Boston Globe covers Arora’s upcoming book release with Harvard Press

Boston Globe published an article on Dr. Payal Arora’s upcoming book release with Harvard University Press, titled, ‘The Next Billion Users: Digital life beyond the West’. Aimee Ortiz, one of the global staff from Boston Globe interviewed Dr. Arora this month on the motivation and drive behind this book.


The book, written for a broader audience beyond academia has received positive reviews from different organizations and agencies:

“A must-read for any individual seeking to promote economic growth and development in the digital age. Arora’s deeply rooted research exposes digital stereotypes as well as the perils and opportunities that exist at the interplay of culture, technology, regulation, commerce, and the next generation of digital users.”—Justin van Fleet, Director of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity

“The Next Billion Users is mandatory reading for anyone interested in understanding the future of technology or designing applications that are truly valuable for the majority of the people on the planet.”—Ronaldo Lemos, Director of the Institute for Technology & Society of Rio de Janeiro

“Whether you are a government agency seeking to bring public goods and services to underprivileged citizens, a multinational corporation entering emerging markets, or an NGO implementing aid, The Next Billion Users is essential, data-driven reading that will guide your digital and real-world strategies.”—Shaun Wiggins, President and CEO of Soteryx

“This book is a feat—insightful, poignant, riveting. Through detailed case studies and interviews, Payal Arora rewrites the story of our relationship to digital technology from a truly global perspective. Her conclusions are as surprising as they are revealing about the future of social media, gaming, mobile phones, and online commerce and education.”—Marwan Kraidy, author of The Naked Blogger of Cairo

In the next few weeks, Arora will be doing interviews with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, BBC Radio 4, De Standaard, BREAKER, and other global media outlets to publicize the book.


New-media pundits obsess over online privacy and security, cyberbullying, and revenge porn, but do these things really matter in most of the world? The Next Billion Users reveals that many assumptions about Internet use in developing countries are wrong. After immersing herself in factory towns, slums, townships, and favelas, Payal Arora assesses real patterns of Internet usage in India, China, South Africa, Brazil, and the Middle East. She finds Himalayan teens growing closer by sharing a single computer with common passwords and profiles. In China’s gaming factories, the line between work and leisure disappears. In Riyadh, a group of young women organizes a YouTube fashion show. Why do citizens of states with strict surveillance policies appear to care so little about their digital privacy? Why do Brazilians eschew geo-tagging on social media? What drives young Indians to friend “foreign” strangers on Facebook and give “missed calls” to people? The Next Billion Users answers these questions and many more. Through extensive fieldwork, Arora demonstrates that the global poor are far from virtuous utilitarians who mainly go online to study, find jobs, and obtain health information. She reveals habits of use bound to intrigue everyone from casual Internet users to developers of global digital platforms to organizations seeking to reach the next billion Internet users.