Soca Vs Dancehall – The Digital Culture Trend Edition

How do Jamaicans compare to Trinidadians when it comes to how they spend their time online and what does it say about the emerging Digital Culture of both Caribbean nations?

Soca season ended in Trinidad in February, but in Jamaica, we’re smack in the middle of the Carnival season now. Across the entire country, Soca happily mingles in the land of Reggae until April 23rd. And while the Soca vs Dancehall narrative is used primarily for party promotion, to drive tens of thousands of people to drink rum and wine in a heady roster of parties-my version is purely digital. I call this is Soca Vs Dancehall – The Digital Culture Edition, where I’m looking at how do Jamaicans compare to Trinidadians, when it comes to how they spend their time online and what does it say about the emerging digital culture of both Caribbean nations.

You see, it being the Carnival season here in Jamaica, made me curious about what else these two Caribbean countries have in common, outside of an undeniable cultural transfer underway enabled by a common university, decades business deals and love interests. I wanted to explore beyond the common ground of drinking rum and bussing a wine. I wanted to know what are they up to when they spend time online as our Digital Caribbean emerges.

So I researched 5 websites and 1 online presentation and now we have the Top 30 websites Trinidadian and Jamaicans are frequenting now, plus the Top 10 sites they spend the most time on. It definitely gives us clues into the digital trends of both Caribbean nations, as well as, a glimpse into the status of tech innovation and entrepreneurship too, believe it or not.

Now, since I’m Jamaica, I’m going to be polite and start by sharing the digital culture trend story of our Trinidadian friends first.

Here are the top 30 websites Trinidadian are finding the most interesting right now.

Top 30 websites Trinidadians are frequenting now.

As you see, search, online video, online shopping and social networking tops the top five things Trinidadians are doing online right now. The websites in their Top30 list, shows that yep, they are visiting the University of the West Indies website, as they surf online they are clicking on ads; checking yahoo email; watching porn; reading their local newspapers online, searching for jobs, watching their Instagram feeds; downloading and watching movies illegally and legally (Netflix), blogging and of course Whatsapping.

From this Top 30 list two things really stood out for me. The first was that, Trinidadians are really into buying things online ( did someone say oil money) . There are three online shopping sites in their Top 30 – Amazon, eBay and Aliexpress. eCommerce is alive is Trinidad.

The second thing that popped out for me, was that outside of the typical newspapers online, they are visiting a locally developed website, with local content for the local community done by one of their local entrepreneurs. That site is trinituner.com.  It has been the number one Trinidadian site visited by Trinidadians since 2007, when I first discovered and wrote about them. Back then, they described the site as the largest car site in the country, that mixed car classifieds and community for car lovers. Now in 2017, they describe themselves as “ the most subscribed automotive publication and the largest, most active online community in T&T.” And they have the stats to back that up.

Check out these stats
– Their website “sees an average of 9,000 readers every day and over 11 million page views each month.” (Google Analytics)
– In 14 years of operation they have developed an online community of over 50,000 registered members
Over 140,000 individuals visiting their site each month.
“The LARGEST online classified system in T&T with thousands of buyers and sellers and tens of thousands of items listed. Our auto section now boasts over 70,000 items listed to buy or sell.”
source: trinituner.com

In other words, that site is beast and a testimony to the innovativeness and grit by the three guys, web developers turned entrepreneurs  – Duane Boodasingh, Daren Dhoray and Richard Williams.

That said, while the Top 30 sites being visited by Trinidadians tells us one story,  it’s the Top 10 sites they spend the most time on, that proves to be even more interesting. An online news and community site-reddit.com is in the number one spot — with the  online shopping site aliexpress.com and Facebook completing the top 3.

Trinis are spending almost 15mins on Reddit.com; 14: 29mins on Aliexpress.com and 12:42 mins on Facebook. Trinituner.com is 4th in the Top10 with people sending just over 12 mins every time they go to the site. So in short, Trinis spend the most time online doing online news and community sites, spending money online, on Facebook, and watching online videos plus porn — with a visit to the University of the West Indies website to balance things out. LOL.

Top 10 websites Trinidadians they are spending most of their TIME on.
1. Reddit.com                     14.49 mins
2. Aliexpress.com             14.24 mins
3. Facebook                         12:46 mins
4. Trinituner.com               12:11 mins
5. Uwi.edu                           11:05  mins
6. Ebay.com                        10:10  mins
7. Youtube                           9:17     mins
8. Pornhub.com                  9:25   mins
9. Google.com                     8:45   mins
10. Amazon                            8:11  mins

And now it’s time to bring it home, to Jamaica.

When I reviewed the Top 30 sites Jamaicans are going to right now — search, online video, downloading Android Apps, participating in Affiliate programmes and social networking are the top five things Jamaicans are doing online right now.

The sites in the Jamaican Top 30 list, shows that yes they are going to the University of the West Indies website, they are clicking on ads, checking yahoo email, watching porn, reading their local newspapers online, searching for jobs, watching their Instagram feeds, downloading and watching movies illegally and legally (Netflix), blogging and of course whatsapping also.

That said, the three things that stand out for me were these. Jamaicans are definitely spending time internet banking at the two largest banks in the country.  They are still visiting what could be considered old school internet brands msn.com and ask.com. MSN is a web portal and related collection of Internet services and apps for Windows and mobile devices, provided by Microsoft and Ask is a question answering-focused e-business and web search engine — both founded in the 1990s.

The other glaring standout for me was that, unlike the Trinidadian Top30 and Top10 lists, not a single Jamaican made website that has unique Jamaican content, made the list — not in the Top 30. And remember I am ignoring the usual local newspapers. So no Jamaican tech entrepreneur has created a website that has the attention of Jamaicans at this level. Glaring and disappointing. Hats off to the Trinis for beating us with that.

Top 30 websites Jamaicans are frequenting now.

With that said, what are the Top 10 sites they are spending the most time on?

Seriously, it seems both the Trinidadians and Jamaicans are at one with spending time on reddit.com. Reddit is an American social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website. Like, who knew?!

But, while Trinis are busy spending time shopping online as their number 2 activity, Jamaicans are on Facebook in a big way spending just shy of 13mins every time they log on. While Instagram came out ahead of Twitter in the Top30 list, Jamaicans are spending a little more time on Twitter.  Additionally, it is not lost on me that in a country that boasts more churches per square mile ( because they refused to count the number of bars LOL), Jamaicans are spending just over nine mins watching porn online. Hello!!

Top 10 websites Jamaicans they are spending most of their TIME on.

  1. Reddit                   14.49 min.
  2. Facebook             12.46 min.
  3. UWI.edu              11:05  min.
  4. Ebay                      10.10 min.
  5. pornhub.com        9.25 min.
  6. youtube.com         9:17 min.
  7. google.com            8:45 min.
  8. Amazon                  8:11 min.
  9. Twitter                   6:37 min.
  10. Instagram              5:37min.

So there you have it, a snapshot into the digital trends and emerging digital culture of arguable the top 2 most culturally popular Caribbean nations. Quite instructive. You can spot the trends and immediately think of opportunities. It’s always good to keep track of how Caribbean people are spending their time online. I’m going to check back in 3 months to see if anything has shifted and I will let you know.

sources: Alexa.com , We Are Social and Hootsuite

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