31 August 2009

Culture and potential of social networks

It seems everybody is hot for Twitter, Facebook and their ilk. But what is their real potential for development-based communications? Who is using them, for what purpose?

I follow a bunch of interesting contributors on these networks, from UNEP and UNICEF reporting on the UN's operations in developing countries and conflict and disaster zones, to InvisibleTV, reporting on the US homeless. Their posts are interesting and sometimes motivating. But are they just preaching to the converted?

These organizations also follow my tweets; are they really interested in what I am saying? Are we having an interactive conversation? Are we together engaging more people, exploring issues and improving lives?

"What happens when millions of people engage in social networks? Online communities are not a new phenomenon, but the creation of large online meeting spaces marks a new era and new dimensions." Blogger and consultant Christian Kreutz looks at the cultures of social networks and their potential, on Web4Dev.