Cambodia’s buildings of the future?

Phnom Penh is undeniably Cambodia’s city of two tales. The two news stories (below) were published at about the same time, although in different media outlets. The first story takes on how a commercial, business-owned skyscraper, is doing well or not. The second story is about looking for more funding to erect a new iconic building.  

In the Guardian, a hilarious headline: Inside Phnom Penh’s empty new skyscraper: ‘This is only for excellencies’. The author, Poppy McPherson, went in great length to question The Vattanac Capital tower, which was described as “the tallest building in one of the world’s poorest countries – has an occupancy rate below 30%. Customers at its high-end boutiques are likely to be ‘excellencies’, members of Cambodia’s ultra-rich elite of business tycoons and MPs. So, what is the point of such a building?”

The other story, in the Phnom Penh Post, Harriet Fitch Little wrote “Big task ahead for Sleuk Rith genocide centre”.

According to estimates made by US-based consultant company Beacon Fire, the project currently appears to need somewhere in the region of $40 million, although Youk said he believed some of their costings to be excessive.

Dr Markus Zimmer, senior adviser to the institute and the man who originally reached out to Hadid, said that design efforts had been put on hold for approximately six months so that the focus could be on fundraising.

In Cambodia, what does ‘sharing economy’ mean?

The Phnom Penh Post’s Weekend edition has an interesting piece on Airbnb: Hoteliers worried by rise in peer-to-peer rentals. Journalist Lara Dunston quoted prominent author Elizabeth Becker, Airbnb’s spokesperson, and a few other well-established businesses. This is a thought-provoking story for Cambodian citizens. The question is: will this disruption really help better Cambodia’s communities by creating more opportunities among the locals? Both Airbnb and Uber have been unstoppable the way they expand globally. I’d really like to see how the local media will cover this topic with reactions from more sources, including the government. A quick Google search suggests that you can ‘rent from people in Cambodia from $10/night.’

Related stories:

A decade as a blogger

First published on Banyan Blog:


Tharum Bun, 32, is an experienced voice in the Cambodian blogosphere and digital media space. Blogging since 2004, he’s been a contributing writer for the Phnom Penh Post, Asian Correspondents, The United Nations’s Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) and Global Voices online. He has worked as a digital media strategist for the Voice of America (VOA Khmer Service) where he designed and implemented online strategies to reach out to Cambodian youth.

Tharum co-organized BlogFest Asia in 2012 and founded BarCamp in 2008, the first technology conference in Phnom Penh. He is on the board of Mekong ICT Camp, BarCamp Cambodia and Open Development Cambodia. In 2009, he was awarded a Leadership in Journalism Scholarship from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. Tharum was also recently selected to participate in the 2014 U.S. State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), on the category of “Media Literacy: Promoting Civil Society through New Media.”

Born in Kandal Province in 1982, Tharum went to Beng Trabek High School and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a major in Marketing at the National University of Management in Phnom Penh. He has spent his entire career in media as well as Information and Communications Technology (ICT). I interviewed Tharum to get a better understanding of the intersections of social media and technology in Cambodia, how open development can help Cambodia and the future of digital media in Cambodia.

Q. What was it like growing up in Cambodia? What were some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to be where you are today?

A. I was born a few years after the war was almost over. My parents moved from my hometown to Phnom Penh since I was a little boy. We settled in the city since then. I’m fascinated by changes in my neighborhoods, childhood friends, the city, and my schools. As my parents had to raise seven children, including me as the second oldest, I realized that I have to be much more on my own. Back then I could manage to as a volunteer and a part-timer to support my study. This self-independence is an integral part of me. I value being a self-made man.

Q. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

A. My parents. They struggled for some years, but they kept moving on. From time to time, my father told his children about learning and acquiring skills. My mother worked very hard back then. She’s very devoted to raise us. I feel that their warmest love makes me a stronger human.

Q. Which leaders have influenced your views the most on how technology can be used for citizen empowerment for participatory development?

A. I read one of Bill Gates’s books, The Road Ahead, in the early 2000s. It’s when I became very fascinated by personal computers. It’s also when I started to develop my faculty of wonder and keep learning and discovering. I think information and knowledge are an essential power for Cambodian people before we can think of participatory development. The machines make things easier and fun. It’s one of the stages to empower citizens.

