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African Elections

Ideologies are embedded into technology. Ideologies, of course, are about power, control, and ways of looking at the world. As such, it’s fair to say that technology is about power – who can create? who has access? Today, in a conversation with an African colleague – Ben Akoh – I was introduced to the African Elections site. The site tracks and shares election news/conversation in various social media (Twitter, sms, blogs, etc.) and traditional media sites. I recall watching an election for the premier of Manitoba in early 2000′s. I didn’t have access to a television, but watched a postage stamp-sized jittery newscast. It was terrible by today’s online video standards. But it gave me what I wanted most: timely access to information that I found important. Technology, reflected in sites like African Elections, provides individuals with access to needed information and conversations. Controlling this information is increasingly difficult. A daily newspaper is much easier to shut down than a distributed conversation. Yes, I know countries can block sites and restrict traffic. But democracy is far more secure when subject to the input of many commentators than to a select few mainstream media sources.