By Eric Zan
Smith et al. in anOpen Development: A New Theory for ICT4D explore the potential of openness for the developing world1. Taking their inspiration from the ethos of the free and open source movement, openness refers to the free access and modification ofinformation inan environment of participation. The growing excitement behind the movement and the proliferation of its enabling technologies, dubbed Web 2.0, have given rise to what this could mean for the development agenda. The idea is that when networked activities are enabled, transformative results can occur through the participation and collaboration of a more inclusive community. But how does this actually happen and how can it be improved?
Social Media, Development and A2J
By Crysta Highfield
Social media, defined by its interactive nature and user-generated content, has largely been a tool and a toy for the wealthy and bored. Blogs, photo sharing sites, and online social networking sites have allowed peers (and increasingly organizations and companies) to share thoughts, messages, information, images, and videos.
Development agencies have been utilizing social media for years, using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to publicize their vision, purpose, and activities; spread news; build support; attract volunteers and donors; and engage with interested segments of the population. Of humanitarian agencies, UNICEF is the most ‘liked’ on Facebook (1.2 million+) and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is the most ‘followed’ on Twitter (1.2 million+) with the American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and the World Food Program among others also having substantial social media followings.
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