Global digital communication: texting, social networking popular worldwide

29 February 2012

Pew Research Centre's latest survey report discusses the wide array of available social networking outlets and their varied uses in different countries around the world.

Cell phones are owned by overwhelmingly large majorities of people in most major countries around the world, and they are used for much more than just phone calls. In particular, text messaging is a global phenomenon – across the 21 countries surveyed, a median of 75% of cell phone owners say they text.

Texting is widespread in both wealthy nations and the developing world. In fact, it is most common among cell phone owners in two of the poorest nations surveyed: Indonesia and Kenya.

Many also use their mobile phones to take pictures or video. A median of 50% use their cell phones in this way in the 21 countries polled. Fully 72% of Japanese cell phone owners take pictures or video, as do roughly six-in-ten in Mexico (61%), Spain (59%) and Egypt (58%). Fewer users access the internet via cell phone, although more than four-in-ten mobile phone owners use their device to go online in Israel (47%), Japan (47%) and the United States (43%).

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