The examples of social media use in development work are endless; from promoting organisations’ external communications, to fundraising, to campaigning for raising public awareness and engaging the masses. In recent times, we find that the most applied uses in development have been related to increasing civic engagement by facilitating the process of participation in social change initiatives. There is a general consensus on the contribution of social media to social change and democracy processes although this discussion is still in itself evolving.
In the development field we have seen the tremendous use of social media for organisational purposes during the Egyptian Revolution. Projects such as Map Kibera shows how new and social media is used by citizens to create free and open digital maps in the largest slum communities and how such initiatives provide spaces for interaction and access to information and basic services. Ushahidi demonstrates how social media and ICTs are used in real time data collection and in web based election monitoring although some cases such as the recent elections in Liberian have received much criticism and unveiled important challenges in this field.
In the upcoming posts we will continue the discussion by sharing some of the projects, programs and initiatives on the use of social media in development and social change processes, as well as media discussions and coverage on the topic.