Q. In 2004 you were one of the first bloggers in Cambodia. How has the social/digital media environment changed in Cambodia since you started blogging?

A. The Internet helps open up this country. So little discussions among the nation’s intellectuals, not to mention ordinary citizens, you can find on the net. Blogging is the first step to revolutionize the way we’re willing to discuss, share our thoughts, and start our dialogues. I started blogging in 2004. Only a handful of bloggers here in Cambodia and abroad began blogging about their personal lives and some views on social issues. Blogging workshops, Clogger (Cambodia bloggers) summit in 2007, and media attention were crucial to popularize Cambodia’s blogosphere and its community, years before Facebook’s presence. The number of bloggers is growing slowly right now, but what’s important is they’re getting to more critical. A really good example is: CAN’T STAND (views from a female Cambodian). You can locate it here: One of her latest blog posts is about her views of Cambodian politics. It’s an excellent blog post. The last decade means people get familiar with the tools. Today I expect to see great discussions and debates that contribute to Cambodia’s political and social development.

Q. What are some challenges and opportunities for Cambodia as it embarks upon the digital media age?

A. As we have seen in the recent years, last year in particular, positive changes have taken place here. Cambodia’s young generation embrace technologies; they’re eager to be connected and engaged. Digital media, a new form of traditional media, is a platform to deliver news and information to citizens.

With more information from a variety of sources, they will be much better informed. I’d rather see it as an added-value than a challenge. One of the opportunities now is that we have a greater communication tool to exchange information; a tool that people are so excited about. Digital media is not a catalyst of what brings changes. But it can help kindle people’s interest in social issues and politics again.

Q. Why is open development important to Cambodia’s future and what will it take to get there? How can technology and social media be used to have more of an inclusive environment for development?

A. Being informed Cambodians, they demand more than less. Social accountability and good governance are the fundamental part of building a modern Cambodia. The technological tool and platform make it easy for the government, research institutions, think tanks, and the private sector to share and collaborate. But as important as this sophisticated technology itself is human collaboration before we can realize that the essence of open data, which leads to a more dynamic development.

Q. In March 2013 Cambodia saw a 60% rise in Internet usage which amounted to 2.7 million users. While this is good news, out of a population of close to 15 million, many are still without access to the Internet. What (if any) consequences does this have on Cambodia’s development?

A. I’m sure that this remains good news for now and several more years to come. The trend of the growing Internet penetration is just unstoppable. Another good news is that people no longer really need a computer to access to the Internet. Back in the early 2000s, electricity, expensive hardware, and lack of infrastructure were among the issues to tackle. But we now face a new phenomenon. An article by Colin Meyn on Southeastern Globe magazine says that, “it’s estimated that there are 19 million mobile phones in Cambodia – 1.3 phones for each of the country’s 15 million people – and an increasing percentage of them connect people not only to their friends and family, but also to the worldwide web.” The author also opined that “Currently, more than two million Cambodians are connected to the Internet and, unless the government decides to do something to stop it, that number will increase exponentially in coming years.”

The past decade was painfully slow in term of getting people connected to the Internet. But we’ve seen a new record of growth of net users in the past few years. With businesses’ interest and people’s demand, this means we’ll see this trend will continue. So I see this a positive aspect and hopefully leads to positive impact.

Q. Twitter and Facebook are popular social media platforms in Cambodia, especially among the youth. In your opinion, what is the next big thing in technology as it pertains to the ICT/digital media world in Cambodia?

A. I think mobile devices will dominate the way we express ourselves and how we access content. The next big thing is the giant Google+. Google’s own social networking site is late into the game, but its dominance in both online and smart phone ecosystem tie the users well. Its strategic reach through budget smart phones fit so well for those larger popularity of Cambodians who are not yet wired.

Q. Over 70 percent of Cambodia’s population is under the age of 35 and many of them are active users of social media. You’ve designed strategies to reach out to youth. What are some tips you may have if one wanted to reach out to this demographic online?

A. I’m glad I started early when seeing a potential opportunity. It needs the investment of time and resource. But as a multi-skilled person, I could manage to do more with less. I think it’s first to understand the group of audience that you want to target, their need, and what we’re really good at as a content producer to respond to that. For instance, the young audience now craves what’s happening right now. This means that a news organization needs do much more. Journalists have to learn new skills, including gathering first hand information through crowd-sourcing and social media sites. They need to learn to vet and verify online materials, while they also understand about the importance of immediacy and the life cycle of news.

