For years, it seemed like the Canuck webheads were the most broadband connected nation and then we became the nation that really embraced Facebook first.
After seeing Canada drop to as low as 11th on certain digital behaviors, now we have reclaimed our seat as world e-leaders, this time as being the world's most socially connected nation.
According to Forresters, 57% of online Canadians jump on social networks at least once a month while U.S. landed in 2nd place at 51% and the UK taking bronze at 38%. 80% of online Canadians had participated at some point in social networks.
Why? There could be many reasons - here are my top 10:
#1 - broadband, e-connected Canucks - say what you want about our lack of innovation in mobile, Canada has a really webbed up population and we take advantage of it, we are also #1 in the world over France and Germany in watching online video - 605 minutes each person per month
#3 - high education - we are tech literate and savvy based - 76% of Canadians have attained a degree or certificate of some sorts - high education = high connection
#4 - long winters - Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland - should we be surprised that over 80% of their populations are online, significantly higher than their southern cousins - darkness and poor weather lead to more hours online, what do you think we do in the dead of winter, curling? (actually we do that too)
#5 - high levels of urbanization - social networks take root first in urban areas - My Space started in L.A. with Facebook getting rooted in university towns first followed by city areas, to the uninformed, Canada may seem like an idyllic nordic landscape with people living in log cabins and igloos - in fact, Canada is a highly urbanized nation - 44.6% of its people are in it's top 6 cities
#6 - Facebooked - as mentioned in a previous post - Toronto and Vancouver were extremely high adopters of Facebook first, Halifax had the highest per capita Facebook usage in the world - others have caught up but given our favourable first social 'net experience with the world's top network - we have increased our appetite for other things too
#7 - world view - unlike a majority of Americans, we tend to take a larger world view and draw inspiration from a wider circle of people and cultures - it's why Canadians are known as the most lovable backpackers and Canada is viewed as the #2 country brand in the world - we love to connect with far-reaching others
#8 - shunning media influence - in Canada, we have become used to US media dominant influence for the last 40 years - social networking finally allows us to share amongst our own - its why our country's Facebook page has 346,000 fans and the USA's has only 297,000
#9 - nice and polite - let's be honest, we might not be the flashiest or self-promoting tribe of people, but perhaps for that very seem reason, people like us and want to friend us - we're pretty damn happy people too
#10- the Pamela Anderson effect - the most searched person, place or thing online in the history of the net ...oh, and she's ours, one of our biggest exports
So we punch far more powerfully than our numbers online, even though we have the 36th ranked in terms of population but are ranked 11th in online population. Why the heck do our businesses adopt social web culture and technologies so much later than their counterparts?
One addendum, here's Forrester's technographics ladder for Canada too -
Forrester's tool has some limitations and for the life of me, I'll never understand the math, but the intriguing part is Canada has a fairly engaged online population and the participation by age declines over time, it never really falls off a cliff.