What truly is Internet usage?
Google Uganda recently held a dialogue with the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) to discuss the state of internet access and broadband in Uganda.
At the event, Google Access Field Development Director Kai Wulff recently brought up an interesting point when he questioned the quality of Internet usage statistics. He asked whether simple access of content for entertainment purposes equates to true Internet usage:
If someone uses their phone to view football results, I find it hard to call this internet usage” – Kai Wulff
The above quote reflects a tough stance on Internet habits. Mr. Wulff is looking for a higher level of African engagement with the Internet. That is, purer knowledge exchange for educational, cultural, or business purposes. Don’t forget, a large share of Africans use the Internet for social networking and little more. By Mr. Wulff’s standards, the millions of Africans in this bucket are not true Internet users.
Although anyone who accesses the Internet is technically an Internet user, Mr. Wulff has a point – Internet usage observations are inflated. Ideally, there should be multiple tiers of Internet usage recorded in official numbers. Still, we’re lucky to find any Internet behavior data at all, let alone granular findings.
Agree or disagree, one takeaway cannot be disputed: think about what you love on the Internet and consider building an app around that theme. African innovation cannot thrive unless more great minds come together. And, that cannot happen if everyone is using the Internet for entertainment. Just don’t expect the entire African population to become advanced content creators.