It all started about three years ago when I graduated with a degree in international studies at the City College of New York. I remembered feeling more thirsty for knowledge leaving the very same environment that nourished me with topics such as colonization, decolonization, globalization, marxism, neoliberalism, sovereignty, anthropology, etc.
I was determined to earn a master’s degree shortly after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, the question what field I should earn my masters in remained unknown for about two years.
During these two years I found myself spending a lot of time on social media reading, writing and sharing posts. I found myself arguing with people on facebook, where I was trying to convince them that Islam does not equal terrorism. I was having discussions with people about the refugee crises and trying to explain the Syria crisis. I felt like most of these attempts lead to a dead end.
It dawned on me how the power of digital communications has the ability to change behaviours and opinions. As this was the period following the American presidential election, Trump vs. Hilary.
What shocked me the most was the fake stories and news being shared on social media, and how easily people believed everything being shared on the different platforms. How different actors on social media fueled hate towards different religious groups. Additionally how the audience there could like and share posts without questioning the credibility of the sources used to creating these posts. Nowadays everyone has a voice in the field of digital communication, all you need is a mobile or computer device with internet.
This experience left me feeling confused. Confused in terms of trying to understand how the use of a button or two could cause so much negativity. If digital communications has the power to change behaviours and opinions, it surely does has the power to drive it towards development.
It was at this moment I realized I wanted to earn a masters in communication. I wanted to learn and understand the different elements of digital communication and how it is being used and implemented in various parts of the world. I wanted to learn how some world news from one part of the world always tends to carry more weight than other parts. I wanted to learn the different aspects of public spheres used centuries and decades ago and compare them to contemporary public spheres.
I was glad to have found the Communication for Development program at Malmö University. I’m in my second year already and I’m enjoying each semester even as I’m juggling a full-time job. Just like most ComDev students I felt a bit overwhelmed in the beginning of my first semester given the amount of reading and assignments due. However, I’m already learning how my journey in ComDev is supplying me with the necessary knowledge so I can play an active role in the field of Communication for Development.