Facebook Users in Cambodia
I started to get in touch with Facebook in 2009 in Bangkok during FNF staff training on IT tools to promote freedom across the region (video clips, facebook, blogs, podcast etc). When my colleagues from the Philippines and Indonesia talked about facebook and blog, I felt strange to hear that. Several months later, I become a fan (or addicted to) of facebook and blogging. Back then, internet connection in Cambodia was still rare and quite expensive. Monthly cost was not lower than one hundred U$ per month and with the slowest speed of just 54kb/s. It takes ages to download something. However, it was a progress. We have internet connection in office, but we could not afford to install it at home.
In late 2010, there was possibility to have internet connection at home, thanks to new service providers and new promotion. However, it costs more than 30 U$ per month, the lowest rate we could get and with 254kb/s. The price went down from time to time: to 30 U$, then 24 U$ and now 16 U$, while the speed has been upgraded to 3 mb/s. I am very satisfied now with the speed, the price and the service quality we have. I think that the price will go down again. It is interesting to observe that we have WiFi in many Internet Cafés, guesthouses and hotels across the country, even in small towns. We could use modem to connect to internet where we have phone coverage areas. It is interesting to take note that the word “email” came to my ear during a leadership workshop at the International Academy for Leadership in late 1997, in Germany.
According to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, it is estimated that more than 2.6 million people or less than 20%) have access to internet. Internet becomes increasingly integral part of our daily life. One could hardly imagine life without mobile phone, laptop, internet, facebook (about 700,000 people or less than 5%), blog etc. People are using more and more social media tools for information sharing, educational purposes, voicing their concerns or comments to political, economic, social and environmental issues etc. Though there is wide gap between urban and rural people in term of access to IT, almost Cambodian youth and adults have mobile phone to use now. The Ministry estimated that there are around 20 million mobile phones in use in this country, since some (business) people have two or three phones using different phone companies.
I would like to share my humble observation concerning facebook users in our country as follows:
Good points on facebook
- More food for thought for reading and reflection
- More educational stuff
- More information, hot news, photos, stories, video clips to share
- More critical opinions or critical comments on what happened in our society, in ASEAN and parts of the world
- More political debate when time closer to elections
- People could write what they want and post what they want
- Violent and even sexy to porn pictures
- Personal attacks
- Nonsense wordings
- Misuse or spreading of false information
Like medicines, facebook has positive and negative effects. However, I like to follow-up on what is written and shared via facebook. I would say I gain more than lose. I have a platform to share with friends, colleagues, relatives from around the world and feel that though we live in different parts of the world, we are just one click away. I could use my timeline to post my thought, comments and opinions relating to all issues in our society, also photos. Facebook is a very useful social media network.