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Using Facebook pages to measure Dakar’s Internet participation

February 27, 2013  »  Statistics & WebNo Comment

A new website aims to monitor how social media is contributing to African development.  Médias sociaux pour le développement, also known as Mesodev, is founded on the observation that although social media is very useful for development, little information on its use is available from a development perspective.

Mesodev (written in French) hopes to:

  • provide information, existing or new, the possible use of social media for development, including information for better use
  • form information sharing partnerships with both the private sector and the development sector

Two months after launch, Mesodev still lacks substantial content, but we are drawn to two posts in particular.

One is a nifty project that aims to determine Internet participation in each neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal. Not surprisingly, each part of Dakar has its own Facebook page. A color-coded Google map shows how many people liked each page as of December 27, 2012. Popular areas include Rufisque (4,000+ people) and Guediawaye (3,200+).


Afficher View Facebook: Geography Dakar on a larger map

The other nugget is a deep-dive into a report of global political leaders on Twitter. Mesodev points out flaws of the report and adds that only 21 of the 37 African countries mentioned in the report (39%) have an active Twitter account for at least the president, primer minister, of the government.

Translated into English, the insight is right up our alley: “Apart from Algeria, Gabon, Mauritius and Cape Verde that we thought would be present on Twitter, [accounts] are often absent in fragile countries (Central African Republic, Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea) and/or [those with] questionable freedom of expression, particularly in regard to social networks (Congo, Lesotho, Swaziland…).”

The Mesodev project has big plans and, given success, hopes to expand to other regions like Latin America. Follow @Mesodev for the latest insight.

P.S. We’ve created a Twitter list that aggregates all African head of state accounts. Quite a few are active and may even follow you back!

P.P.S. For even more great Internet analysis from Senegal, have a look at Dossier: Démocratiser l’internet au Sénégal.