Mobile internet researcher participates in social media conference

Co-PI of the Mobile internet in-depth study, Jonathan Donner, participated in the “Social Media for Development” workshop in Hangzhou, China in March 2011. He presented a position paper based on some of the hypotheses of the Mobile internet study at a pre-conference event of the Annual CSCW (Computer Supported Collaborative Work) conference.

In the pre-conference event, Jonathan described the ongoing research in South Africa to highlight some environmental and contextual factors which may influence success and scope of future Social Media for Development (SM4D) initiatives.  Most of the conversations of the pre-conference event focused on the problem of how to approach social media inside the “traditional” Information & Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) paradigms.  When the same channels can be used for information search and social support, for commerce and for entertainment, for information diffusion and for non-hierarchical spontaneous organization, can traditional approaches to ICT4D keep pace?

These questions which are central to the Mobile internet study of the Global Impact Study, so Jonathan and Marion‘s preliminary interviews and engagements with teenagers in Cape Town were a helpful contribution to this overall discussion.

Download the full Notes on the interplay of mobile and fixed internet use by low-income teens in Cape Town paper.