Michigan researchers survey Colombia’s digital landscape

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The first report ever compiled on the evolution of digital culture in Colombia is the product of a team of researchers at the University of Michigan. The authors are members of the School of Information’s Group for Research on Infotech and Development (GRID), a cohort of scholars at the university interested in the field of information and communications technology and development (ICTD).

“Digital Culture in Colombia” examines the growth of social media, eGovernance and communications infrastructure throughout Colombia in the last decade. The project came about when the Organization of American States (OAS) and Colombia’s Ministerio de Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones (MINTIC) approached GRID to conduct an independent examination of digital culture in Colombia. The final report will be released by Colombia’s Minister of Information Technology on May 17.

A high percentage (80%) of Colombians ages 15-55 in cities of 200,000 people or more have access to the internet. The country ranks fourth in Facebook users in Latin America; 40% of the country’s population have Facebook accounts. Colombians are rapidly adopting technology for entertainment, education, and participation in government. The government, in turn, is utilizing a variety of information outlets, including social network sites like Facebook and Twitter, to promote democratic transparency and inclusiveness.

The report is divided into three major sections. The chapter on social media considers ways in which social capital is changing in the digital age. The chapter on connectivity addresses issues related to telephony, internet/broadband and media access. The final chapter looks at electronic governance and the ways in which the citizen-state interface in Colombia has changed in recent years.

The project was led by Joyojeet Pal, assistant professor at the university’s School of Information, and authored by Ludmilla Ferrari, a doctoral student in the department of Romance Languages; Edgar Nuñez, a master’s student in the School of Information; and Ingrid Sánchez Tapia,  a doctoral candidate in the School of Education.

The report was prepared and released under a Creative Commons license. See the full report at http://ictd.si.umich.edu/news/digital-culture-in-colombia-report-released

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013