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11 JULY 2009

multilingual and multicultural networks of shared interest

"Hundreds of thousands of Africans, Asians and Latin Americans have started blogging, opening up a library of human knowledge in local languages to those who are willing to listen, and making the internet a far more multilingual and multicultural place (Block, 2004). A recent Technorati study found that Chinese and Japanese have overtaken English as the dominant languages of the blogosphere, and that growing native–language communities are emerging all over the net.6 Thus, the language issue in the context of Web 2.0 technology is increasingly less about content–creation and access, and more about content–transfer. Translating between two languages requires an appreciation of the 'intellectual, ideological and social understandings upon which speech is based' (Powell, 2006: 522). This is certainly one of the areas where Web 2.0 faces some serious challenges. Specialised sites, such as Global Voices Online (see Box 2), however, have been developed to organise, translate and distribute this local knowledge. And even when people are not blogging in their native languages, they are sharing knowledge about their local realities. Knowledge–creation is itself a hugely empowering experience for any individual, and the benefits of such empowerment will become more diffused as more people from the developing world join the global online discussion."
(Alberto Masetti–Zannini, p.21,22)

Alberto Masetti–Zannini, Web 2.0 and International Development NGOs
Knowledge Politics Quarterly, Volume 1 Issue 1 (Oct 2007), edited by Craig Berry

TAGS

AfricaAsiablogbloggingblogosphereChinesecivic engagementcommunicationcontent creation • content transfer • democratic participationdiscussionempowermentEnglish languageInternetJapaneseknowledgeknowledge creationlanguageLatin Americamulticultural • multilingual • NGOparticipationsocial constructionismTechnorati • virtual third places • Web 2.0

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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