Using social media to support community development: A case study of e-inclusion intermediaries in underprivileged communities of South Africa
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For many marginalized community members e-inclusion intermediaries (e-IIs) are the only accessible and affordable option to access computers and the Internet, yet their use of the provided ICTs is low. This is due to a lack of awareness about e-IIs and ICTs benefits. To create awareness and promote the use of ICTs by community members e-IIs need more effective communication strategies that share information. Social media can be effective in this regard, yet many e-IIs do not utilize their potential. This paper presents findings of a qualitative study that investigated how selected e-IIs in South Africa communicate using social media. The study found that social media can facilitate communication for development by enabling low-cost, participatory communication approaches that build networks to share information, resources and create awareness. Social media are however only effective if they are appropriate for the target audience and used strategically to achieve clear communication objectives.