Internet and social media daily use in Mexico City

While I was wondering how frequently people use the internet and social media, I found that the Pew Center released this survey report about social media users in the US, interviewing around 1,800 citizens in November of 2012. The Pew analyzes some users’ demographics among different sites/platforms, such as facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, and tumblr (http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Social-media-users/Social-Networking-Site-Users/Demo-portrait.aspx).

In the Mexican case, there are recent survey reports regarding social media users during the 2012 presidential elections, such as this survey report issued in February of 2012 by Alejandro Moreno, Head of the Department of Public Opinion Research at Reforma newspaper (subscription required: http://busquedas.gruporeforma.com/reforma/Documentos/DocumentoImpresa.aspx?ValoresForma=1356245-1066,Elecciones%202012%20Redes%20sociales%20%20Impacto%20electoral%20limitado%20&_ec_=1), in which from a nationally representative survey conducted in November of 2011 (face to face interviews), 4 percent reported they were following political campaign through social media, whereas 3 percent actively supported their candidates. It is noteworthy to remark that the presidential campaigns officially began in March 30th. Thus, people started to report social media use for political purposes four months before. Interestingly, 23 percent reported being open to follow the 2012 electoral season through social media, whereas 20 percent showed their willingness to support their preferred candidates using the social networks.

How frequently people use the internet and social media is a question that has been answered using different metrics and approaches. I found this survey report by the AMIPCI in September of 2011 (http://www.slideshare.net/AMIPCI/1-estudio-sobre-redes-sociales-en-mxico), and this survey report by Consulta released in December of 2011 (http://consulta.mx/web/images/MexicoOpina/2012/20111231_NA_Perfil_twitter_facebook.pdf) in which there are some facebook and twitter demographic profiles. Along the same lines, the 2010 National Surveys of the Youth (Encuesta Nacional de la Juventud conducted by the INEGI) reported a great deal of social media consumption, as shown in this brief presentation (http://www.imjuventud.gob.mx/imgs/uploads/Encuesta_Nacional_de_Juventud_2010_-_Resultados_Generales_18nov11.pdf). Interestingly, the Encuesta Nacional de la Juventud has been conducted since 2000. [Although there are additional and valuable survey reports, I just wanted to offer some examples. In new posts, I will add more survey material.]

Recently, I found one more survey report, this issued by Varela and Asociados in November of 2013, among 600 citizens in Mexico City (DF), administering face to face interviews, in which I believe is possible to “replicate” to some extent, the 2012 Pew Forum exercise, particularly the demographic breakdown. In this survey report, page 47 shows how frequently Mexico City citizens use internet, email and social media (http://www.varelayasociados.com.mx/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DFprimera_201311.pdf)

Thus, I kindly asked for the specific variables I needed, and gently Varela and Asociados (http://www.varelayasociados.com.mx/) gave me the basic row data to “create” the following cross tabs. Before to discuss the tables, it is noteworthy to remark that arguably, Mexico City has experienced an increasing development regarding internet and social media users when compared to other Mexican cities, thus one should cautiously interpret this information, always acknowledging advantages and potential challenges when analyzing surveys only conducted in Mexico City, a sample size of 600 face-to-face interviews, +-4% of error, and 95% of confidence.

Although my initial question was related to how frequently people use the internet, and social media, in this post I only analyze those who report a daily access to the internet, emails, and social media. Considering the whole sample, 29 percent of Mexico City citizens use the internet every day; 22 percent use email on daily basis; 20 percent report daily access to their facebook profiles; 15 percent daily watch youtube; and 8 percent report daily access to their twitter accounts. The aforementioned percentages were calculated using the whole sample.

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In general, demographic breakdowns reveal that men rather than women are more interconnected across platforms.  Not surprisingly, younger citizens are highly engaged, whereas senior citizens are placed at the bottom of the daily consumption. Education is also another important factor to take into account. Those who hold primary education are much less engaged with the internet and social media when compared to those who attend to college, as seen in the students’ movement #yosoy132 during the 2012 presidential campaign, a highly interconnected group.

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Finally, as expected, income seems to play an influential role in daily access to the internet, emails, and social media. The results however exceeded any expectation. The difference between those who earn less than one minimum wage (monthly), and those who earn 8 times the minimum wage (monthly as well) is ten or more times of daily use across platforms. For example, among the first income bracket (less than one min wage) 8 percent report to use the internet every day, whereas among the last bracket (the “rich”) 88 percent report a daily access. Facebook and youtube reveal a similar pattern, from 5 and 3 percent respectively to 46 percent, whereas twitter goes from 3 to 21 percent across income brackets. Actually emails daily access surpasses this trend, from 5 to 79 percent.

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In order to offer a useful comparison between Mexico City income levels employed in these surveys, and the US standards, I converted monthly minimum wages to annual dollars (to make the maths easier, I used 13 pesos per dollar); we then have the same five categories as a result: a) less than 1,500 dollars/yr; b) $1500-$4430; c) $4431-$7,385; d) $7,385-$14,769; and e) $14770 +.

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In sum, this basic demographic portrait of daily internet, email, and social media users in Mexico City could eventually help to illustrate where we are in this topic, in which political scientists are definitively taking advantage of new empirical studies regarding social networking in Mexico.

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NB: After several posts in Spanish, a language in which I am native speaker, I found slightly challenging to write in English again, using a more casual and even colloquial style, in opposition to the academic proofreading I used to have. Hope you find this post not only useful but also “readable”.

About Alejandro Diaz Dominguez

Professor, School of Government at Tecnológico de Monterrey. PhD in Political Science at Vanderbilt University. [religion and politics, R, surveys, electoral management bodies] Twitter: @alejdiazd https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3856-5686 View all posts by Alejandro Diaz Dominguez

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