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Information and Communication Technologies

#10: Placing a Value on Social Media

Johanna Martinsson's picture

Our Top Ten Blog Posts by Readership in 2011

Orginally published on January 19, 2011

Lately, there has been a great deal of debate about the $500 million investment by financial giant, Goldman Sachs, and a Russian investor in the social networking site Facebook.  Sachs justified their investment by saying the company is worth $50 billion dollars.  Many financial analysts think this high dollar amount is ludicrous and unjustifiable because Facebook has not yet generated a great deal of profit.  However, the question many people are debating, and have been debating for some time, is: what is the true value of social media?

Web 2.0 for Development Professionals Part 3: How the Cloud is Relevant for Development Professionals

Tanya Gupta's picture

As I have mentioned before in Part 1 and Part 2 of this three part series, cloud computing is a particularly important topic for development professionals.  In this blog, I will look at sectors where cloud based services are particularly relevant to development professionals and others.

Although  “cloud computing” is a hot subject in development, many are still “cloudy” about exactly what it means.   Very simply it refers to Internet-based use of programs that are are not installed in your computer. Typically usage of such programs are either free or use a subscription model, thus eliminating or reducing the need for capital investment in technology infrastructure.  However much like Web 2.0, the precise definition of cloud computing is still under debate, and as a result it is an over-used term that refers to something that everybody agrees is needed, but no one is quite sure what it is. 

Cloud computing has potential development applications not just in the public sector realm but also areas such as health, finance, agriculture and education.  Here's a look at some of the development sectors that are being influenced by cloud computing.

U-Report

Sabina Panth's picture

Yet another performance monitoring tool has been introduced that directly engages citizens in the decision-making process regarding public services.  The project, called U-Report, solicits citizen feedback via SMS polls and broadcasts the results through radio, press, face-to-face meetings and websites.  The method of using both modern and traditional media devices to inform and solicit feedback from the public is expected to enable both the donor and the citizens to identify priority areas for development interventions and get an overall picture about how services work in a given community. 

Web 2.0 for Development Professionals Part 1: 5 Useful Cloud Services for Development Professionals

Tanya Gupta's picture

According to a recent Pew survery, 71% of technology leaders believe that in 2020 most people will access “software applications online and share and access information through the use of remote server networks”, rather than depending primarily on their individual, personal computers. They say that “cloud computing will become more dominant than the desktop in the next decade. In other words, most users will perform most computing and communicating activities through connections to servers operated by outside firms”.  Therefore understanding cloud computing is a must for everyone, particularly development professionals who will have to tackle cloud related strategic, implementation and design challenges in their projects. 

A Country for My Daughter

Sabina Panth's picture

As in any other sectors, laws governing gender-based violence may well be in place in a country but the problem, as always, lies in the implementation and enforcement of these laws.  Various factors, mainly cultural attitude, social norms and institutional weaknesses, often impede victims of violence from exercising their rights and protecting themselves.  A 2010 video documentary entitled A Country for My Daughter examines these aspects in South Africa, which has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world.

"Voices 2.0" - Revolutionizing Participation within Development Cooperation

Patrick Kalas's picture

“……..I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul” (Invictus by William Ernest Henley)

The genie is out of the bottle. Scanning the news reveals that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones, Internet, Satellite television and social media are having an effect on events in the so-called Arab Spring. The “Facebook Revolution” is becoming a buzzword. Not sure how and why, click here. Does this have any practical significance for our operational activities in projects or programs aiming to increase participation in socio, economic and political change processes? The answer suggested here is Yes. Traditional participation approaches referred to here as “Voices 1.0” are being directly influenced by the witnessed proliferation of ICTs rendering them more interactive “Voices 2.0”. This complimentary shift has direct implications for operational work throughout the project cycle.

Is Open Data Really the Solution?

Sabina Panth's picture

Proponents of governments opening data to the public in order to increase transparency and better governance have been cheering recent developments, debates and discussions.  While I have used this blog to highlight many of the advantages of Open Data in instigating demand-led governance, I recently stumbled upon an article by Tom Slee which has a different take on the digital solution. Below I summarize a few points from Slee’s article which I feel are worthy of contemplation.

Community Radio Stations as Vehicles for Social Inclusion

Sabina Panth's picture

Isolated geography, customary practices and gender roles often limit rural populations, particularly women and indigenous groups, from accessing relevant information and gaining adequate skills to effectively participate in development interventions.  As a consequence, the wealth of knowledge that these communities possess goes unsolicited and undervalued.  In fact, gender activists argue that rural women rarely serve as the primary source of information in communication for development initiatives and that such practices risk perpetuating elite capture and exacerbating existing inequalities.

Is Online Video-Sharing a Double-edged Sword?

Sabina Panth's picture

As much advantage as there is to the world of the internet, there are disadvantages too, the main inconvenience being securing privacy.  This has become a particular issue of concern when visual images against political reprisal are exposed.  Granted, this very exposure can draw world-wide attention and support for a cause or struggle, but often it leaves advocates involved in demonstrations vulnerable to political targeting and exploitation. 

Ties that Bind: Studying Social Networks in Timor-Leste

Pamela Dale's picture

Social networks have been a hot topic in the past year, not least because of the buzz around the Oscar-winning film about the founding of Facebook. Even in countries with relatively low internet connectivity, use of social networking sites is on the rise – just ask Timor-Leste’s President José Ramos Horta and his 378 Facebook friends. But even before the internet empowered us to connect and communicate at the speed of a whim, we have all lived fully immersed in social networks. Social networks are the links between family and friends, classmates and teammates, coworkers and colleagues, enemies and ‘frenemies’. They are the relationships – around 150 meaningful ones, according to Dunbar’s number – that feed and bound our choices and actions, provide us with emotional sustenance and sounding boards, and provide structure to our lives. But beyond their intrinsic value, what do these connections mean – for individuals, for communities, and for development?

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