IGF: send in your comments ... via SMS. Will you?

GOA, India

Is this a shift of power? Is it just a form of tokenism? Does it work? Will it really involve the diversity of people across the globe? Kieren McCarthy posted to the Governance mailing list and Plenary list an announcement of how SMS questions can go to the IGF main session. Full details on the igf2006.info site that takes you to http://igf2006.intgovforum.org/
Is this a shift of power? Is it just a form of tokenism? Does it work? Will it really involve the diversity of people across the globe? Kieren McCarthy posted to the Governance mailing list and Plenary list an announcement of how SMS questions can go to the IGF main session.

Privacy, security and internet researcher and activist Ralf Bendrath forwarded it to the Incommunicado or Incom-L list. “The ‘incommunicado’ list, an electronic mailinglist that focuses on the spread, reappropriation, and reinvention of ICT across the ‘Global South’.” Ralf wrote: “Very nice (and techno-culture-aware) try, though a bit late. Spread it to colleagues in mobile-phone-using countries…”

Oxford-based freelance journalist, writer, reporter, sub-editor Kieren McCarthy also argued: “Again, this is a little late in the day, but we have grabbed two dedicated mobile phones — one for French and one for English — to receive SMS text questions for the main sessions tomorrow. The sessions are about Diversity and Access and since the common refrain is that Africa and developing countries only tend to have Net access through their mobiles, it seemed like a good idea to try to make it as simple as possible for them to interact.”

She adds: “It is not perfect of course (two languages, and using actual phones when some SMS software would be 1,000 times more effective), but it is better than not having it. Plus maybe people that don’t want to get up and speak into a microphone will be encouraged.”

Is it? Are our assumptions wrong? Or is it just something wrong with me? I’m sitting in India’s smallest state. To get out my mobile phone would be both a pain … and costly! Good old email might just work better. For me!

Anyway, full details on the igf2006.info site that takes you to http://igf2006.intgovforum.org/


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