BlogWall: Promoting Social Communication through Mobile Technology in Sri Lanka

BlogWall: Promoting Social Communication through Mobile Technology in Sri Lanka

Adrian David Cheok (National University of Singapore, Singapore), Owen Noel Newton Fernando (National University of Singapore, Singapore), Nimesha Ranasinghe (National University of Singapore, Singapore), Kening Zhu (National University of Singapore, Singapore) and Chamari Edirisinghe (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-818-6.ch014
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Since the invention, the mobile phone is becoming more and more popular to lead the communication sector and it has been the spirit of personal communication from the beginning of 80s. Furthermore, developing countries which have always been on the search for affordable communication solutions found mobile communication the most popular method. Low cost communication, infrastructure, and maintenance are some of the key reasons that make mobile technologies popular in developing countries. Statistics depict that the usage of short messages is one of the main communication method in developing countries and most of the organizations are using SMS (Short Message Service) as a tool to assist people, especially in African and Asian continents. Sri Lanka, as a developing country, has a unique culture which has emerged scaling many centuries, mixing with various neighboring cultures. Recently the western cultural influence has dramatically changed the various cultural aspects of the urban population. The rapid economic growth, the changes in agriculture based economic environment, advances in communication and media, and globalization trends has transformed the cultural experiences of Sri Lankans. Taking into account the speedy progress of the mobile technology, especially the SMS, the evolution of the Sri Lankan way of living which has absorbed the culture that has developed with the use of mobiles, and the long literary history where poetry had played a major role in communication, we are observing the suitability of the Blogwall system, an interactive system which operates on user SMS and provides opportunities for creative poetry by combining visual art and poetry.
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The rapid developments of science and technology during the 20th century transformed the world more widely than at any time in the past and the mobile industry has gone through successive waves of innovation later in the century (Browne, 2003). The trend towards low power consumption and hand held devices have increased the challenges and possibilities in the mobile industry. However, only the voice service was primarily available through mobile devices. After coupling short messaging service with voice service, subscribers started to acquire novel ideas for new mobile services (Siau & Shen, 2003).

At present, mobile phones have become the most vital part of our daily lives making it very hard to imagine a life without a mobile phone. They have become inexpensive, user-friendly, comfortable, and emerging with almost every latest elements desired by people. From children to senior citizens, mobile phones have become a fashion as well as a way of staying ahead with the technology. The express lifestyles of the modern public are making the communications with the loved ones intricate. Mobile phone technology, which connected people wherever and whenever, is allowing people to overcome this dilemma.

Even though there are many technologies available for connecting people nowadays, most of them are contrastingly expensive than the mobile communication (Grinter & Eldridge, 2001). Furthermore, in developing countries the access to technology is distributed unevenly. Demography, economical imbalance, political environment and social conditions are the main factors behind this irregularity. The unequal access to the technology has created a technological divide in developing countries which is being positively answered by the mobile technology. The use of cellular technology instead of copper wire, the inexpensiveness, the user friendliness, and the mobility have provide a greater flexibility in accessing area where the minimum infrastructure prevails, thus reducing the communication and technological divide.

There are numerous instances where mobile technology was applied to reduce poverty in developing nations by opening up new opportunities (Slater & Kwami, 2005). In most occasions, the mobile phone allows users to conduct businesses, exchange information, and many more activities. Developing countries such as Sri Lanka are using mobile phones as the support for services (Samarajiva, 2000; Designing useful mobile services for Africa, 2009). Health, banking, government, education, business, and many other sectors are using mobile services which would qualitatively improve the life of under-privileged populations. As of today, the most widespread way to provide such services on mobile phones is with SMS-based applications. The reasons for that are identified as high availability, easy to use, and low and predictable costs when using short messages. However, there should be a well structured preparation to ensure the increase on positive impacts when the mobile technologies are introduced to an already established culture.

Sri Lanka has an illustrious culture based primarily on Buddhism and agriculture which has developed over centuries. Social connections and collective behavior are two main elements of this island nation. The introduction of mobile phones during the 1990s has tremendously transformed the everyday activities of the Sri Lankans. There has been a unique communication using poetry which evolved from the ancient times in Sri Lanka (Pollock, 2003). In addition, Sri Lankans are mainly using mobile phones for communicating through short messages since voice calls are more expensive than the short messages. This phenomenon is common in most of the developing countries since people could not tolerate the voice charges compared to the charges of short messages (Lacoh´ee & Wakeford, 2003). As a developing country, Sri Lankan society is becoming more and more industrialized and moving away from the arts and literary interests which were more essential part of the society throughout the history.