As my job was to focus more on online audience, Cambodian youth is my prime target. Young Cambodians are excited about getting connected, social media, and mobile technologies. This demographic, if we fail to reach out to them, we’ll miss a great opportunity for they’re not interested in traditional radio broadcast, the way that the older groups are. Thus, news programs have been tailored to educate, entertain, and inspire this new, growing group of audiences. The online platforms also make it easy for them to have their voices heard, even crossing the platform. For instance, an important question on Facebook gets a mention on radio broadcast to the nation-wide audiences.

Q. Where do you hope the future of ICT/digital media will be in 10 years time in Cambodia?

A. For the past 10 years in Cambodia, it was about building infrastructure, introducing and evangelizing technologies to the people, the next step is utilizing content. To describe how content matters much more, Bolivian writer and communication specialist Alfonso Gumucio Dagron puts it nicely that “when we talk about technology we are only referring to instruments, not to social, economic or cultural development. A knife is just a knife; it can be used to hurt someone or to carve a beautiful wood sculpture. Content and utilization is what makes the difference.”

Q. You’ve been able to build a successful career at a young age. What advice would you have for young people who may be struggling but want to follow a similar path?

A. To know what we’re really good at. If not, find it. To know who the person we are and what we want to do personally and professionally. It’s very depressing when we struggle, but it can be a lifetime lesson to realize how vulnerable we are as human beings. When we realize this, we can be better.

Read Tharum’s blog at:

Social media fires up Cambodian polls

When Cambodians went to the polls in July this year, social media not only posed a challenge to the traditional mainstream media but also to the country’s status quo.

With its hands holding a tight grip on the country’s traditional media, the Hun Sen government virtually ignored social media, while the main opposition party, Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), strategically and heavily used the web-based platforms to reach out to young voters and build its support base.

While the elections were marred by irregularities the results also showed that the country’s electorate is yearning for change as shown by the large number of seats won by CNRP at the parliament. It was a reflection of the political mood that was prevalent in various social media outfits prior to the elections.

Election observers describe how social media – primarily Facebook and other online discussion platforms – completely changed the political environment in the country and encouraged the citizens to speak and voice out their opinions online. With social media sites, young voters turn to their smart phones for news, information about the candidates’ platforms, as well as to engage in political debates.

Cambodians shared news stories published by local and international media outlets and generated a substantial volume of online content, including discussions, photos and videos. First-hand reports of violence at polling stations, and political demonstrations were quickly uploaded and played a vital role in keeping the public as well as the mainstream media journalists informed of the latest events during the elections.

In a country of 14 million people where about half of this population is under 21 years old, mobile phone subscribers overtook fixed-line subscribers as early as 1993. The leapfrog effect did not stop. It has contributed to the rise of mobile Internet adoption, which enables owners to communicate, access, and share information.

According to a report by Xinhua News Agency, the country’s six network providers sold 19.1 million SIM cards last year, far exceeding the nation’s population. Meanwhile on the popular networking site Facebook, there are more than 1,140,000 registered users in Cambodia.

Even if internet penetration is still very low in terms of the number of computer and mobile phone owners, many Cambodians have access to information via internet cafes or from their neighbors in the village, who own smart phone devices.

A project partner of Diakonia Cambodia, the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) has built its social media presence among the information-hungry Cambodian Internet news consumers. CCIM, through its radio broadcast and online news site, Voice of Democracy (VOD), provides balanced news reports, especially focusing on the plight of the marginalized communities in the country. VOD journalists and citizen journalists have been equipped and trained to master mobile technology for news gathering, reporting, and production.

During a recent protest by the opposition party supporters in Phnom Penh, VOD’s digital journalist Tiang Vida “took photos of the rally and forwarded them to his editor via Facebook along with brief news updates. A few minutes later, his dispatches appeared online,” reported English-language newspaper The Phnom Penh Post.

This remarkable rise in popularity of social media among Cambodians, especially the youth, is seen to help transform the country’s political and media landscape by serving the need for more news and information, and more importantly, by amplifying the voices of Cambodian people.

