A video dialogue program for young women in the USA and Muslim countries
March 10th, 2007 at 9:41 pm
Posted by Zia in Sessions

Our topic this past week was the use of new technology; ironically, it was the only week when we had problems getting our two videoconferencing systems to work together. However, after a few tries, we managed to get the session underway and ended up with a great conversation.

Pervasiveness of new technology. The women in Gabes said that everyone there uses the Internet; in our group of participants, there was consensus that most people used it every day, or at least every other day. Most of our participants read content in English, although they said people will read French or Arabic sites if they are less comfortable with English. In addition to the Internet, cell phones have become almost ubiquitous in Tunisia: it’s the preferred means of communication for most people there. The US, participants also talked about the fact that they relied on these two technologies extensively.
Isolation of technology. We also talked about technology being isolating. While it can connect you to many other people, it also prevents you from interacting with others in person as you might have done before. A US participant said she had to make an active point of not using the Internet too much for fear of missing out on other parts of her life. One participant in Gabes said she’d practically lost her father to the Internet – he’d gone online to the exclusion of the family. One of the US participants also pointed out it was a bit strange to be living New York City where there was so much going on, yet many people found their excitement online instead of in person. There was concern that technology would never replace human interactions, so there has to be a conscious effort not to lose out on those other interactions as a result of over-use of technology.
Internet as news source. One of the US participants asked what sources the Tunisian participants used for news online. In addition to Al-Arabiya and other popular Arabic news sites, one of the participants in Gabes said she reads the BBC and CNN to see what they’re saying, and to get different perspectives so she can determine the veracity of a story. Neither the Tunisians nor American participants said they relied on non-professional news sites (eg blogs) for information on current events.
Internet as networking platform. We also talked a bit about the use of the Internet for social networking purposes. While those in Gabes enjoyed it for communication applications, there was less interest in using it for social networking purposes (eg MySpace). The US participants used it a bit more, but still did not find that to be one of their major motivations in going online. 

One Response to “Use of new technology”

  1. 1
    Mohamed Said: @9:40 pm 

    Hi All, I am a student of Computer Science at the University of Gabes.

    What a beautiful website! I was really happy to see such dialog between American and Tunisian women from diverse backgrounds. Your topics are so developed as this one about technology (It helped me see technology from new and different angles).

    All I want to say is keep the great work!

    Pardon me for my English.

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