International Development

What are they?[]

Social technologies are new web-based technologies that allow individuals and groups to relate to each other thus creating and disseminating knowledge. Social technologies provide a new set of interactive and user driven tools.

Why are they relevant?[]

The globalisation and the IT revolution have not reached everyone. Millions in developing countries have bnever been in contact with a computer and will, most likely, never be. For many CSOs in developing countries, technology has come late and piecemeal. Social technologies constitute an important leap in this respect. They might help bridge the technology gap that exists between northern and southern CSOs.

The blog[]

A blog, or weblog, is a web-based forum for publishing news, views and commentary. Blogs started off as on-line diaries, providing individuals and communities with the opportunity to share their daily lives and thoughts with readers around the world. Blogging is rapidly growing as a tool for alternative journalism, communication, engagement, campaigning and activism. Blogs are being harnessed to foster collaboration between individuals in different spatial locations, belonging to the same virtual community. Some organisations, including think tanks such as ODI, are beginning to experiment with collective and collaborative blogs as a means of extending their thought leadership.

The majority of blogs are now accessible via browser-based platforms. According to Wikipedia, the tools for editing, organizing, and publishing weblogs are variously referred to as "content management systems," "publishing platforms," "weblog software," and simply "blogware." Many blogs allow visitors to post comments. Others are non-interactive, allowing no comments and posts from the blog owner alone.

The wiki[]


e-groups or d-groups[]


Online learning platforms[]

Net to Net or Net to Phone services[]


Google chat[]


Google Earth[]

Search engines[]



How can they be used for development purposes?[]

Usefulness of the blog[]

Blogs are an exiting tool to communicate research findings to both broad and expert audiences. Unlike other websites, blogs are dynamic and interactive platforms that enable users to interact with each other with little technical expertise.

Usefulness of the wiki[]

In research, a wiki can help in many ways. Researchers can use it for collaborative projects. A wiki allows many people to add and edit information or parts of a document simultaneously. This can be helpful when defining a research agenda or discussing research methods and results.

A wiki can also provide researchers with additional evidence held by third parties (not directly involved with the research) which can be crucial for their objectives.

Researchers can use wikies as a way of traking key themes (based on the frequency of edits of certain pages). It can also help identify relations between themes as edits can suggest original 'trails of thought' that can point towards new areas of research. For instance, a page on poverty might include a link to one on chronic poverty, this one to one on famine, then to conflict, then to politics, to the rol of donors, to the international development architecture, etc.