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‘India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media’ : Book Release in Kolkata brings Digital Divide under spotlight

The book outlines the influence of social media on Human lives while contrasting it with the traditional media

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Book Release of 'India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media' at Kolkata Press Club.
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Kolkata, November 5, 2016:  To create awareness about digital divide that has become the new caste system of the world, the book release of ‘India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media’ was organized at the Kolkata Press Club on Saturday, November 5.

Edited by Dr. Sunetra Sen Narayan and Dr. Shalini Narayanan, the book outlines the influence of social media on Human lives while contrasting it with the traditional media. Not just that, it also accounts challenges that lies ahead of us and the opportunities that social media flags in the Indian setting.

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Book 'India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media'
Book ‘India Connected: Mapping the Impact of New Media’

Dr. Narayanan says, digital divide is created due to factors like gender discrimination, income, differently abled people, literacy, and connectivity or speed. If we control them, we can bridge the gap.”

The book release was followed by a panel discussion on New Media and Historical Exclusions: The Challenges Ahead that focussed on the digital divide based on income, gender, and disability.

Documentary filmmaker and Chairperson of West Bengal Commission for the protection of Child Rights- Ananya Chatterjee Chakroborti says,  “Digital Divide is the new caste system in the world and there is a huge gap between country’s rich and poor. But, an organisation called IndiaUnheard is doing a fabulous job in bridging the gap.”

IndiaUnheard is the first ever community news service launched by Video Volunteers. This new initiative is constituted of a network of community correspondents who are trained to tell unique stories; stories about their own communities; stories which are otherwise left untold. The website flags the stories of the plight of these people as well as their success stories.

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Dr Uma Shankar Pandey, Head of Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of Surendranath College for Women, Kolkata says the problem is that in India, there are 25 crore people who have access to the internet, but the rest 1 billion are deprived of it.

“There is more to this one, what makes the gap worse is that there is 27% gender inequality, which means that boys have more access to internet than girls. Also, there is 12% urban-rural gap, which means rural people are less likely to have access to mobile or internet connections than urban people. This creates a class divide,” he adds.

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“What’s striking is that new media has also brought with it, imposition of a value system,” says Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University Prof. Suranjan Das. Media can be the torchbearer of ethics, once it is separated from biases.

Among the distinguished authors who contributed to the volume of the book are Prof Stephen McDowell of Florida State University, Tallahassee; Dr B P Sanjay, Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Hyderabad; Prof J Jethwaney, IIMC and others.

– by Deepannita Das of NewsGram. Twitter: @deepweep

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Facebook Can Help Older People Feel Less Lonely

The researchers also suggested that commenting on and responding to them gave older users a feeling of social interaction.

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For the study, the researchers recruited more than 200 participants who were 60 years and older and used Facebook for at least a year.
Old Man, Pixabay

If your grandparents are struggling with isolation, showing them how to use Facebook may help as researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found that social networking sites offer tools and activities that may help older adults feel more empowered and less lonely.

Facebook and similar social networking sites could play a critical role in easing isolation and making them feel like they are part of a large community, said the study published in the journal New Media and Society.

“This is important, especially for older adults who might be aging in place, because they have mobility constraints that limit their ability to socialize,” said study co-author S. Shyam Sundar, Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.

The researchers "friended" the participants on Facebook so they could count the number of times they used the various tools in the site during the past year.
Facebook logo, Pixabay

For the study, the researchers recruited more than 200 participants who were 60 years and older and used Facebook for at least a year.

The researchers “friended” the participants on Facebook so they could count the number of times they used the various tools in the site during the past year.

The participants were also asked to respond to a questionnaire that captured the gratifications they obtained from Facebook.

Older adults who posted a lot of personal stories on Facebook felt a higher sense of community, and the more they customised their profiles, the more in control they felt, Sundar said.

The researchers also suggested that commenting on and responding to them gave older users a feeling of social interaction.

Sundar added that using social media is not a uniform experience that is either all bad, or all good, but offers multiple functions for diverse users.

Older adults are increasingly adopting social media, in general, and are a growing number of Facebook’s total membership, said Eun Hwa Jung from National University of Singapore who worked with Sundar.

Also Read: Google Now Lets You Register Sites Ending In .app

Facebook is considered the most popular social network among older adults, the researchers added.

The researcher also emphasised that developers of social media networks should consider the needs of this growing group of users.

For example, they should create features that enhance the identity of older adults while simultaneously protecting their privacy. (IANS)