Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Using the Internet for Change

I am currently taking a course on Communicating for Social Change. The prof asked why we were interested in the class and my reply is below. I'm specifically interested in the various facets that the Internet has played in social and political change and am excited to learn more about it.

1) My master's thesis is on why Canadian websites are not more accessible for the visually impaired. The code to make website more accessible has been available since 1999, yet many sites aren't accessible. In my experience with Canada's web professionals, many are not aware of this issue, don't prioritize it, or do not know what specifically to do. So I hope to learn more about the barriers affecting this issue and begin me thinking of means to remedy it.

2) There are a lot of social and political issues involving the Internet that I am passionate about (e.g. net neutrality, privacy, improving democracy through the Internet, citizen journalism), so I'm interested in learning how to make these issues resonate with Canadians. I'll be travelling to India this December to attend a conference on Internet governance. The main topic is how to make the Internet available to people who otherwise have not had access (e.g. the poor, illiterate, disabled, etc.). Part of my duties during and following the conference will be to
communicate, via blogs and face-to-face meetings, these issues, so I'd appreciate any tips on how to do this more effectively.

3) As one who studies the Internet and wishes to advise on it, I'd like to understand how people use Internet media & technologies to bring about social & political change. An example is how people have used social networking sites, blogs, text messaging, etc. to quickly organize support for certain causes and mobilize action.

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