’s user base in India surpassed 100m earlier this year, making it the second largest market for the social network after the US, and industry analysts predict India will take the top spot later this year.

In a recent report, however, star internet analyst Mary Meeker identifies one snag for any social media platform seeking growth outside mature markets: the countries where the internet user base is expanding quickest are now the markets where monetisation will be most difficult. Read more

Facebook leaves Twitter in the dust as the most popular social network; smartphones are fast becoming an essential item; and tablets are just as popular. But real life still rules.

That’s what Tata Consultancy Services, an IT services and consulting group, found out about the urban youth of India after some far-reaching research. Read more

India ElectionsSelfies can be brilliant or embarrassing – only rarely are they unlawful.

When Narendra Modi, the favourite to lead India’s next government, cast his own vote this week he took a photograph of himself, his inked nail and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) lotus symbol inside the polling station and tweeted it. Once outside, he made a speech to the waiting crowds. Those seemingly insignificant acts have landed the would-be prime minister – and the press – in a blaze of controversy. Read more

The opinion polls say the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gaining support. The bookies agree. And now the social media gurus are chiming in too.

The latest monthly report from Simplify360, the Texas-based social business intelligence company, shows the opposition party dominating the online debate. Read more

We have heard all about India’s political parties turning to social media to campaign. But given limited internet penetration, wouldn’t telephone be a better way to connect with the masses?

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), widely recognised as leading the pack on technology as well as opinion polls, seems to think so. They have launched an interactive phone line that allows people to “speak” to prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, on a handset. Read more

Slowly but surely Mumbai’s billboards are being filled with large, stern faces that gaze down ominously at passersby.

One picture of Rahul Gandhi, undeclared candidate for the incumbent Congress party, is emblazoned with the words: “Mein nahi, hum” (Not me, us). Even away from the streets in the confines of your sitting room, turn on the television and you might chance upon an advert by Tata Tea which encourages women to vote, making a symbol out of the black spot that will mark the forefinger of every voter in just a few weeks. Read more

India ElectionsSome 3.6m internet users got an unexpected surprise to mark the Indian festival of Holi yesterday: a personalised Twitter message from aspirant Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The move was a neat gimmick, and part of a wider pattern in which Modi’s opposition BJP, in particular, have been making innovative use of social media as India’s poll battle plays out. Read more

Last week, beyondbrics wrote about the use of social media in campaigning for this year’s Indian elections. Online networks have become an important route to young and urban voters and a useful source of information on the public debate.

But while politics may only just have caught on, India Inc has been using social media to manage communications for some time. Read more

From Google Hangouts with overseas citizens to online political debates organised by Facebook, Indian politicians have turned to social media to woo voters ahead of this year’s general election.

Political parties generally look to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns for ideas about online electioneering. But is that a sensible model? Or could innovative, local strategies be more effective in the world’s largest democracy? Read more

As Twitter’s IPO cranks into action, there is one big question that is puzzling beyondbrics and many others: where are the non-US users based?

In its SEC filing, Twitter admitted that “users outside the US constituted 77 per cent of our average MAUs [monthly active users] in the three months ended June 30, 2013″. Just who are the 77 per cent? Read more

Saudi Arabia’s clampdown on instant-messaging and free call companies from Skype to WhatsApp and Viber has riled the very people it needs on side right now: young people.

In the Gulf kingdom, where men and women who are not related are forbidden from fraternising in public, instant messaging and the ability to call for free – outside the purview of parental bill payers – is an outlet many have become used to. No wonder restricting the services is going down badly. Read more

We Brazilians are a peaceful lot – too much, so some might say. While we are proud of our pacific ways and they are widely praised abroad, some level of activism and willingness to protest is needed to “keep the bastards honest”, as the saying goes. Now, after years of silent compliance, it seems there’s a generation ready to take to the streets again with the rise of the student bus fare protest movement in São Paulo and other cities in recent weeks. Read more

By John Paul Rathbone and Jude Webber

It took three years, two months and one day for the billionth tweet to be fired off after Twitter began operations in 2009. Now 400m tweets are sent every day, and the figure is rising. But how to monetise that growth? Step forward Latin America, the first big region in the world targeted by Twitter when it decided to roll out its advertising platform last year. Read more

Indian companies are – finally – learning the value of social media.

In the past few years, businesses in the country have begun using social media as a central, planned part of their marketing strategy with proactive efforts and an allocated budget, a new report by Ernst and Young has found. Read more

Given that South Korea has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, one would expect its leading companies to treat the subject with the utmost sensitivity. So it is surprising to see a recent promotional video for Hyundai Motor using it as the basis for a comic skit.

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India is the land of wisen business leaders and octogenarian politicians. But it is also a country with more than 70m users of social media; a nation buzzing with youngsters active on the net.

Can India’s leaders keep up with the kids? Read more