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The Population of the Real World vs. Social Media

When you log on to Twitter or LinkedIn, it feels like you are connected to practically everyone on Earth. But how representative is the social media world of the real population, exactly?
Visual Capitalist creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing. Founded in 2011 in Vancouver, the team at Visual Capitalist believes that art, data, and storytelling can be combined in a manner that makes complex issues and processes more digestible. Covering high-growth opportunities and industries such as technology, mining, and energy, Visual Capitalist reaches millions of investors each year. Visual Capitalist’s infographics have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zero Hedge, Maclean’s, Gizmodo, The Vancouver Sun, and Business Insider.
Visual Capitalist creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing. Founded in 2011 in Vancouver, the team at Visual Capitalist believes that art, data, and storytelling can be combined in a manner that makes complex issues and processes more digestible. Covering high-growth opportunities and industries such as technology, mining, and energy, Visual Capitalist reaches millions of investors each year. Visual Capitalist’s infographics have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zero Hedge, Maclean’s, Gizmodo, The Vancouver Sun, and Business Insider.

This Map Compares the Population of the Real World vs. Social Media

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

When you log on to Twitter or LinkedIn, it feels like you are connected to everyone on Earth.

Whether you want to get a taste of culture from other continents, or you want to stay on top of the latest opportunities and events in far flung places – social media allows you to connect with anyone with similar interests, no matter where they are located.

But how representative is the social media world of the real population, exactly? Today’s infographic from Raconteur breaks it all down.

Quantifying the Social World

There are roughly 2.8 billion social media users in the world – a penetration of about 37%, according to a recent report by Hootsuite.

While there are not many surprises here, things get more interesting as we dive deeper into the data.

Specifically, as we break down Asia-Pacific’s massive population and level of social media penetration, you’ll see that sub-regions have attributes that are quite different.

The regions with plus numbers (i.e. North America, +3%) have a higher proportion of social media users relative to their actual population. The areas with negative numbers (i.e. Africa, -10%) have less people on social media than one would guess from their total population. These latter areas are also where social media will likely encounter the most growth in users in the near future.

The different sub-regions in Asia are particularly interesting to look at. East Asia is the most “over-represented” population in the social media world with a +11% differential. Meanwhile, neighboring South Asia (-15%) and Southeast Asia (+2%) are two regions that don’t have nearly as many people connected through those mediums.