SNS Traffic Worldwide

Hopefully our joint research on ICT in Uganda and particularly my personal research-focus on internet use (see below) will add to this…I’m wondering: what colour will Uganda get?!

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SNS Traffic Worldwide

Digital Divide: Citizen journalism in Africa

‘Bring the world to Africa and bring Africa to the world.’ (Gisel Hiscock, speaking at Surprising Africa)

Gisel Hiscock, one of speakers at the Surprising Africa conference, held a lecture about Google’s interest in giving information-access to the one billion Africans. The Africans need a way to share their information with the rest of the world: they need a voice. According to Hiscock the focus should be on developing technologies that answer local needs, empowering communities and in this way achieving the most. She finds Africa interesting because of it’s innovative character. Another speaker, Ethan Zuckerman, shares this interest: ‘A hammer isn’t a hammer in Africa. In the West a hammer is solely a tool to hit nails, in Africa they use it to do a lot more.’ Surely this is a necessity due to poverty, but nonetheless a capacity that has great potential in using new technologies. His presentation was far more interesting than the Google-presentation Hiscock came up with, since the latter seemed to be more interested in putting Google on a shiny pedestal instead of discussing relevant issues. Continue reading

Twitter as Discourse

On a first encounter with Twitter, one may understandably think: ‘what are these twittering twats tweeting about!’ The twats bother each other constantly with utterances too short to be meaningful. A common reply is: Just try it for yourself!

Twitter, a micro blogging platform, is not about individuals expressing their personalities or giving ground breaking analyses. Twitter is about sharing everyday thoughts over a period of time. These thoughts, written down in one or two sentences, are not interesting until you see them in the greater context, which is created over time. The attraction here does not lie in the content of these messages, but it’s the creative complement or personal touch to the already-going-on narrative that is the interesting and fun part. The story is to be part of the story. Continue reading

Superdudes/Sugababes: Guilty or not guilty?

Superdudes.nl and Sugababes.nl, two related websites, together form one of the biggest social networking sites in the Netherlands. Almost 60% of all the youngsters between 13 and 18 have created a profile at least once. Superdudes, not very surprisingly, focuses on boys, whereas Sugababes is the girl variant. The aim is to become popular, by creating a profile and uploading your hottest, sweetest and sexiest photo’s. The way to achieve popularity is by collecting as many kudos as possible. Kudos are signs of appreciation, which are usually reciprocally given and received by peers.

Since the site is divided into a blue site for the boys and a pink one for the girls, it could hardly be bold to state that the site enforces stereotypical thinking about men and women. After a small investigation it has become obvious to me that brains don’t matter here. As a man you need to look tough, but show a soft side as well, have short hair and carry a sixpack under your shirt. The girls, usually sarcely dressed, need to be bored with everything, have long hair, and wear lots of lipstick. We can imagine parents wondering whether all this is really necessary and possibly are shocked when they see their children putting themselves on display in such shallow stereotypical positions. But do we know what’s really going on there? Continue reading

Webkare: a new web 2.0 application

Last week a new sort of web 2.0 application was launched in Japan. Web-Kare (Web-Boyfriend) is a social networking site for Japanese girls, which allows the girls to date a virtual boyfriend. There are four cartoon boys to choose from, and by interacting and flirting with these virtual boys, a relationship with one of them can be created. According to TechCrunch the site ‘..is a huge hit over here [Japan]..’, maybe a bit exaggerated, since those ten thousand members are part of a country where 130 million people live. Nonetheless, the concept is very interesting. Continue reading

Once You’re Luck, Twice You’re Good: Book Review

Sarah Lacey, columnist for BusinessWeek, thoroughly describes the stories of young entrepreneurs who created groundbreaking new websites such as Facebook and YouTube, giving an insiders view into the world of entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. In the book she actually manages to describe the world of offices and conferences in a rather exciting way; Silicon Valley is depicted as if it were a war zone in which entrepreneurs rise and fall and millions are easily spent. Lacey gets along pretty well with the rich fellas in her book… Continue reading