There is an incredibly catchy song that played on all the buses in Samoa in 2014. The song, “Why” by Mampi, was in a language I absolutely could not identify with a few phrases of english thrown in here and there. Someone in Samoa gave me a copy of this song and I listen to it on occasion.
When thinking of internet usage in the developing world, this song came to mind. I began wondering where it came from, and how it got around the country of Samoa. Turns out, Mampi is a Zambian artist. I learned that this evening after a bit of googling.
I really can’t say how this song arrived in Samoa. I do know that Mampi is popular in the South Pacific. She went on tour to Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and France. However, based on a conversation with my host sister, I am pretty sure this song was circulated through Samoa through people sharing it via cell phones and bluetooth. I consider myself somewhat technologically competent and I have no idea how to do that. This is not because I could not learn how, rather it is something I have never needed to do. That is not how music is circulated in the culture I come from. In Samoa, people are familiar with a totally different realm of the internet and have a completely different way of using technology. When arriving in Samoan, Samoan internet and Internet culture were as foreign to me as any other aspect of Samoan culture. The difference, however, is that right here at my computer I have access to the exact same internet as any Samoan. I just don’t know how to get there.
The internet is a vast place and the places you visit on the internet, and the type of technology you use to get there, is culturally determined. It is for this reason that I think the western world will never be able to predict how technology will affect developing nations. I don’t even think the western world can predict how people in developing nations will use technology. This is because while the hardware is the same all over, humans create their own cultures and this includes internet cultures.
So, based on who you are and where you live, you will use one of many different internets.