Some SocMed Updates

Just to let you know, if you missed my tweets, I’ve now got my survey about Twitter finished to a point that I’m happy with. The link is here. Please pass it on to anyone you think may be interested – people who use Twitter or consume news regularly, would be preferable. I am looking to get 100-200 responses so I’d be really grateful if you could help me out.

In semi-related news, one of my tutors at University led a study, ‘Unplugged’ – where students were asked to participate in a ‘media blackout’ (no phones, ipods, computers etc) – and here are some of the results. I find it particularly interesting that there appears to be no differentiation in young people between a genuine news outlet like the BBC and, for example, a blog or something written on Facebook. So news is becoming more and more integrated into our lives without us really acknowledging consciously that it is news. We see it, we hear it, we live it. And we don’t really think too much about where it’s coming from – which leads me to believe there’s a potential danger here, of taking everything at face value.

The other point I wanted to pick up on – though not to do with news – is the idea of being ‘digital natives’. My generation have grown up around technology, and with the evolution of the internet and connectivity, there is no sense of geographical boundaries in day-to-day life. I have friends in Australia, America, Ireland… Some I’ve never met, some I never will – but there’s rarely any sense of them being ‘far away’. I know what they’re doing and I don’t feel like there is a huge distance between us; in fact, there’s a (perhaps false?) sense of closeness that comes from being freely contactable 24/7 through social media, email, etc. And where we generally regarded other continents like Africa or Asia – countries we would consider 2nd or 3rd world countries – to be ‘far behind’ technologically; to be ‘offline’ or out of the loop – they really aren’t. In fact, in their developments they have often skipped over really important phases that we went through to get where we are now.

The best example I can think of is mobile banking in Africa, because I know more about it – whereas we consider mobile banking to be in the sense that you ring up and organise your finances on the phone, theirs is different. From what I understand, the idea of mobile banking in Africa – which is rapidly taking off and will no doubt be huge soon – is that instead of walking to your local bank, which may be miles away, you can do your banking through your local newsagent in the village, through your phone. Almost like phone credit. You can transfer phone credit to your bank and get credit out etc, all through one person in your village. I’m not sure if I’ve understood it entirely but that’s what I see to be the case. It’s an amazing idea, and all the phone companies over there are beginning to adopt that now. We have nothing like that here – they totally leapfrogged our developments in phone lines etc and created entirely new ways of dealing with their problems.

Thanks to the internet and other technology that we can’t bear to be parted with, the world is well and truly a “global village”. We’re no longer ‘British’ – we are global citizens.


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