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 908 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.



Mobiles for Women, Part Two: The Darker Side

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on May 17, 2011

Targeting women with mobile phones and mobile-based projects can bring great benefits and opportunities, as we outlined in Part 1 of our series on women and mobiles. But, there is a “darker side” to this world, which includes changes in gender relations and power dynamic, a potential increase in violence, substitution of money or a change in expenditures, invasion of privacy, and increased control by a male partner.

Changes in Gender Relations and Power Dynamics

When the traditional social dynamic of a household is patriarchal, introducing a mobile phone into the hands of the woman can challenge the existing gender structure. Trina DasGupta, mWomen Programme Director for the GSMA Development Fund, writes in an e-mail to, “threats to the status quo have sometimes been viewed negatively by community leaders and we have seen examples of this gender discrimination manifesting itself when women gain greater access to empowering tools, such as the Internet or mobile phones.”  

Women themselves may not agree. The GRACE project study in Kenya, for example, finds that women do not perceive mobiles at tools for males. “Unlike our literature review that suggested that the mobile phone is culturally construed as a male tool, the women entrepreneurs did not perceive the phone as such. However, the study does indicate that usage of the phone is culturally construed, with an increase in responsibilities and empowerment for one or other profession socially construed as women’s work.”

A paper by Aramanzan Madanda looks at gender relations and ICT adoption in Uganda (the work will soon be published in book format) and finds that “existing gender structures have been dented and that patriarchy is stressed by adoption of the technologies especially mobile phones leading to transformation of gender relations to an extent.”  

Mobiles for Women. Part 1: The Good.

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on May 11, 2011

A village in India last year banned unmarried women from using mobile phones for fear they would arrange forbidden marriages. The village council suspected young men and women were secretly calling one another to arrange to elope. Meanwhile, unmarried men could use mobile phones under parental supervision.

As mobile penetration increases across the developing world, the entry of mobile phones in the hands of women causes reactions. In many cases, mobile phone ownership empowers women in myriad ways: economic gains, increased access to information, greater autonomy and social empowerment, and a greater sense of security and safety.

But, there is a darker side. Targeting women with mobile phones can cause changes in gender dynamics and family expenditures and may relate to increases in domestic violence, invasion of privacy, or control by a male partner.

The Mobile Minute: African Mobile Subscriptions, Twitter's Growth, and Explaining Near-Field Communication

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Apr 12, 2011

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on African technology use, an interview with txteagle's Nathen Eagle, the 155 millions tweets that are posted on Twitter each day, a look at why technology isn't a panacea, and the future of near-field communication applications for smartphones.

Mobile Minute

April Events Roundup

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Apr 01, 2011

What's happening in the world of mobiles? Check out the MobileActive event calendar for the best conferences, events and developer meetings happening this month!

  • 1 April, Mobile Security Hackday (New York City, USA): It's no joke, MobileActive is hosting a hackday in our new digs. This casual, day-long event will help you better understand mobile and digital network security as we discuss tools for enhanced security, profile open-source tools and allow time to talk about security needs and issues.
  • 6-8 April, The Mobile Learning Experience (Phoenix, USA): Interested in learning how apps and mobile devices can be used in K-12 classrooms? The Mobile Learning experience is a three-day event that focuses on everything from using apps to improve writing to incorporating mobile devices into traditional teaching.
  • 6-7 April, M-Commerce World Summit 2011 (Singapore): The M-Commerence World Summit looks at mobile money transfers and payments, mobile remittances, mobile banking (including among unbanked populations) and microfinance services.
  • 8-9 April, National Conference for Media Reform 2011 (Boston, USA): This conference brings together experts in the fields of media, technology and democracy to look at how all three can be used to create better, more open systems. Themes include: Policy and Politics, Social Justice and Movement Building, Journalism and Public Media, Media Makers & Culture and the Arts, and Technology and Innovation.

Futures of Technology in Africa

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Mar 09, 2011
Futures of Technology in Africa data sheet 2045 Views
Grosskurth, Jasper
Publication Date: 
Jan 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Technology holds many promises as a driver of positive changes, as a tool to address the problems and as an enabler to fulfil the potential. Economic development requires modern technology and technology plays an important role in most strategies for alleviating hunger and poverty. Technology can reduce transaction costs, save lives, facilitate education, strengthen entrepreneurship, provide access to markets and help to deliver basic services, ranging from water and sanitation to public administration. However, the same technology can also be destructive and a cause of problems. Some technological developments can be facilitated or managed, others happen and require an adequate response.

It is this manifold interrelation of technology with its environment that makes exploring the future of technology so interesting and valuable. There is a need to explore how technology in Africa will or might evolve; to discuss the drivers and the obstacles, the issues technology might resolve and the problems it might cause; to identify how technology changes society and how African societies might change global technology. These are big and complex questions and the STT foresight project, which ends with this publication, is a contribution to this discussion that is still in its infancy with respect to Africa.

Top Ten Tips for Working with Operators (Part Two)

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on Jan 14, 2011

In part one of "How to Work With Operators," we investigated key considerations for mobile-for-change projects that, for better or worse, have to deal with mobile operations. In this second part of the series we look at the ten top tips for a successful relationship. While there is no one-size fits all approach or recommendation for a successful relationship, here are some tips for approaching, building, and sustaining a solid business relationship with a mobile provider.

