SAGE, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp, 112-116, 2012, DOI: 10.1177/0306422012466804
5 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2013
Date Written: December 7, 2012
Technology experts and activists have for years attempted to bridge the gap between those with access to technology and those without, using innovative products and initiatives, like the $100 laptop developed by the organization One Laptop per Child. But it takes more than a computer to bridge the gap. The mobile phone is emerging as a powerful tool for social engagement; mobile technology and social media applications are playing a vital role in giving excluded groups a voice. And mobile technologies are almost ubiquitous. Around 70 per cent of mobile phone users are in developing countries, mostly in the global South, according to the UN agency the International Telecommunications Union. Mobile phones are the first telecommunications technology in history to have more users in the developing rather than developed world – with no legacy infrastructure to service, new providers are jumping straight to mobile. Advances in technology have made mobile phones an indispensable part of development. New mobile platforms are simple and portable. They require only simple text messaging capability to be transformed into tools for a host of activities, from providing logistical support in natural disasters to tracking violence.
Keywords: digital divide, internet, social media, mobile technology
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