This blog post was first appeared on Diakonia blog on 2013-10-25.

What’s Politikoffee? And why it matters?

As part of my series of ‘Cambodian bloggers on blogging,’ I had a conversation with 26-year-old Ou Ritthy, who has been regarded by Cambodia’s English-language papers as one of the nation’s political bloggers. This is an unedited email interview I recently had with Ritthy, who runs a regular talk, Politikoffee, about Cambodian politics among his circles, independent analysts and Cambodia experts.

For Politikoffee’s Group on Facebook, please visit:

Tharum: When did you start Politikoffee?
Politikoffee was created in late July 2011.

Why Politikoffee?
Having learnt that most of Cambodian youths have spent their time for entertainment, consuming alcohols and paying little attention on sociopolitical situation, the matter of life and death of a nation, Politikoffee was established on July 2011. Politikoffee is a group of young enthusiastic and tech-savvy Cambodians who love discussing socioeconomic, political and democratization situations in Cambodian and region.

Poilitikoffee aims at cultivating “Liberal Democracy” in Cambodia through raising and sharing sociopolitical awareness and promoting culture of discussion and challenge among youths in Cambodia, based on principles of national interest, solidarity and fraternity. Cambodian youths should spend their free time on weekend to come to Politkoffee forum to share and learn with and from each other through discussion, debate and challenge concerning current socioeconomic and political issues of their country.

So far this emerging young generation of Cambodia has energetically discussed and shared information and knowledge every weekend. Having informed and learnt from each other, these youths share and spread political and electoral information like virus on social media especially facebook and twitter. They have done excellent job during National Assembly election 2013; they have become active agents of change and future leaders of Cambodia.

How to keep this conversation about politics over coffee going week after week?
Every Saturday we have either group discussion or media-darling speaker to present and then discuss among all members. We discuss, analyze and predict likely scenarios of political situations. When domestic sociopolitical issue is relatively stable, we discuss ASEAN and world affairs in stead.

On young Cambodians, do you speak out openly? Why?
We do speak our mind openly as the fact that Politikoffee forum is very informally organized by peers group who get to know each well. Therefore everything we say is outspoken, independent, open-minded, amiable and responsible yet challenging and thought-provoking.

How do you want this Politikoffee to play a role in Cambodian politics?
I want to see Politkoffee play vital role in cultivating a new political culture in Cambodia especially among Cambodian youths by changing from perceiving politics as a threat to individuals’ lives to seeing politics as one of the most significant parts of life and future of individuals and nation.

To achieve this, we want to have our own coffee shop named Politikoffee Shop where politics, democracy and coffee lovers can meet up and discuss current political issues. Basically, Politikoffee Shop is designed to function as a one-stop service to provide Cambodian people and foreigners who come to visit, work or live in Cambodia with complete up-to-date socioeconomic, political, electoral, social media and youth situations in Cambodia by just spending one hour discussing and drinking a cup of coffee.

Friends, don’t mind coming to Politikoffee Shop for an hour to drink a cup of coffee and get to know everything about current Cambodian politics and other related issues?

What you need to be digital politicians in Cambodia

Have a blog or website
The most important thing is to launch a blog or a website that your supporters and followers can read your correspondence.

Once published online, anyone can spread your letters, speeches and everything in between on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You need not to worry if what you wrote turns out to be something else on those social networking sites. The good thing is everything you posted on your own site is authentic. Your official site is your official source of texts, images, audio and videos, where professional journalists refer to.

You keep your access account information safe. Update your site regularly. Don’t worry about the number of pageviews. When you publish texts or images relevant to Cambodian people you represent, Facebookers will quickly make your posting gone viral. Use your site smartly to reach out your audience. It’s the most economical platform to maintain.

Without this kind of official site, it’s tough to verify your says or correspondence. But to have your own site, it makes life difficult for those who want to reproduce your original content.

Have a digital audio recorder
Another important thing to do: always bring with an audio recorder. Make sure it’s completely charged so you can use it for five or six hours for recording during any closed door meeting or negotiation. You can always have the recording replayed any time. It’s your great personal digital assistant that helps you as minute taker. Most smart phones come with an audio recording capability. It’s smart (it can detect sound to start recording) and quiet (nobody will ever know that you record the conversation).

