Does Facebook Have Any International Development Impact?

Published on: May 04 2011 by Wayan Vota

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In response to last week’s post about Facebook’s usage in Africa doubling every 7 months, Victor van R, a Dutch ICT4D researcher asked the following pertinent question: Is there any development impact of FB? I immediately thought of at least 3 development impacts we can expect from Facebook’s amazingly fast adoption rate.

ICT Adoption

As I’ve pointed out before, Facebook is driving ICT adoption in Africa by making technology a primary means of communication – for work, pleasure, or politics. All the chatter about Facebook accounts is driving new customers to invest in smartphones for Facebook 0 or computers and Internet connectivity for the real deal. “I need to get Facebook,” is becoming a common refrain at retail technology stores of all types.

Literacy

Facebook is driving both ICT and actual language literacy. By having a relevant draw for people to connect, FB is the carrot which has everyone from children to grandparents learning new digital tools. An in schools, there are at least 4 reasons why Facebook is an educational tool: language development, interpersonal skills, group collaboration, and ICT skills.

Community

Physical logistics in Africa is a challenge we all know and face daily. Not so much online. On FB, you can declare your candidacy and reach over a million countrymen without even leaving your house. Soon enough, I expect to see civil society organizations in sub-Sahara Africa learning from North Africa’s revolutions to plan their own regime changes – governments already have.

Wayan Vota is a Senior Mobile Advisor at FHI 360 and is a regular contributor to ICTworks. He co-founded ICTworks, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, Technology Salon, Educational Technology Debate, OLPC News, Kurante, and a few other things.
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One Comment to “Does Facebook Have Any International Development Impact?”

  1. Mike McKay says:

    We have a facebook page for the Wireless Access for Health project in the Philippines. They share information on the wall and use the chat feature to do live tech support for the electronic medical record. We should use it more!

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