Since I have been working in social media market in Myanmar, I could only see very few people who are using Twitter. Only three of my 3 of my 10 friends are active on twitter. I see that big amount of percentage because I am working in tech industry where in people are handy with internet. So why is twitter not popular in Myanmar?
First come first choice
The answer is very simple because Myanmar people first got familiar with Facebook among many social media websites. I wouldn’t say it first. In Myanmar there were social medias such as Tagged. But only Facebook have better function and featured for those who are willing to connect with friends. Myanmar people loved to see photos of each other and comment each other’s photos. Today people get wider use by uploading status and reading news. Facebook became a first choice. Since 2008, we can see very few significant Facebook user. But today there are more than 3 millions users. Twitter and many other websites were included in the list of website which is ban by Myanmar government. We could only watch YouTube and read other websites from US after Myanmar government reduced limit of internet on sept, 2011. I am not sure if twitter is blocked. But I am sure that Facebook is never blocked and we started using it since 2007. I would say Facebook was the first comer to Myanmar. Even after Google introduced Google Plus, people got bored to use.
Hard to make a change
Myanmar people are hard to make a change. People lived in the military rule and so got fear to make anything changes. Even we were very afraid to talk about politician since after 1988 until 2010. After only government started ruling country by democracy, people got confidence to talk more about politician and to do anything news. But because of old habit that people couldn’t change, to use a new product or to make a change is quiet hard for Myanmar people. They lived in a very straight forward life with no hope. To use a new technology is hard for them. Facebook came first and they got handy with it. They don’t want to use any other more. But they will try to use in the future.
Less learning, less education. Less education make people not to handy with modern technology and things. There were only few sources to learn in the past. So that even though we are having over 5 million internet users in Myanmar, only few percent of them know to use internet is very wise way such us reading news and learning. Most of them use Viber and Facebook. But they don’t know how to make themselves secure in digital era. Less education make people only to use one or two websites. According to Similarweb report, the top two website in Myanmar is Facebook and Google. The gap of user population between Facebook and other websites are really large. For example, we have 3 millions active user on Facebook, but we only have 70,000 active monthly visitor on Myanmar famous blog, www.myanmarmobileapp.com, top 7 website in Myanmar. Top 1 and top 3’s gap is too large. It mean that people are likely to spend their time on Facebook more.
Only few Myanmar in Twitter
There is a habit of Myanmar people. They try to use Facebook because they have friends on Facebook. If you go ask someone in Myanmar why they don’t use Twitter, he would probably answer that his friends are not on Twitter. So he don’t use. As he don’t use, his friends are not using. The problem is in the loop. People are watching each other if they are using a new platform. If a large group of Myanmar people start using Twitter, I’m sure the rest will try to use it.
Usability of each social media is different. Twitter is a tweet platform where you can write 140 characters. There is no character limit on Facebook. Myanmar people love to write a lot and read to write a lot on Facebook because they cannot surf other websites for the reason, slow internet. We usually have to put a link in a tweet if we want to drive people to websites. As being a social media marketer, Twitter is a platform to get people into websites. We use it to engage with customers too. But on Facebook, we use it to message, to read updates (of over 140 characters), to upload images and to comment friends’ images. Twitter also have feature to upload image. But Facebook’s image album is better to me. Introducing graph search and timeline also made Myanmar people more engaged with Facebook.
Even for me, I was hard to find time to use Twitter, but now I have to use it because of work purpose. And I come to love it because I can get many useful links and resources. Twitter seems more professional to me now and Facebook get many fake users today in Myanmar. It’s nature. Twitter will also get fake users when Myanmar people start to use it. Short messaging via mobile phone is now popular in Myanmar. Let’s see when short text blogging (tweeting) become popular.
Author: Aung Kham