Please note that having a Facebook Page or a Twitter account are not enough to be a politicians in this digital age, especially in a country like Cambodia. Your presence on social media platforms help you stay connected and engaged with your supporters, fans, and followers. But your own website or blog is more about who you are, what you say, promise, and implement.

Some blogs and websites of high profiles from around the world:
King-Father Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia

Prime Minister NODA’s BLOG
The Prime Minister sends out his own messages to the public.

Mong Palatino
is an activist and former legislator who represented Kabataan (Youth) Partylist in the 14th and 15th Congress of the Philippines

Email interview: how social media shapes Cambodian politics

This is a full email interview I gave to Colin Meyn, an editor at The Cambodia Daily, on social media in Cambodian politics. It’s conducted on 13 June 2013. The last answer was quoted in this news article: With Limited Media Access, Opposition Turns to the Web [by By Colin Meyn and Phorn Bopha – June 17, 2013]

Colin Meyn:
I have heard that more than 700,000 Cambodians are on Facebook, do you think this is accurate, and how many of these people do you think use their Facebook accounts on a regular basis? (In other words, is this an inflated statistic?)

This figure is provided by Facebook for those who want to run advertising on the site. Currently there are about 780,000 registered users, who gave info to the site that they live in Cambodia. Facebook can easily obtain users’ IP addresses; users mostly provided their location information to the site. Since Facebook is more about making money to survive in this digital age, it gathers and maintains great users’ data for businesses. So accuracy in all of the data the site collects can help convince businesses to pay them to run ads.

Side note: you can take a screen shot from here: (after selecting, just scroll down to see the audience, including the number of people in Cambodia)

Colin Meyn:
Have you seen any changes in what Cambodian people are talking about on Facebook over the past couple years, as it has become more popular.
Once a favorite playground or walled-garden, Facebook is now more than just a place to maintain contacts. Some years back, it’s more or less a place they think they could get entertained; where they’re supposed to ‘play’. Now it’s where young Cambodians can get breaking news, opinions, and views; where they can spread messages, words, or even rumors. A virtual cafe to meet diverse groups of people.

Colin Meyn:
How many of Cambodia’s Facebook users do you think are using the network to learn about politics?
I think only a small percent of the users are using the site to learn about politics. But the nature of the networking site to spread the message and go viral can also feed the rest about what’s going in Cambodian politics. Facebook users may not want to think about politics, but it ends up that politics is after them, even on Facebook.

Colin Meyn:
Have you seen an increase in political activism online?
The more people get informed, the more they think critically. Internet-based political activism is presently the greatest venue; it’s open and free space. Despite the increase isn’t so encouraging
for the exchange and dialogue right now, it’s a new beginning of something significant. Over time, it’s growing maturely.

Colin Meyn:
Do you think the CNRP’s campaign on Facebook will get them more votes in July’s election?
I think this 2013 election is an early start. Next election should be better for them to get more votes. It’s probably the last best channel to get their messages out.

Colin Meyn:
How important do you think social media might be to the future of the opposition (or ruling party)?
For some years, social media has been an alternative mean for net users to get informed of what’s not well covered, mentioned, or highlighted in the mainstream media. Social media will continue to
flourish as a medium of choice for a larger Cambodian audience in the coming years. For any political party not establishing itself online well, it means that it chooses to rule out a powerful communication tool to reach out their potential voters.

My Interview with Cambodian College Students

Students of Pannasastra University of Cambodia, Rana Sowath, Ek Sreypechrachna, Sok Someaknea, Ang Vanny, and Morm Linda, facilitated by Professor Ron Klein, interviewed me for their research project in mid-August. The ‘Mass of Communication’ report was written for Fundamentals of Communication course. It gives an overview of the roles of traditional media and the new media.

A section of the report:
The Blogging Revolution
“Weblogs Are To Words What Napster Was To Music” – Andrew Sullivan
In 1994, the phenomenon now called Blogging had begun. Blogging allows people to post their questions or give answers, share ideas and produce arguments, and giving comments about certain things. (Sullivan, The Blogging Revolution, the Internet)
Blogs are widely used because blogs are personal and pleasing to people. Blogging has been used everywhere around the world. And Cambodia is also one of the nations that use blogging. Bun Tharum, although not 100 percent sure, is believed to be the first man to create a blogging website on the Internet in Cambodia. On his web page, you can post information, personal questions, and get a response from others very easily.

