Slow your chants of “We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1!” and stop waving that foam finger, America. We aren’t number one, at least not so far as the World Wide Web is considered — Sweden is. I know, so disappointing and now it’s totally going to be renamed the Sweden Wide Web except not really because that would be silly. Anyway, a new index from the World Wide Web Foundation has bestowed the No. 1 crown on Sweden, where about 95% of citizen are online.
That country gets the most out of its Internet usage, says the index, while only one in three people around the world are actually using the Web. In Africa, the share of users is even smaller than the global results, notes the Los Angeles Times. The foundation is a nonprofit group that worked to try and rank, sort and otherwise nail down how various countries surf the webbernets. It isn’t only about who is using the Internet where, but rather what different people are getting from it.
“We want to take this issue about whether or not people are a part of the information society and help increase awareness that it’s as important as access to water and vaccinations –- it’s not a secondary issue,” Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee said in the newly released report.
Falling in line behind Sweden (sigh, No. 1) are the United States, Britain, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Norway and Ireland. Something all those nations have in common is money — the average income there is higher there than in say, many many countries in Africa.
That income disparity could be why countries like Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso fall behind. Logging on in Africa costs half the average monthly income in many of the countries surveyed there, while in America it costs only about 5% or less of average monthly income and only 1.7% in Europe.
Money isn’t everything — Qatar was up there on the average income list but ranked lower because its citizens haven’t really used the Web much to effect politics in that country. Government censorship wasn’t taken into account, but the study’s organizers hope to include that in future indices.
Now get back to using the Internet for absolutely everything you do so that we can finally be winners again, America. I miss chanting and waving that foam finger already.
Sweden tops, Yemen last in getting most out of Internet, study says [Los Angeles Times]