Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

New media and positive debate @ Shoko Festival

TOP del.icio.us

The Shoko Festival came to life in a session dubbed “Hub Unconference” which ignited some positive debate on the challenges and opportunities brought by new media and citizen journalism. The online space has brought an alternative space for people to freely express themselves through engaging in positive debate and also to do business. An industry, which needs to adapt fast and digitalise, is the media industry in Zimbabwe. The online space creates huge opportunities for the Zimbabwe media in terms of market and cost reduction. For example international media houses have reported a drop in sales of physical or hard copies of newspapers and magazines in recent years as people now prefer to read news on online.

A record increase in mobile penetration in Zimbabwe with a considerable uptake of mobile applications presents huge business and networking opportunities. Social media platforms like Twitter have also helped start discussions on issues which people would sometimes sweep under the carpet. Nowadays almost everyone armed with a smartphone and Internet connectivity is a storyteller and a newsmaker. Every day people are getting more involved in citizen journalism and this is changing the manner in which news is now being consumed.

People are looking for alternative sources and space online through setting up blogs, chat groups and facebook pages.

There is always is the challenge of separation of roles in the technology industry and the biggest challenge is that of coming up with solutions for everything. App developers and business people should engage a collaboration of the minds and put themselves in the shoes of the customer in order to come up with a simplified product which suits the needs of the user.

Living in a society where government is failing to provide basic essentials like water and electricity to its people, the digital space comes with its own challenges as not everyone will be able to go online. The digital divide in Zimbabwe is increasing due to market segment as most technology companies target markets perceived to be for the elite, leaving out those with little disposable income.

Comments are closed.