Myanmar Befriends Social Media

Vol6_021Myanmar, whose heavy censorship on media and strict regulations in the past, resulted in an astonishing low digital literacy rate.

However, after the 2010 elections with the formation of a civilian government, headed by President TheinSein, the censorship on social media platforms and other media channels has gradually loosened which also included initiatives to develop the much needed infrastructure.

Vol6_InlineText04The government plans to provide mobile access to the vast majority of the population by 2015 and with Norways’s Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo to start rolling out 3G networks in Myanmar soon, the digital frenzy can only get hotter.

Some organisations have quickly cottoned onto social media’s potential. Recently, Google chairman Eric Schmidt visited Myanmar’s capital city, to coincide with the launch of the search engine’s new homepage.

News is increasingly broadcast online, catering to the influx of Internet users and ensuring that the new daily newspapers will face stiff competition.

Social media sites such as Google Talk, is the most prevalent platform for communication, with Facebook being preferred as it has incorporated multiple functions such as photo sharing and chats rolled into one.

Reforms so far have sought to realize the growing message of public empowerment. Along with telecommunication progress, mobile banking solutions seem increasingly likely to follow in a country where banking has long existed behind a wall.This seems to just be the start of Myanmar’s technological enlightenment, coming when most of the globe has long been enlightened.