Appropriating Technology for Accountability (V). Tech as part of the mix (II)

Notes from the Appropriating Technology for Accountability, part of the Making All Voices Count program, organized by Institute of Development Studies and held in Brighton, UK, on 25-26 October 2017. More notes on this event: allvoicescount.

Breakout session: Tech as part of the mix

How can offline and online activities be better integrated?

Try not to think about online vs. offline. Try to think about the people behind participation, as the people are the same and won’t change depending on the platform or modality of participation.

An actor — facilitator, reporter — can transpose what happens offline into a digital platform and, at the same time, this facilitator or reporter can monitor what goes on online and transpose it to offline debates. The role of this bridge-actor is thus crucial.

Try not to duplicate efforts and/or tasks.

What online or offline activities can help overcome the risks of exclusion?

Combine traditional technology (e.g. radio) with newer one (e.g. social media) to keep a balance of channels and platforms.

The role of intermediaries or infomediaries becomes very important for those who cannot access some specific channels, not only online ones, but especially those.

Use both channels — online and offline — is the surest bet.

Sometimes the choice between offline and online might not be straightforward. Where some people would see online as a driver of exclusion, some might see online as safer (e.g. in violent environments where people can be physically abducted by totalitarian regimes) or more comfortable (e.g. for people that are shy or value anonymity). So, we should not consider ex-ante that offline equals old and inefficient and that online equals exclusion for some marginalized. Context matters.

Online tools should just be a part of a greater toolset, and chose the tools according to needs.

There’s a blind spot in most projects where ideology is taken as non-existent, while this is mostly not true. Technology is not neutral, and neither is the people that design any kind of participatory project: who are the beneficiaries of a project, who are the managers, what are the priorities (goals, outputs, outcomes, etc.)


Making All Voics Count: Appropriating Technology for Accountability (2017)

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

Peña-López, I. (2017) “Appropriating Technology for Accountability (V). Tech as part of the mix (II)” In ICTlogy, #169, October 2017. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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