Journalists at major media houses in South Africa use Twitter as a journalistic tool for crowd sourcing, breaking news events, live blogging and to balance, check and cultivate sources. This paper analyses the use of the social network platform by the top 500 South African journalists. The findings suggest that pluralism and openness are important characteristics of the South African Twitter network. Although two strong sub-networks can be detected, we conclude that they give structure to the network and enhance the role of journalists in public debates and democratic decision-making. This is shown in the analysis of three trending news topics related to politics and crime. The last trending topic of the study questions the process of the individualization of journalism through Twitter. The paper concludes by confronting its generic findings from the perspectives and opinions of leading journalists and editors.
Quinn had created graphically oriented games before, including the satirical Ghost Hunter Hunters. But she decided to make Depression Quest through an increasingly popular program called Twine. Although it’s possible to add images and music to Twine games, they’re essentially nothing but words and hyperlinks; imagine a digital “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, with a dash of retro text adventures like Zork. A free program that you can learn in one sitting, Twine also allows you to instantly publish your game so that anyone with a web browser can access it. The egalitarian ease of Twine has made it particularly popular among people who have never written a line of code — people who might not even consider themselves video-game fans, let alone developers. Chris Klimas, the web developer who created Twine as an open-source tool in 2009, points out that games made on it “provide experiences that graphical games would struggle to portray, in the same way books can offer vastly different experiences than movies do. It’s easy to tell a personal story with words.” Twine games look and feel profoundly different from other games, not just because they’re made with different tools but also because they’re made by different people — including people who don’t have any calcified notions about what video games are supposed to be or how they’re supposed to work. While roughly 75 percent of developers at traditional video-game companies are male, many of the most prominent Twine developers are women, making games whose purpose is to explore personal perspectives and issues of identity, sexuality and trauma that mainstream games rarely touch on.
Modi launched a website MyGov on July 26 that aims to help citizens contribute in governance by giving their opinions and views on important issues like clean river Ganga or skill development. The inauguration of the people-centric platform also marks the completion of 60 days of the new government.
A wave of political disaffection has also deposited democratic social movements and dedicated individuals across the country. Groups both within and outside the government, such as those that successfully lobbied for the groundbreaking Right to Information Act, are outlining the possibilities of what John Keane calls “monitory democracy”. India’s many activist networks – for the rights of women, Dalits, peasants and indigenous communities – or issue-based campaigns, such as those against big dams and nuclear power plants, steer clear of timeworn ideas of national security, economic development, technocratic management, whether articulated by the Nehruvians or the neo-Hindus. In a major environment referendum last year, residents of small tribal hamlets in a remote part of eastern India voted to reject bauxite mining in their habitats. Growing demands across India for autonomy and bottom-up governance confirm that Modi is merely offering old – and soured – lassi in new bottles with his version of top-down modernisation.
Rural communities in India are often underserved by the mainstream media. While there is a public discourse surrounding the issues they face, this dialogue typically takes place on television, in newspaper editorials, and on the Internet. Unfortunately, participation in such forums is limited to the most privileged members of society, excluding those individuals who have the largest stake in the conversation. This paper examines an effort to foster a more inclusive dialogue by means of a simple technology: an interactive voice forum. Called CGNet Swara, the system enables callers to record messages of local interest, and listen to messages that others have recorded. Messages are also posted on the Internet, as a supplement to an existing discussion forum. In the first 21 months of its deployment in India, CGNet Swara has logged over 70,000 phone calls and released 1,100 messages. To understand the emergent practices surrounding this system, we conduct interviews with 42 diverse stakeholders, including callers, bureaucrats, and members of the media. Our analysis contributes to the understanding of voice-based media as a vehicle for social inclusion in remote and underprivileged populations.
Shubhanshru Choudry last night won the Index On Censorship Digital Activism award for this initiative.