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Digital Media in Emerging Markets

UofW Master of Communication in Digital Media and SAL U lecturer Anita Verna Crofts brought the five-part Seattle Arts & Lectures Storyteller Uprising lecture series to  a close with a look at where the series began—examining global change—adding pragmatic measurements and adoption trends in emerging markets (BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China). Crofts investigates and instructs on new media adoption and appropriation in resource-poor environments, with a special eye to social tools being adopted for social change.

What it looks like? Certainly not like the US…..pay as you go phones, texting as a primary communication and banking made possible through localized merchant hubs and basic cell service.

Noteworthy topics and discussions:

-Creative solutions not locked into a set perception of use

-Emerging markets have significant relational generation populations (translate: young- Turkey’s median age is 29)

-Customers in emerging markets are colleagues, becoming competition

TED Fellow and African blogger Erik Hersman observes

“Almost any meaningful success in Africa’s mobile or web space has been from companies focused on meeting the needs of ordinary people.”

In terms of service, the whole notion of cell phone, web access, smart phone and iPad or other tablet is becoming blended into a conversation about communication access, rather that about specific devices. Smart phones and high-end communication remains largely out of reach, but innovation appears to be thriving through inventive applications of truly basic–but universal–technologies.

Kentaro Toyama, UC Berkeley researcher and former assistant director of Microsoft Research India, states his perception on social change very simply “Technology is not the answer. ….Our successes were due more to effective partners, and less to our technology.”

These observations may serve to remind us that as technologists, we are sitting in the greater human circle and listening is very much part of the art of any story.

Next up for Seattle Arts & Lectures SAL U:

Following Wendell: The Culture & Politics of Sustenance 4/21, 5/5, 5/19, 6/2, 6/16, 6/18 2011 Henry Art Gallery Henry Co-Presented by Henry Art Gallery, UW Program on the Environment