A better C4D: assessing the potential for new media, ICT and development

  In my posts so far, I have offered skepticism about the larger claims made on behalf of new media and ICT in development. I have suggested that old media (especially face to face communication) still plays a dominant role, and that there is little evidence that new media can be used to deliberately shift social norms. In gauging the impact of new media, we might be better off looking at …

An Armchair Activist or an Army of Activists?

In the last post, the important point was made that we should be realistic when discussing the effectiveness of new media: not getting caught up in the hyperbole of its capacity but also acknowledging the advances and improvements it has brought to campaigns. For example, this blog has shown how journalists are using social networking platforms to fight the current censorship, repression and upheaval in Ethiopia. Whereas, it has also been …

What Lies Behind: The power of the technology enabling access to new media

On this blog, I have expressed skepticism about overblown claims as to the power of new media (and about its robustness as an analytical frame). Claims of the sort implied by Parmelee and Bichard’s title, ‘Politics and the Twitter Revolution’ (2012), warrant suspicion, if not quite the vitriol offered by Morozov (2013).* Yet for all the silliness of describing events in Egypt as ‘caused by Twitter’ (as more than one excitable …

How I run my Ushahidi project while staying in a refugee camp

You may be wondering what Ushahidi is. Ushahidi (meaning ‘testimony’ in Swahili), is an open source tool which allows users to crowdsource crisis information via a web form, mobile phone, or Twitter. It also uses news sources to document and verify incidents. It was created by an African tech company specializing in data collection and visualization. It was originally developed to map incidents of violence during the Kenyan elections in 2008. Now …

Shifting norms, or just talking about doing so?

A good blog post should start with a hook; some catchy, identifiable single incident, used to spark a wider discussion. To individualize in that way can be vital. But this is not a post about a single story. Rather, it is a post about groups, scale, mass and humanity at large. The World Health Organisation estimates that 35% of women experience sexual or other violence over the course of their lives. …

Old Media Still Active – Word of mouth and persuasion

Communication for Development likes what’s new. Where most academic communities are bound by cautious incrementalism, C4D has always sought to keep up with the times, trading a little certainty to gain more relevance. That disciplinary bias towards novelty is often helpful – but it is important to look back too. In talking about New Media, we would do well to evaluate how new it really is. And in doing so, we …

How to approach new media and activism

This blog will deal how new media is used by activists and social movements for development. This is a large field of analysis and through the different contributions made, we hope to examine the contemporary state of play highlighting what new information communication technology (ICT) offers social movements, how it is implemented and the discussions around its use. We will reflect on what ICT means for development. The traditional divide between …