Are Mobile Phones Changing Social Networks? A Longitudinal Study Of Core Networks In Kerala

Posted by VivianOnano on Nov 16, 2011
Are Mobile Phones Changing Social Networks? A Longitudinal Study Of Core Networks In Kerala data sheet 901 Views
Antony Palackal,Paul Nyaga Mbatia,Dan-Bright Dzorgbo,Ricardo B. Duque,Marcus Antonius Ynalvez,Wesley M. Shrum.
Publication Date: 
Mar 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Mobile telephony has diffused more rapidly than any Indian technology in recent memory, yet systematic studies of its impact are rare, focusing on technological rather than social change. We employ network surveys of separate groups of Kerala residents in 2002 and again in 2007 to examine recent shifts in mobile usage patterns and social relationships.

Results show (1) near saturation of mobiles among both the professionals and nonprofessionals sampled, (2) a decrease in the number of social linkages across tie types and physical locations, and (3) a shift towards friends and family but away from work relationships in the core networks of Malayalis.

We interpret these findings as support for the bounded solidarity thesis of remote communication that emphasizes social insulation and network closure as mobiles shield individuals from their wider surroundings.



Citizens in @ction: Collaboration, Participatory Democracy and Freedom of Information

Posted by VivianOnano on Jun 06, 2011
Citizens in @ction: Collaboration, Participatory Democracy and Freedom of Information data sheet 1067 Views
Nugroho, Yanuar
Publication Date: 
Mar 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The purpose of this research is to empirically examine the ways in which Indonesian civil society organisations and groups engage in civic activism by means of the use of Mobile phones, Internet and social media; and how this civic engagement impacts upon the shaping of civil society in Indonesia.

With technology and its use continuously shifting and being shaped, the appropriation of the Internet and social media in Indonesian civil society is more about process than outcome. The technologies are continuously modified and adapted to bring them into alignment with the organisations’ routines. ‘Citizens in action’ are therefore never fixed in format, but rather ‘constituted and reconstituted’ through the everyday practices of the civil society groups and communities involving citizens and activists alike in ongoing actions – where technology serves as a convivial means.

The Mobile Minute: Explaining Egypt's Internet Blackout, Bad News for M-Banking Retention, and the Rise of Android

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Feb 07, 2011

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on how the Egyptian government shut down the country's Internet and mobile services, work-arounds for communicating during a government-ordered Internet blackout, problems with keeping customers engaged in mobile banking and payment services, Android's new place as the top-selling mobile operating system in the world, and a prediction for huge increases in mobile data traffic by 2015.

  • In the aftermath of the Egyptian telecommunications blackout, ArsTechnica looked at both how the Egyptian government managed to limit the country's communications so effectively (mainly through ordering major ISPs and Telcos to shut off service) and if a government-mandated Internet/mobile lockdown could be recreated in other countries. In related news, has created a wiki on how to communicate if the government limits/shuts down Internet access.
  • Vodafone announced that the Egyptian government invoked emergency powers and forced it and the other telcom providers in Egypt to send pro-government text messages to Egyptian subscribers. In a press release, Vodafone claims that the messages were not scripted by Vodafone, and that although they protested the government's involvement, they "do not have the ability to respond to the authorities on their content." Since then, a much-nedeed debate has begun on the responsibility of telcoms to resist this interference.

The Role of Digital Networked Technologies in the Ukrainian Orange Revolution

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Sep 16, 2010
The Role of Digital Networked Technologies in the Ukrainian Orange Revolution data sheet 2267 Views
Joshua Goldstein
Publication Date: 
Dec 2007
Publication Type: 

This working paper is part of a series examining how the Internet influences democracy. This report is a narrative case study that examines the role of the Internet and mobile phones during Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution. The first section describes the online citizen journalists who reported many stories left untouched by "self-censored" mainstream journalists. The second section investigates the use of digital networked technologies by pro-democracy organizers. This case study concludes with the statement that the Internet and mobile phones made a wide range of activities easier, however the Orange Revolution was largely made possible by savvy activists and journalists wililng to take risks to improve their country.

The Mobile Minute: YouTube's Mobile Site, News Orgs' Failure to Capitalize on Apps, and North Korean Mobile Ownership

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Aug 25, 2010

The Mobile Minute is here to bring you news about YouTube's new mobile site, 4G wireless networks in Russia, mobile phone ownership growth in North Korea, apps and the future of news journalism, and the New York Times' look at the growth of the web. 

Networked Activism

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jun 29, 2010
Networked Activism data sheet 1798 Views
Land, Molly Beutz
Publication Date: 
Aug 2009
Publication Type: 
Journal article

The same technologies that groups of ordinary citizens are using to write operating systems and encyclopedias are fostering a quiet revolution in another area - social activism. On websites such as and Wikipedia, citizens are forming groups to report on human rights violations and organize email writing campaigns, activities formerly the prerogative of professionals. This article considers whether the participatory potential of technology can be used to mobilize ordinary citizens in the work of human rights advocacy.

Existing online advocacy efforts reveal a de facto inverse relationship between broad mobilization and deep participation. Large groups mobilize many individuals, but each of those individuals has only a limited ability to participate in decisions about the group’s goals or methods. Thus, although we currently have the tools necessary for individuals to engage in advocacy without the need for professional organizations, we are still far from realizing an ideal of fully decentralized, user-generated activism.

