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New Perspectives and Possible Limitations By Veronica Usacheva Institute for African Studies, Moscow.

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Presentation on theme: "New Perspectives and Possible Limitations By Veronica Usacheva Institute for African Studies, Moscow."— Presentation transcript:

1 New Perspectives and Possible Limitations By Veronica Usacheva Institute for African Studies, Moscow

2 Comparing social media and industrial/traditional media Cost of Operation: Social media is generally cheaper over conventional media. Anyone needs only to connect online to publish or transmit information. Area of Coverage: Social media is not limited to publishing or accessing information within local scale, its scope is really wide and boundless. Accessibility and Usability: Social media is the most user- friendly among all other social media in terms of both publishing and sharing information. Real-Time Information Transmission: Social media is the fastest way to convey and receive information globally. Information Modification: Social media provides easiest access to modify information and make it even better.

3 Facebook users

4 How Africa Tweets

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6 African Social Media Leaders Afrigator (a South African aggregator of African blogs and news), Zoopy (a YouTube/Flickr like service also out of South Africa) Ushahidi (an SMS crisis reporting and mapping engine from Kenya).

7 Ushahidi, which means "testimony" in Swahili, was built in the aftermath of the Kenyan 2008 elections Ushahidi was used to monitor earthquakes in Haiti and Chile Crowd sourcing (people as a source of information): everybody can send information to the map (no need in blog or Internet) Accumulation of information from different sources (mass media, blogs, crowd-sourcing) through map and categories Everybody can use this platform

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16 “Ushahidi saves people. Now – in Russia” Project Crisis Mapping. Fires in Russia Russian Newspaper “Novaya Gazeta”

17 Preliminary findings: Mainstream media reported actual death count before citizen journalists; however, on many accounts, mainstream media did not report on incidents leading to actual deaths, i.e., early warning signs; Citizen journalist reports and Ushahidi reports did not overlap geographically with mainstream media reports; Citizen journalists tended to report as soon as violence started, well before mainstream media; Many citizen journalist bloggers used real-time updates sent to them via SMS, primarily from rural areas; Citizen journalism reports declined after the launch of Ushahidi; Ushahidi reports document an important number of violent events not reported by the mainstream media and citizen journalists; Contrary to news media and citizen journalist reports, Ushahidi data always had specific location information; Ushahidi reports also covered a wider geographical area than both mainstream news and citizen journalist bloggers. Meier, Patrick and Kate Brodock (2008). “Crisis Mapping Kenya’s Election Violence: Comparing Mainstream News, Citizen Journalism and Ushahidi.”, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University: Boston.

18 Anand Giridharadas (New York Times): “History is now a draft, not a finished product, but a work in progress—and one that is now written (and corrected) by the crowd”. Anand adds, “They say that history is written by the victors. But now, before the victors win, there is a fresh chance to scream out, with a text message that will not vanish.” “Until the lions have their own historians,” begins an African proverb, “the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

19 Thank you!


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