Relationship between community sense and technology use


ICT, in general, are found to be used to provide a means for communicating community-relevant information especially when members become geographically dispersed. Technologies can enable the community to build its own resources and to respond in its own way with its specific cultural patterns (Shklovski et al. 2008). Studies about Hurricane Katrina's effect on technology use found different reactions between different communities. Some Latino communities were reported to use very little technology to get informed about the incoming disaster, especially because they largely distrusted the media, including the Spanish-speaking ones, and because their social network was very strong and based more on face to face interactions (Messias et al. 2012). For Latinos, community sense resulted in a low technology use. However, during the same hurricane community sense led a community of musicians to use technology to cope with the situation (Shklovski, Burke, Kiesler & R Kraut 2010). Indeed, these musicians used cell phones and the Internet to locate family and friends and obtain information unavailable in broadcast news reports. They discovered online spaces where they could recreate the community and maintain communication all-together. The originality of Shklovski et al.'s approach is that it is a longitudinal one. They found that in the recovery phase those musicians who came back to New Orleans avoided mediated communication which was not part of their primary culture. On the other side those who did not come back felt they lost their sense of belonging due to an insufficient connection, despite the digital tools. When Hurricane Katrina struck, social media were not widely developed yet. Since then, they have become common and have strengthened community sense (Akrich et al. 2012; Hugon 2011). During a disaster they are now used to gather a community, especially when the community feeling is strong, or when a diaspora exists. For instance in Nepal where the culture of volunteering and community sense is strong, different types of volunteers could be identified after the 2015 earthquake. There were volunteers to help rescue victims and rebuilding, but also digital volunteers, mostly young people. The third type of volunteers was made up of people from the Nepalese diaspora who felt concerned for their community and sought for a ways to help by using their technological skills.

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