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Information and Communication Technologies

Social and online media for social change: examples from Thailand

Anne Elicaño-Shields's picture
Also available in: ภาษาไทย


In Bangkok, a campaign to save land from being turned into another mega mall
brings people together online--and offline. Photo credit: Makkasan Hope

As a web editor and as a digital media enthusiast I’ve seen all sorts of content online: a close-up photo of someone’s lunch, a video of singing cats, selfies (for the blissfully uninitiated- these are self-portraits taken from mobile devices), and more.

Can such content change the world for the better? What if these were more substantial or inspiring, would it spur change more effectively? While messaging is important, I think the real power of social and online media is in its convening power.  The changing the world for the better bit happens when the communities formed by social media take things offline and act.

สื่อสังคมออนไลน์เพื่อเปลี่ยนสังคม: ตัวอย่างจากประเทศไทย

Anne Elicaño-Shields's picture
Also available in: English
การรณรงค์เพื่อสงวนมักกะสันไม่ให้เป็นห้างใหญ่ได้รวมพลังชุมชนทั้งในออนไลน์ และ ออฟไลน์ ภาพถ่ายโดย เราอยากให้มักกะสันเป็นสวนสาธารณะและพิพิธภัณฑ์

ในฐานะบรรณาธิการเว็บไซต์และผู้มีความกระตือรือร้นในเรื่องสื่อออนไลน์ ฉันเห็นเนื้อหามาทุกประเภท ตั้งแต่ภาพถ่ายใกล้ๆ ของข้าวเที่ยงของใครบางคน วีดิโอแมวร้องเพลง และภาพถ่ายตัวเองจากกล้องโทรศัพท์มือถือ และอื่นๆ

เนื้อหาเหล่านี้สามารถเปลี่ยนโลกให้ดีขึ้นได้ไหม? ถ้าหาก เนื้อหาเหล่านี้จะมีสาระและให้แรงบันดาลใจมากกว่านี้ จะทำให้มันมีประสิทธิภาพในการนำไปสู่เกิดการเปลี่ยนแปลงมากกว่านี้ไหม? ในขณะที่เนื้อหาก็เป็นสิ่งสำคัญ ฉันกลับคิดว่า พลังที่แท้จริงของสื่อสังคมออนไลน์คือ ความสามารถในการรวมพลังชุมชน นั่นคือ การเปลี่ยนโลกจะเกิดขึ้นได้จริงๆ เมื่อชุมชนที่รวมตัวกันจากสื่อสังคมนำสิ่งเหล่านั้นออกไปสู่โลกจริงๆ และลงมือทำ

Beyond the wire: connecting Tonga

Tom Perry's picture
Billboards announcing the arrival of high-speed
broadband internet being installed in downtown
Nukua'lofa, the capital of the Kingdom
of Tonga.

Hoko (‘connect’ in Tongan) is the current buzzword on the streets of the Kingdom of Tonga.

With May 17th recognized around the world as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa is a hive of activity as telecommunications providers set up their activities to mark the day.  The billboards have gone up, teenagers have been lining up at auditions to become the new public face of the marketing campaign for Tongan internet, and the Prime Minister, Lord Sialeʻataongo Tuʻivakanō is planning a public Skype session with Tongan soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan.

If there is any year the Kingdom of Tonga would be justifiably excited about its telecomms story, 2013 is it. As one of the most remote island nations on the planet, the impending arrival of high-speed, fiber-optic broadband internet – made possible through the World Bank-supported Pacific Regional Connectivity Project, an 830km-long cable being connected between Fiji and Tonga – means that everyone is talking of hoko.

I spoke to a number of people about the experience with internet in Tonga and how broadband internet would affect their lives.

Welcoming mobile phones and internet to the Solomon Islands

Alison Ofotalau's picture
54 in every 100 Solomon Islander now
has access to some form of modern
telecommunication.

Recently my 10 year old son invited me to be friends with him on Facebook. “Hi mum I’m here too, can we be friends?” was the message I got. I was shocked and worried at the same time, and my initial reaction was fear of the perceived harm social media could do to a person as young as he.
 
We finally agreed that his father would have access to his Facebook account to monitor his online activities until he reaches 18. But the moment he gets or posts something inappropriate, the deal is off. That’s a fair deal, I told myself and interacting through social media could actually enrich my son’s life.
 
What I’m going through is also experienced by other families in the Solomon Islands. It started when mobile phone technology began revolutionizing the lives of ordinary Solomon Islanders in the last five years, when the telecommunications industry was opened for competition. Previously, only business executives and senior government officials owned or had access to mobile phones – a luxury only the rich and the influential would enjoy.

Keeping the hope alive in Myanmar

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Axel talks about his trip to Myanmar in a video below.

You can feel the energy in Myanmar today—from the streets of Yangon, in the offices of government ministries and in rural villages. Dramatic political and economic changes are sweeping the country.

Tell us, Filipinos: what sanitation problems bother you most today? Sanitation Hackathon 2012

Juned Sonido's picture

You are walking inside a mall when suddenly you feel the call of nature. What do you do? You desperately look for signs pointing to the nearest toilet. But what if you are not in the mall? What if you are in an unfamiliar place, then what? Worse, what if you are on the road in a remote location?

Fortunately, there’s an app for this kind of emergency. The Imodium Toilet Tracker is a handy thing to have. With just one check on your smart phone, your problem is solved – a toilet is located for you and a crisis is averted. After finding a toilet however, the next thing you would be concerned about is the availability of toilet paper and/or running water.

Beyond communication: How functional is your mobile phone?

Justine Espina-Letargo's picture
Noel Aspras in the Philippines says that "even the lowliest of farmers owns a cellphone now" because it has become a necessity. Watch the video below.

When I lost my mobile phone two years ago, I felt dismembered. After all, my cellphone was constantly by my side, serving as alarm clock, calendar, and default camera for those ‘Kodak’ moments you couldn’t let pass. It was also a nifty calculator that I turned to when splitting restaurant bills with friends.

After grieving the loss of my “finger” for two days, I pulled myself together and got a new, smarter phone that allowed for faster surfing on the web, audio recording and a host of other functions that, well, made me quickly forget the lost unit. A blessing in disguise, I told myself.

So when no less than a farmer from Pagsanjan in the Philippines’ Laguna province told me that mobile phones were “no longer a luxury, but a necessity,” and added that “even the lowliest of farmers riding on a carabao (water buffalo) owns one,” I couldn’t agree more.

How will China’s external current account surplus evolve in the coming years?

Louis Kuijs's picture

How China’s current account surplus will evolve in the coming years is one of the key questions on the economic outlook, both for China itself and for the global economy. China’s increasingly competitive manufacturing sector will continue to power ahead, to expand exports and to gain global market share. At the same time, China’s domestic economy should continue to grow rapidly, thereby drawing imports. However, how this will on balance play out with regard to the current account surplus is less certain. It will largely depend on how much progress is made with rebalancing the economy.

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