The nation which is celebrated for its social communications through poetry (Wijesekara, 1990) and prose from ancient times, has embraced the text messaging that associated with mobile technology, to express extensively. The integration of mobile communication to the already well established and highly connected culture of Sri Lanka is efficiently and effectively transpired thus making it an integral part of the lives of modern populace.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Ahmed Gad Abdel-Wahab, Ahmed Ahmed A. El-Masry
Ahmed Gad Abdel-Wahab, Ahmed Ahmed A. El-Masry
Chapter 1
Kaisu Puumalainen, Lauri Frank, Sanna Sundqvist, Anni Tuppura
The aim of this chapter is to identify and analyze the timing and level of critical mass in the development of market penetration for wireless... Sample PDF
The Critical Mass of Wireless Communications: Differences between Developing and Developed Economies
Chapter 2
Moon-Soo Kim, Sungjoo Lee
This study focuses on two perspectives from the competition between technologies and the change of market structure in terms of the number of... Sample PDF
The Competitive Growth Pattern of Mobile Telecommunications in Korea
Chapter 3
Vanita Ahuja
Construction project management requires effective and real time information and data communication between all the project team agencies. In... Sample PDF
Mobile Information Communication Technologies and Construction Project Management: Indian Scenario Case Study
Chapter 4
Kristina Pitula, Daniel Sinnig, Thiruvengadam Radhakrishnan
Requirements engineering is an important stage in any software development. It is more so in the case of software development for social development... Sample PDF
Requirements Engineering in the ICT4D Domain
Chapter 5
Ayse Kok
There has been a rapid growth in the research concerning mobile phones and the delivery of the learning experience in developing countries in recent... Sample PDF
In Defence of Mobile Technologies Exploring the Socio-Technological Dimensions of M-Learning
Chapter 6
Yuqin Yang, Qiyun Wang
Mobile learning (m-learning in short) has received increasing attention in the new millennium. Considerable interest in exploiting the unique... Sample PDF
Mobile Learning in China
Chapter 7
Susan Smith Nash
This chapter presents an overview of the experience of implementing mobile technology solutions in developing nations in conditions of limited... Sample PDF
Blended Mobile Learning in Developing Nations and Environments with Variable Access: Three Cases
Chapter 8
Trish Andrews, Robyn Smyth, Belinda Tynan, Andrew Berriman, Deborah Vale, Richard Caladine
This chapter focuses on the emerging possibilities and issues arising from the rapid adoption of mobile technologies for learning in tertiary and... Sample PDF
Mobile Technologies and Rich Media: Expanding tertiary education opportunities in developing countries
Chapter 9
Jesper Schlæger
This chapter explores the role of m-government in Western China development. Bureaucracy has been identified as a barrier for economic development... Sample PDF
The Role of M-Government in Western China Development
Chapter 10
Ronan de Kervenoael, Mark Palmer, N. Meltem Cakici
The concept of mobility, related to technology in particular, has evolved dramatically over the last two decades including: (i) hardware ranging... Sample PDF
Exploring Civil Servant Resistance to M-Government: A story of Transition and Opportunities in Turkey
Chapter 11
Heli Virta, Kaisu Puumalainen, Anni Tuppura
This chapter investigates the influence of mobile phone penetration on economic growth in developing economies. It is widely agreed that... Sample PDF
Mobile Telephony and Economic Growth in Developing Economies
Chapter 12
Ronan de Kervenoael, Canan Devletkusu
In emerging markets, the amount of mobile communication and the number of occasions mobile phones are used are increasing. More and more settings... Sample PDF
Understanding Mobile Phone Usage While Driving: Mini-Bus and Taxi Drivers’ Experiences In Istanbul
Chapter 13
Khaled A. Sabry, Ahmed Al-Nakeeb, Khalid W. Alrawi
Globally, mobile technology alters the way individuals and groups conduct their day-to-day activities. It impacts on business, culture and society... Sample PDF
Mobile Technology and the Gulf Society: Perception and Attitude
Chapter 14
Adrian David Cheok, Owen Noel Newton Fernando, Nimesha Ranasinghe, Kening Zhu, Chamari Edirisinghe
Since the invention, the mobile phone is becoming more and more popular to lead the communication sector and it has been the spirit of personal... Sample PDF
BlogWall: Promoting Social Communication through Mobile Technology in Sri Lanka
Chapter 15
Jan Servaes
There is a lot of talk about the ‘newness’ of mobile and wireless Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) these days. What is so ‘new’... Sample PDF
The Role of Information Communication Technologies Within the Field of Communication for Social Change
Chapter 16
Dr. Sohayla M. Attalla
Health Hazards of Mobile Information Communication Technologies
About the Contributors