Mapping user-centric internet geographies: How similar are countries in their web use patterns?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With half the world now online, a handful of websites dominate globally. Yet little is known about the homogeneity or geographical distinctness of global web use patterns. Focusing beyond popular sites, we inquired into how and why countries are similar in their web use patterns, developing a framework drawing on the literatures on media globalization, as well as Internet geographies. To compute similarities in web use between countries, we utilized an algorithm that considered both ranking positions and overlap counts on ranked lists of the 100 most popular websites for 174 countries, totaling 6,252 unique websites. Findings from a network analysis and from regressions suggest that countries with similar languages and shared borders, as well as those vastly different in their Internet market sizes, tend to have similar web use patterns. Neither are countries particularly similar to the US in web use nor does the prevalence of English speakers have an influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-489
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cultural Proximity
  • Global Media Flows
  • Global Web Use
  • Network Analysis
  • Quadratic Assignment Procedure
  • Rank Biased Overlap
  • World Systems Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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