product of my past

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Preserving Africa’s digital legacy

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CC: aussiegall Flickr

I spend my days immersed in social media, so much so that I’m left without  the energy to convert thoughts into blogs in my nights. All that to say that I’ve allowed my blog to slip into a coma. But listening to Christian Payne’s (@Documentally) audioboo ‘Contemplating the digital beyond‘ has jolted me back to life.

Christian (what an incredibly soothing voice this man has!) considers the need to reconcile the cultural significance of all we are creating and sharing on social media platforms (particularly the ‘big three’: Facebook, Twitter and Google +) and the potentially transient nature of these plarforms – they are, afterall, businesses dependent on sustainable income for their survival.

It’s certainly recommended listening.

While preserving a well loved blog is in itself interesting, for me though, the reason this recording strikes a cord is that it makes obvious the fact that Africa’s digital story could be lost.

Thousands are blogging, tweeting, sharing audio files and pictures, collectively redefining what it means to African – and challenging the “Africa is a country” mentality. It’s an exiciting time. Internet connectivity and with it, social media platforms have opened Africa up to the world in a way that defies the moribund tales of disease, famine and war.

As Christian explains, the value of social media is that “it is documenting society in real time but for future generations.” But withouth investment (of “cents, pounds or dollars”) and collective will, that could all be lost. This poses a challenge to all those creating new platforms (whether supported by mobile or other devices) for the African market and to those using existing platforms to talk about their Africa: think about legacy.

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Written by Eliza

July 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

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