Mr. Bun Tharum’s Interview
Having logged on to Mr. Tharum’s website, we are very interested in the Blogging issue. Therefore, we have conducted an interview with him via e-mail and received some answers which we believe are very crucial to our report. To acknowledge this significant achievement and his vital help, we would like to thank Mr. Tharum very much for spending some of his time trying to answer all our questions. Below is our interview with him.

1. When did you start using the Internet?
In early 1999.

2. Do you know a lot about the Internet?
I think there are so many things to learn about the Internet, and more to come to discover.

3. When and why did blogging become popular around the world?
The first weblog was created in 1997. And weblogs took off in recent years, probably in 2003. It may be it is easy to create, update, and maintain than a static website. So, even novice can become a blog owner in just a few minutes. People have different views and different personalities, and blog is designed to suit them all. It is for everyone.

4. Can you define blogging in a simple way?
It is a personal publishing tool and a two-way communication tool. You can imagine when you go to café, to listen to other people talking; raving and ranting, and you can have your opinions.

5. Why did you want to have a blogging website in Cambodia?
In a way, it is not expensive to reach out to people around the world. Several years ago I visited Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I asked a foreign traveler about Cambodia. He talked about landmines and rebels. And I realized that blog is a means to make my home country known to the outside world. I have collected many Cambodia websites, categorized them, and continuously added more.

6. What are some main benefits of blogging?: Especially for Cambodian citizens?
In every walk of life, people live to express themselves. People love reading newspapers, listening to radio, and watching TV. They are all informed. But they cannot find a good way to react or comment. Blogging allows people to interact with others from diverse cultures
in different countries. It is an open world where people can learn views and thoughts of others on any topics they like. And in my point of view, apart from making our nation known internationally, we can even learn much more from individuals and communities all over the

7. How many people have become bloggers in Cambodia since its existence?
It is very tough to tell about the number of Cambodian bloggers. I assume there are some hundreds.

8. What do people usually discuss about on the blogging website?
A blog can be about anything people want it to be. In the United States and in some countries in Europe, it is another source of media to find out how their citizens discuss voting. In China, it is probably the only tool being used to react to the government. Since it is citizen’s voice, in some countries, interestingly journalists read the blog to find angles to write articles. Cambodian people, as have been written in tourist guide book, a country of friendly people, can write a blog to inform foreign tourists about their beautiful country.

9. Is politics usually the main discussion? : Or are there some other main issues as well, such as economics, education, etc.?
Not at all, as I previously said. There are so many topics. But I am not quite sure that politics and technology have been listed as top ten. Most people have their own interests, so they write and discuss what they love to. A blog is somewhat making people with similar interest meet each other on the net and share their experience. I like reading blogs about technology.

10. If people have any questions and post it on the blogging web page, do they get satisfying results?
It took about half year or so to expose my blog. Once visitors are familiar with the context of my weblog, they provide plenty of helpful opinions. Not all the time I have to expect good comments as I have been prepared to be open to learning different opinions.

11. How do you think Blogging will revolutionize the world, particularly in Cambodia?
It is not very easy to foresee the future. Technologies, for years, have been designed to empower life of all ages. It is just a matter that we deploy them in an appropriate way. I like a quote of Alfonso Gumucio Dagron that says: “When we talk about technology, we are
only referring to instruments, not to social economic or cultural development. A knife is just a knife: it can be used to hurt someone or to carve beautiful wood sculpture. Content and utilization are what makes the difference.”

12. Are you in contact with other bloggers in Cambodia?
Why not? I communicate with some Cambodia bloggers, both Cambodian people in the country and abroad, and foreigners who write about Cambodia.

13. What is your ultimate goal for the future?
I hope to work in media, specifically in information and communications. And part of my career is to be a writer.

14. Have you got more daily ”hits” since the Cambodia Daily article?
Time after time Internet users google my name.

15. Do you believe that political websites could foster dialogue to improve human rights and democracy in Cambodia?
It is just a communication tool. Human beings invent, create, but sometimes do not use it. In developed countries, it is very popular, and being used to empower their critical thinking and better communications.