Her Voz

Global Connections

Thursday night, I listened intently as Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas broadcasted the nightly news of Latin America — nothing from the norm of any night at 6:00 p.m. in my house. Except this night Noticiero Univision (Univision News) captured my attention even more. Univision featured the National Commission for the Society of Information and Knowledge (NCSIK) president, Jose Rafael Vargas, reporting a 69.4 percent internet-access increase in the Dominican Republic. Over two-million Dominicans have joined the world online this past year, which is a triumphant victory for the impoverished island.

(It would be no surprise I’d listen closely to news about the Dominican Republic, but this time the news had captured my attention even more.)

Earlier in the day, I followed the Twitter feeds that covered the Center for Social Impact Communication’s (CSIC) panel discussion at Georgetown University. The topic of the discussion was the Pan-African role of digital communications and social media (key points were posted online for those not able to attend).

The panelists offered facts including, “internet growth rate in Africa is about 800 percent,” which proved to be pretty impressive, but is really only a five percent penetration rate in Africa. The highlight of my reading was a comment by Rohit Bhargava. Founding member of the 360 Digital Influence Team at Ogilvy and author of award-winning publications, Bhargava stated, “the future of ‘Brand Africa’-continues to see rise of individual stories, different from the continent as a whole.”

Could this be the same around the world and not just in Africa? Is there a worldwide increase of individuals joining online discussions and sharing their individual stories? Yes, and now more than ever. The numbers presented by the NCSIK president and panelist members at the CSIC discussion had proven this fact to be true.

It became more relevant when I thought how this personally related to me. Just this month, my cousin — a new member of Facebook en Español — had traveled to Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala and posted very beautiful images on his Facebook account of Lake Solola. Separated by thousands of miles, we shared real-time messages about our lives and experiences; just like we were chatting at the neighborhood bus stop during the good-old days.

The more and more I follow this new social media trend, my interests become centered on global development. The online communities we are forming are not only with our neighbors and closest friends, but with individuals from many different walks of life and geographical locations. These individuals share common interests and stories, yet live diverse lives.

I hope the web development successes of the Dominican Republic and Pan-Africa translates into other geographic locations!