Oct 01 2008

Technology-Enabled Development Hourglass: Micro-Finance Case Study

by at 2:47 am

Slide 1: The ideas in this presentation will form the core of my first fellowship paper. So, if you understand micro-finance, or ICT4D, better than I do, do share your feedback with me. I’ll be grateful.

Slide 2: I see the development process as an hourglass. At the top of the ‘development hourglass’ are the more privileged societies and the challenge here is to build engagement in the development process. At the bottom of the ‘development hourglass’ are the less privileged societies and the challenge here is to enable access to the development process. The challenge in the middle of the ‘development hourglass’ is to connect the top with the bottom via an institutional infrastructure and enable flow, a role that has been traditionally performed by development aid agencies. Continue Reading »

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Sep 27 2008

The Marketer Who Understood Social Media

by at 4:40 pm

Before I became the marketer who went off consumption, I was the marketer who understood social media.

Over the last two years, I have been fortunate to be included in conversations around social media thought and practice in India in multiple roles — as a traditional marketer who understood social media, as a blogger who wrote about social media, as an early adopter of new social media platforms, and as a connector of social media thinkers and practitioners. I think that I was able to play the last three roles primarily because of my first role. Much of my legitimacy as a thinker/ blogger and most of the connections I was able to make were rooted in my role as the custodian of a big brand that was engaging with the social media space in a meaningful way.

Over the last few months, my focus has moved away from social media marketing to other use cases of social media in developing countries, especially the use of social media for social change. As I explained in the introductory episode of my fellowship podcast, my research really lies at the intersection of three worlds that (surprisingly) don’t really understand each other — the web 2.0 world, the technology policy world, and the ICT4D world — and also borrows heavily from cultural studies.

It’s not surprising that even as my background as the marketer who understood social media biases my user-centric approach to the research, it hardly lends me any legitimacy in any of these three worlds. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Gaurav Mishra,Social Change,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sep 26 2008

A Framework to Think About Using Technology for Doing Good

by at 2:35 am

I was part of the audience at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York last week when Tim O’ Reilly gave an inspiring keynote on using technology to solve real world problems —

Since then, I have heard many people talk about using technology for doing good in conferences and meetups (Microsoft’s ICT4D Conference, Social Media Club DC, NetSquared DC).

I find it frustrating that people talk about using technology for doing good without any distinctions regarding either the nature of the technology or the purpose for which it is being used. Therefore, I have developed a framework to think about using technology for doing good. I understand that ‘technology’ is a very broad term, and I’m only talking about communications technology here.

A Framework to Think About Using Technology for Doing Good

Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Gaurav Mishra,Social Change,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 26 2008

How International Values Shape Communications Technologies Podcast – Episode 1

by at 12:03 am

In the introductory episode of our weekly fellowship podcast, Ben, Pavneet and I explain why our research on social media in BRIC countries is uniquely interdisciplinary, share the personal biases with which we are approaching our research, summarize what we have learned so far, and share our plans for the rest of the year.

The starting point of our research is to understand how differences in culture, access and language in BRIC countries impact the three core values of social media usage — collaboration, community and user generated content — across tools and devices. Pavneet’s focus is on the community and he explores two really important use cases for social media — consumer advocacy and civic engagement. Ben’s focus is on the individual and he explores issues of identity and privacy in the context of social media usage. My role is to pull it all together into a meaningful framework.

So, our research really lies at the intersection of three worlds that (surprisingly) don’t really understand each other — the web 2.0 world, the technology policy world, and the ICT4D world. But, beyond that, it’s really rooted in the tradition of cultural studies and borrows heavily from research related to business, government and development. Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,BRIC,Gaurav Mishra,Podcast,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 09 2008

Kentaro Toyama: Introduction to Information and Communication Technologies for Development

by at 7:45 pm

Kentaro Toyama, who leads the Technology for Emerging Markets research group at Microsoft Research India, writes a precise introduction to ICT for development as a guest editor for IEEE‘s Computer June 2008 edition (via James Utzschneider) —

On a planet with 1.2 billion Internet users, a far less fortunate 1.2 billion people survive on less than a dollar a day. The same technology that has transformed our lives—the lives of the wealthiest people on the planet—remains out of reach and irrelevant for the poorest. Continue Reading »

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Sep 09 2008

Register for Microsoft’s ICT for Development Conference in Washington DC

by at 6:21 pm

I believe that the most powerful application of social media is to help citizens self-organize themselves into virtual communities to work towards social change. In BRIC countries, where mobile penetration is much higher than PC penetration, such communities will need to be designed in an “access agnostic” manner, which means that the content/ community exists in the “cloud” and can be accessed by multiple mediums including websites, RSS feeds, voice portals and even text messages.

Microsoft's ICT for Development Conference

So, when I attend Microsoft’s ICT for Development Conference (see agenda) in Washington DC on September 22-23 2008, I’ll be interested to find out if development agency leaders, private sector practitioners, non-profits and activists share my enthusiasm for the use of social media for social change. Continue Reading »

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