Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Technology: blogging and development

I searched to find out about the number of people blogging in the South. The blogherald reports on over 50 million blogs in April 2005. Counting local services it's reported that there are 2 million in China, 1 million in South America and an insignificant number in Africa, though there is a growing number of bloggers in South Africa (must be due to Brenda who started there :)).

BlogAfrica is a collection of weblogs by Africans, both on the continent and living in the diaspora, as well as non-Africans writing about Africa and is reported to be undergoing a move from allafrica, a news site to Global Voices Online (the world is talking are you listening?).
In KM4Dev someone linked to Will blogs change development thinking? by Tim Harford and Pablo Halkyard (if I knew the trackback function I could use it, I'm really lazy in finding out these kind of things, I still have to start using RSS feeds). Anyhow, they are quite optimistic and think blogging can improve the quality of debate. The technology makes it easy to see who is citing similar ideas to you. New research and opinion-forming analysis is quickly disseminated and discussed. They argue it changes the terms of the development debate too. Being a big organisation counts for very little, what counts is quick, relevant content. They conclude by stating people all over the world are talking , but only now we can hear what they're saying.

Such an optimistic view almost leads me to place a more critical remark: all tourists flying all over the world do not automatically listen to a local view, and often our own views gets confirmed because of the process of selective interpretations which works to confirm our own assumptions. See Ladder of inference. So wouldn't that be even more true for blogger opinions from the south (that we end up reading only the blogs which confirm what we already believe?). Uhm, have to start reading myself (but time?!).


Stephen said...

Hi Joitske, i am planning to facilitate a workshop on local content development for telecentre managers. Do you know of any hand book or links to how to develop locally relevant content?

Stephen, Ghana

Joitske said...

Hi Stephen, I gave a few resources via twitter. Did you receive them? You may also go through my bookmarks on telecentres at http://www.delicious.com/Joitske/telecentres

Good luck!