Our View of Social Media and Technology

Technology art

While reading Ferro and Zachry’s “Using Social Media for Collective Knowledge Making”, I ran across the statement that:

 Technology ranks high on the worldwide list of tools promising to foster economic growth, social well-being, and environmental sustainability, especially in the global south.

I began thinking of my personal “northern” view of social media and technology, and I personally view it as essential part of my lifestyle. Although I’m sure technology plays it’s part in the economy, I see it on a more personal level. I did some research to see how people in other countries viewed the social media and technology, and ran across this article titled “Around the World, Net Neutrality Is Not a Reality”. The article examined the general view of technology and social media in developing countries, and mentioned that in Kenya:

In the United States it’s practically free for you to get on Google and Facebook, as Wi-Fi is almost everywhere or cheap relative to income. Here, that’s not the case, It’s a different relationship to the Internet when you only get it on your phone, and you don’t have a traditional Internet connection at home or work.

For poorer people, Internet access will equal Facebook. That’s not the Internet—that’s being fodder for someone else’s ad-targeting business. That’s entrenching and amplifying existing inequalities and contributing to poverty of imagination—a crucial limitation on human life.

I found this article incredibly interesting and was wondering what technology and social media meant to you all?

References:

Talbot, D. (2014, January 20). In Developing Countries, Google and Facebook Already Defy Net Neutrality | MIT Technology Review. Retrieved November 10, 2014.

Posted on November 9, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I would be curious to know what the authors’ working definition of ‘net neutrality’ is. Currently, there is quite a bit of contention about net neutrality in the States, as large cable networks are trying to monetize internet speed (which has previously been a ‘neutral’ aspect).

    I think the authors had a good point, that not all internet access is equal. However, using Google and Facebook as primary examples may not accurately portray the complexity of internet accessibility hierarchy. In China, Facebook is blocked and Google is secondary to BaiDu (currently the most popular search engine in Asia). The former is for political reasons, and the latter simply because Google cannot adequately penetrate the Asian market (i.e China). Other forms of social media exist (TuDou, TaoBao, WeChat, WeiBo), and thrive within other culture’s markets.

    That being said, I’m rather confused about the statement that “For poorer people, Internet access will equal Facebook.” What did they mean by this? What countries was this in reference?

  2. I find it interesting that in other countries, people access the internet only through their phones (as said in the article you cited, and heard other places as well). Pew Global conducted an interesting survey about cell phone usage (http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/02/13/emerging-nations-embrace-internet-mobile-technology/) that had me thinking about how we as westerners use cell phones–forget smart phones, but just cell phone capabilities–in a certain way that other cultures do not. For example, in the Pew Global report, a few African countries use cell phones to send and receive payments. It just makes me think that cell phones are a tool, and we’ll use them to help us get what we need done.

  3. There is something to be said about the different ways cultures use technology, the internet, and social media. If necessity is the mother of all invention, then I would think that a culture other than the U.S. would devise a way to get more out of a cell/smartphone than we could.

    I can get online in any room in my house and up to 150′ in any direction away from my house. I have an email for work, school, friends, important communications, and one for things I sign up for that I know will send me spam. My laptop, iphone, one of my wife’s two laptops, her phone, and both our TV’s are the ways I can access the internet. On any device, I can get to any website in less than 3 seconds.

    Now consider a person that falls into any of the categories listed in the Pewglobal article. Do you think they have the same opportunity? Do you think they waste time on liking someone’s comment about last night’s Garth Brooks concert? Maybe, but I think they have figured out how to be much more efficient and effective with the time they spend online.

  4. I could not imagine a world that only allowed me to view the Internet on a mobile device. I can’t stand the limitations of mobile devices when I need to fill out online forms or read lengthy documents. I like to relax in my chair with a giant, high definition monitor, consuming the Internet at my leisure. I don’t like to be tied to my phone and I find no positive feelings in consuming Internet on a mobile device. A world that only allowed people to access the Internet using a mobile device would be annoying and counterproductive to the speeds at which technology allows us to work.

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