Introduction to ICT and Social Media

October 30, 2011 · Posted in Literature Review 

ICT is increasingly recognized as the strongest change means humanity has to its disposal. In the recent years, advances in ICT have heralded a major transformation in human communication, giving rise to new trends of media for social communication. Situated as one of the latest of several waves of digital media, social media have introduced new communication patterns, diversified communication content and format, created new forms of expression, fostered freedom, and stimulated a wide participation which has widened the scope of knowledge sharing and collaboration and allowed citizens from diverse walks of life to have an opportunity to affect changes, convey their views and challenge social norms, thus promoting democracy. However, for argument for promoting democracy by Internet freedom and the use of social requires some fine-tuning (Breuer, 2011).

Moreover, social media are increasingly employed in processes of social changes and development works. Rather, the mobilization of ICT and social media has become an instrumental approach for and power to social change. Using social media is about leaderless social movements leading social change – it is the public will mobilization and spheres, as spread through new media outlets and platforms, that pave the way for political change. It is highly likely that the embrace and strategic use of social media technologies may further transform them into a driving force for major democratic reforms and other major political changes. Indeed, drawing on (Breuer 2011), the successful implementation of various types of social media for the promotion of social change requires a constant adjustment of strategies to political and national context specific requirements. The aim of this essay is to explore ICT and social media in relation to development and social change. Specifically, we intend to discuss the potential of the-state-of-the-art ICT in facilitating new mediated communication patterns and practices; examine to what extent social media platforms are based on inherently democratic structures of participation and how they have opened new avenues for civic participation and democracy; look at whether independent channels for citizen media have outlived themselves, and the potential of citizen media in meeting the Web 2.0 social media revolution; and look at how social media applications can be utilized in concrete development work or/and in processes of social change. We also endeavor to shed light on some challenges facing the evolving trend of social media.

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