Drawing on the insights of network theory, the article proposes a model of “networked activism” that would help ensure both deep participation and broad mobilization by encouraging the formation of highly participatory small groups while providing opportunities for those small groups to connect with one another. Drawing on a series of interviews with human rights and other civil society organizations, the article recommends specific design elements that might foster a model of networked activism. The article concludes that although online activism is unlikely to replace some of the functions served by human rights organizations, efforts to create synergies between traditional and online efforts have the potential to provide avenues for real, meaningful, and effective citizen participation in human rights advocacy.

AudienceScapes Investigates How the World Stays Informed

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Apr 20, 2010

Finding data on media consumption can be difficult, but the real trouble comes in interpreting it – what does it mean if people in one country get most of their news from radio, while in another from television? How are mobile phones changing the media and communications landscape? How can this data be used to help keep the greatest number of people informed? And why does this information matter?

AudienceScapes, a project of InterMedia, tracks media and ICT consumption in developing countries around the world. Currently the site has detailed information about Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Columbia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Peru. The site is a useful resource for detailed breakdowns on how different communities are using and consuming media.

AudienceScapes Investigates How the World Stays Informed data sheet 5019 Views
Countries: Colombia Ghana Guatemala Kenya Nicaragua Peru Sierra Leone Uganda

DakNet: Rethinking Connectivity in Developing Nations

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Dec 14, 2009
DakNet: Rethinking Connectivity in Developing Nations data sheet 4457 Views
Alex (Sandy) Pentland, asynchronous connectivity, ad hoc network, Richard Fletcher, Amir Hasson
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

In short, the goal of “broadband connectivity for everyone” has been shelved in favor of cutting back to the minimum possible standard telephone ser- vice in the mistaken belief that this is the cheapest way to provide connectivity. This compromise is particularly tragic given recent advances in wireless technology, which make running a copper line to an analog telephone far more expensive than broad- band wireless Internet connectivity. Rather than backpedal on the goal of connecting everyone, society should be thinking, How can we establish the kernel of a user network that will grow seamlessly as the village’s economics develop? In other words, what is the basis for a progressive, market-driven migration from government seed services—e-governance—to universal broadband connectivity that local users will pay for?

DakNet, an ad hoc network that uses wireless technology to provide asynchronous digital connectivity, is evidence that the marriage of wireless and asynchronous service may indeed be that kernel—the beginning of a road to universal broad-band connectivity. Developed by MIT Media Lab researchers, DakNet has been successfully deployed in remote parts of both India and Cambodia at a cost two orders of magnitude less than that of traditional landline solutions. Villagers now get affordable Internet services—and they’re using them. As one man in a small village outside of New Delhi remarked, “This is better than a telephone!”

Spoken Web

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Aug 31, 2009
Spoken Web data sheet 5166 Views
Organization that developed the Tool: 
Main Contact: 
Arun Kumar
Problem or Need: 

The World Wide Web enabled quick and easy information dissemination and brought about fundamental changes to various aspects of our lives. However, a very large number of people, mostly in developing regions, are still untouched by this revolution. Compared to PCs, the primary access mechanism to the WWW, mobile phones have made a phenomenal penetration into this population segment. Low cost of ownership, the simple user interface consisting of a small keyboard, limited menu and voice-based access contribute to the success of mobile phones with the less literate. However, apart from basic voice communication, these people are not being able to exploit the benefits of information and services available to WWW users. Spoken Web is designed to provide the benefits of IT to the underprivileged population in developing countries who are characterized by illiteracy and poverty.

Main Contact Email : 
Brief Description: 

Spoken Web is an entire platform that lets ordinary phone subscribers create and deploy their own applications and services over a simple phone call. It can be used to proliferate IT information and transactional services to masses on existing IT/Telecom infrastructure. It requires no additional cost of ownership to end users other than an ordinary phone.

Tool Category: 
App resides and runs on a server
Key Features : 
  • Creation and deployment of voice apps
  • Reaching out to masses on existing infrastructure


Main Services: 
Stand-alone Application
Tool Maturity: 
Under development/pre-launch
All phones -- Voice
Current Version: 
Program/Code Language: 
Number of Current End Users: 
Number of current beneficiaries: 
Languages supported: 
Handsets/devices supported: 
All voice-capable phones.
Article in the Economic Times:
Is the Tool's Code Available?: 
Is an API available to interface with your tool?: 

A Global Empirical Evaluation of New Communication Technology Use and Democratic Tendency

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jun 25, 2009
A Global Empirical Evaluation of New Communication Technology Use and Democratic Tendency data sheet 4882 Views
Stodden, Victoria; Meier, Patrick
Publication Date: 
Apr 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Is the dramatic increase in Internet use associated with a commensurate rise in democracy? Few previous studies have drawn on multiple perception-based measures of governance to assess the Internet’s effects on the process of democratization. This paper uses perception-based time series data on “Voice & Accountability,” “Political Stability,” and “Rule of Law” to pro- vide insights into democratic tendency. The results of regression analysis suggest that the level of “Voice & Accountability” in a country increases with Internet use, while the level of “Political Stability” decreases with increasing Internet use.


Additionally, Internet use was found to increase significantly for countries with increasing levels of “Voice & Accountability.” In contrast, “Rule of Law” was not significantly affected by a country’s level of Internet use. Increasing cell phone use did not seem to affect either “Voice & Accountability,” “Political Stability” or “Rule of Law.” In turn, cell phone use was not affected by any of these three measures of democratic tendency. When limiting our analysis to autocratic regimes, we noted a significant negative effect of Internet and cell phone use on “Political Stability” and found that the “Rule of Law” and “Political Stability” metrics drove ICT adoption.