AddThis set out to draw up a summary of sharing trends on social networks worldwide during 2014. It emerges that differences do exist – and not always where one might have expected.

Social Networks: Sharing Trends Depend on Geography

AddThis, a media web-tracking technology company based in Vienna, Virginia, USA, analysed over 14 million websites in a bid to identify the major trends of 2014. The infographic the company has created shows the latest disparities by geographical area.

Broadly speaking, there are countries which, in terms of social network use, are in decline and others that are booming. China, Romania and Vietnam have all been showing increasing rates of sharing on social media. In Vietnam this is almost certainly largely due to the growing influence of the Ketnooi platform, but the reasons for the boom in the other countries are not very clear. In contrast, Egypt, Pakistan and Japan have seen a considerable downturn in overall sharing of information and ideas on social networks.

The AddThis analysts suggest that the return to greater stability in Egypt following the events which destabilised the country may explain the decline in sharing on social networks, which boomed during the street protests and confrontations.  However, this explanation seems rather paradoxical. Despite the turmoil of the post ‘coup d’état’ repression and ex-president Mubarak’s trial, which provoked strong reactions, especially among students, the social networks seem not to have been tracking those events closely.

Lastly, if we look closely at the happenings around the world which caused the most buzz on the social networks last year, it seems to have been the most serious events that generated the most conversation. Leaving aside all the lolcat pictures and the more frivolous online gossip, global political news attracted the most attention among Internet users worldwide during 2014, reveals AddThis. Ebola was the most discussed topic, ahead of Scottish independence, both way in front of the iPhone 6 announcement. So could it be that social networks now becoming a serious news and information channel, beginning to shed the tag of being only concerned with ephemeral topics and refute the charge of dubious reliability?

By Guillaume Scifo