Lessons from Haiti

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on Jan 11, 2011

A new report from the Knight Foundation analyzes how new technologies were used to aid in the recovery of the earthquake in Haiti. The report -- Media, Information Systems and Communities: Lessons from Haiti -- suggests that the events mark "the beginning of a new culture in disaster relief" in which new and hybrid technologies, including mobile phones, are used to support rescue and relief efforts.

The report mentions a numnber of uses of mobile technology, including:

  • Interactive maps and SMS helped search-and-rescue teams find people in need of supplies
  • SMS messages broadcast critical information to Haitians
  • Hybrid approaches in which mobile technology was used in conjunction with radio

The authors have three main observations:

Lessons from Haiti Report

Lessons from Haiti data sheet 2958 Views
Global Regions:
Countries: Haiti

Africa - on the Road to Technology Perdition?

Posted by KatrinVerclas on May 21, 2010

This article was written by Bright Simons, Director at IMANI-Ghana and President of the mPedigree Network. It is re-posted here with permission.

Let’s face it: Africa is on the downward slope to perdition as far as technology is concerned.

Many people who are not directly confronted with this reality on the continent are usually lured into a false sense that things are looking up because of the fountain of good news that is the telecom sector.

The truth though is that the seeming proliferation of ICT success stories across the continent masks the real picture, which is one of a splattering of embers in a desolate patch of darkness.

For a casual browse through the latest International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ICT Development Index for instance should force you to conclude that ICT offers Africa no relief from its chronic state of technological pathology.

January Events Round-Up

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jan 04, 2010

The new year is kicking off with an assortment of events on the development and techie sides. Here are some of the events that we found to be noteworthy:

Mobile Tech Salon,  20 January, New York: Hosted by, it's a regular gathering of people passionate about mobile technology for social change. Motto:  We bring the beer (and wine)!  Bring your projects, passions, tools, and conversation. This month's theme:  Mobile Campaigning and Tools on a Shoestring: What is Possible?  Advisable?

International CES 7-10 January, Las Vegas, USA: CES is the world's largest technology trade show, attracting more than 2,500 exhibitors and showcasing over 20,000 new products.

CrisisCamp Ignite Session hosted by the World Bank - Friday, June 12 7pm

Posted by Heather Blanchard on Jun 11, 2009

You are invited to CrisisCamp Ignite Session at the World Bank!

CrisisCamp DC is part of a global movement who is bringing together volunteers, academia, non-profits, companies and government officials to share best practices and lessons learned to advocate for further use of technology and telecommunications to assist citizens and communities during crisis. 

The Humanitarian Technology Challenge: In Search of Innovative Solutions

Posted by sharakarasic on Nov 01, 2008

On day two of the MobileActive ’08 conference, I attended The Humanitarian Technology Challenge: In Search of Innovative Solutions presented by Claire Thwaites, who heads the technology partnership between Vodaphone and the UN Foundation.

Thwaites said that their goal is to find technology solutions to humanitarian challenges. The IEEE lists five key challenges which Thwaites presented:

Reliable Electricity

Needs: Power availability for electronic devices, including low power stationary facilities, rugged mobile power supplies for emergency settings, mechanical transducers, passive generation devices that charge as you walk. Renewable energy hubs are preferred, as well as the use of intermediate field offices as data relay points.

Data Connectivity of Rural Health District Offices

Needs: Exchange data between central health facilities and remote field offices. Two-way transmission – upload/download, data could be batched for daily transfer, also useful for emergency alerts and outbreak alerts, less expensive service and higher bandwidth needed, maps of existing connectivity

SMS smoking cessation program to Launch in LGBT Las Vegas community

Posted by JSHolly on Dec 12, 2007

A first of its kind program for LGBTs in Las Vegas will begin this month. SMS and website support will be provided to individuals who opt in to the program. There is a 70% smoking prevalence among gays and lesbians in Las Vegas and So Crush SMS will attempt to lower that rate by providing indivuals with quitting tips and links to resources via text message on a weekly basis. "We're very excited about this program. One element that separates our program from others is that we will be individually responding to each incoming message. Canned responses will only be used to identify the group new opt ins are place in. Once in a group, the message correspondence becomes individualized." Jonathan Holly, Program Developer

Mobile phones and new media in pro-Tibet protests

Posted by John.L.German on Aug 11, 2007

Of the hundreds of mainstream-media news stories around the world on Wednesday August 8, 2007, about the pro-Tibet protest in China this week, the one copied below focused on the role of information and communication technologies in a compelling, vivid, and memorable way.

I hope that readers will know where this story could be taken and how it could be highlighted and used to maximum effect as an example of outstanding innovative use of free new-media tools to achieve social change -- feel free to do that, or let me know what should be done.

Microsoft hits 'cybersquatters'

Posted by admin on Mar 14, 2007

World's largest software maker is pursuing companies who register variations of its key brands.

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Rampant piracy threatens PC games

Posted by admin on Mar 14, 2007

Piracy is threatening the future of the PC games industry, says a leading games developer.

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Mobile focus for hi-tech Hanover

Posted by admin on Mar 14, 2007

Hanover is bracing itself for an influx of hi-tech firms and fans who will be in town for the giant Cebit show.

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Sunderland wins digital challenge

Posted by admin on Mar 14, 2007

UK city wins a government competition to find ways for technology to tackle social exclusion.

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The political power of the network

Posted by admin on Feb 27, 2007

Online campaigns and e-petitions are only the beginning of what the net can do to politics, argues Bill Thompson.

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