Recent Projects: Media Theories & Mobile Phone Economics

I’ve just come back from re:publica 11 with a hunch of impressions. I’ve talked to a lot of people, and I realize that living in Amsterdam, I miss this bustling net politics scene being part of which I enjoyed in Berlin. I will try to write a bit on my impressions later, but due to my studies that might take a while. However, I wanted to post a short note about what I’ve been up to lately.

As many of you will have noticed, this blog has become rather silent lately. There are multiple reasons for that, but one is certainly that I have taken some time to focus on two academic publications for a book called “Disruptive Technologies, Innovation and Global Redesign: Emerging Implications”, which is edited by Ndubuisi Ekekwe of the African Institute of Technology and Nazrul Islam of Aberystwyth University.

Together with Bruce Mutsvairo, who’s a PhD candidate at the University of Hull (and a lecturer at my college), and Louis Klamroth, I have written about the applicability of traditional media impact theories in the age of the Internet and, in particular, social media. One thing that is always striking me there is how little use even young people make of the diverse and accessible media landscape they take for granted to have at their hands (a prime example, in my eyes, is the finding of the 2009 JIM – Youth, Internet, Multimedia – report that 70% of German 12 to 19 years olds liked about television that they did not have to actively choose what content to access).

Another chapter I wrote on my own reviews research on the economic impact of mobile phones in developing countries. This project started out with the research of Jenny Aker and Robert Jensen, who have conducted quantitative economic studies, but I have also included much qualitative research (e.g. by Ragnhild Overa). I find this topic particularly interesting because it steers away a bit from the hype that surrounds both digital activism and ICT4D. And the economists provide quantitative data, which is so badly missing from the latter discourses (Patrick Meier was also at re:publica, giving a great talk about Ushahidi. Still I wish he had rather presented his dissertation research, which might substantiate much of all this talk about Facebook revolutions).

Both papers are currently under review. If you are interested, I’ll be happy to share a copy of my drafts with you, in particular of the second paper – just drop me a message at -simon [at] thisdomain-. There are also some other great news to share in the near future, but I have to await confirmation until I can spread the word.

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