Web2forDev 2007 (II): Plenary Sessions: Web 2.0 for Development

Amit Dasgupta
Leveraging Web 2.0 to Develop Better Applications for Rural Communities

Despite the progress in technology in India, the benefits have not reached the agricultural community — 60% of India’s population. Mostly because of lack of access to information and knowledge.

But:

  • Without a large user base, difficult to justify cost
  • Large user base only if regional variations and localization needs are addressed

Web 2.0 can help:

  • Improve quality of information by linking information from multiple data sources
  • Reducte cost of content creating and deployment
  • Better access through multiple devices
  • Richer content using collective intelligence
  • Effective information exchange and knowledge management across geography through collaborative platforms

Besides the well known blogs and wikis, RSS feeds and tagging are really useful web 2.0 tools for knowledge sharing among stakeholders. Integration of data from multiple sources will be required to provide meaningful information and content.

Computers is just not enough: connectivity, content, services, B2C, B2B, G2B, etc.

Eric Gundersen
Portal 2.0: Using Social Software to Connect Geographically Dispersed Teams [+]

From tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. From information overload to dynamic filtering.

Being able to track the changes e.g. on a wiki brings huge transparency to the whole system, not only at the technological level, but also at the social one.

What if you had a system that allows your entire community to track, manage, analyze and act on news? Tracking, is not about the tool, is about how the tool helps your community/team.

Ability to take all your Web 2.0 data onto a USB stick so you can use it off-line. Gudersen himself commented that they were working on Google Gears to do so. I also think on the experience of Moulin, the offline Wikipedia. I personally use XAMPP, but must admit the syncing is not straightforward…

Chris Addison, Pier Andrea Pirani
Euforic2 – Putting Web 2.0 Applications to Work in a Development Community

From Euforic to Euforic2, to enable the use and contribution to the portal: for the trainees to practice, for the experts to share…: content, web to share, knowledge to share, virtual office

Blogs to leverage user generated content, reaching specific target audiences, tools to exchange stories inside organizations.

Wikis to integrate content in just one single place.

Videos, presentations, feed aggregators…

Some lessons learned:

  1. What Web 2.0 really means: web applications, not on your PC; data separate from display; online collaboration; low entry cost; promotion of content in different ways; support communities; user ‘chews’
  2. Blog not just a diary: content management system, even e-mail; easy to produce newsletters; multiple authors
  3. The four life stages of a wiki: wikis are very organic. Raise awareness and the quickstart, organizing simple menus to get content together; enthusiasm; sorting out the mess; keeping it going
  4. How to make a del.icio.us dish: the appealing of tag clouds
  5. Everywhere but our website: users find our content everywhere, in many places
  6. Brewing content: mash, aggregate, filter content; abstract your own (e.g. the blog); indexing others (del.icio.us); monitoring others (iGoogle)
  7. New costs to working
  8. Need for training and awareness
  9. Expanding the audience: alerts; registration in search engines
  10. Face2web

Panel discussion: Michael Powell, Mike Pereira, Jennifer Heney, Dorothy Mukhebi
The Core Aims of Knowledge Exchange and the Challenges of Using New Technologies to Meet Them

Organizational challenges: how do we reshape ourselves, build information share spaces, networking is implicit.

The organization becomes “2.0” just like the web: enable collaborations from anywhere/everywhere. But how to control relevance? Will this kill the discussion?

How’s the audience? The practitioner? The researcher? How do you open this? Is it a public good?

Most people use the sites not going to the sites but through alert systems [which, I guess, includes RSS feed subscriptions]

Decentralized approach to content development. Really difficult, as an institution, to feel comfortable with it, really difficult to find the balance, maintain certain degree of quality control.

The issue of the digital divide and the difficulties of access.

Find the appropriate communications (system) for the appropriate content. And the contrary: if e.g. mobile phone is the platform, think of the appropriate content (and not only the format, but the content itself) to be delivered through it.

The importance of mobile content.

To contribute: policy at the local level, resources and founding, technical expertise, infrastructure, access to relevant data / data sources, etc. So, the organizations that have capacity, should commit themselves to make relevant changes in the private sector so this empowerment, engagement takes place, for instance by affecting the regulatory framework.

Relevancy, quality control, suitability are difficult or just impossible to design ex ante, so give the practitioner, the user the ability to comment on resources, so you can help in the evaluation of this resource.

Web 2.0 for Development related posts (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “Web2forDev 2007 (II): Plenary Sessions: Web 2.0 for Development” In ICTlogy, #48, September 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=628

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