Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jordan Allison- Freedom Fone

Today, I will be informing the class on the Freedom Fone and how this telephony software answers the question of the week, which states, "What social and economic forces shape communication infrastructure?"

I will start off my presentation with a couple of key terms and then move on to tell you what Freedom Fone actually is. Freedom Fone is an open source telephony program that allows a free and easy way for members of a community to find out important information, transcending literacy barriers and without the need of the internet.

Next, I will inform the class on the history of Freedom Fone and how it was started by the Kubatana Trust, which is an online community of activists in Zimbabwe. Freedom Fone originally started in response to Zimbabwe's government controlled media. The members of Kubatana Trust wanted to give citizens a voice in society without the need for money, literacy, or the internet, which are all common problems in that area.

I will then discuss how Freedom Fone works through showing a video and explaining the use of audio voice menus, voice messages, SMS polls, and the call back option. I will also discuss the different uses of Freedom Fone. These uses include any type of situation in which a community is in need of information, such as communities effected by natural disaster or disease. Then, I will explain how Freedom Fone is form of New Media through being interactive, audience generated, digital, and narrowcasted.

After explaining Freedom Fone, I will present my discussion questions and then conclude my presentation by explaining how Freedom Fone answers the question of the week. I will reiterate to the class what types of social and economic forces are addressed with the new technology of Freedom Fone and how these forces have shaped this specific type of communication.

1 comment:

JordanAllison11 said...

Last class period, I discussed my case study of the Freedom Fone and how it answers the question, “What social and economic forces shape communication infrastructure?” The Freedom Fone was developed because of the economic barriers in Zimbabwe. These hindrances include a lack of internet and/or extra money.
I discussed the two terms, universal service and the digital divide, and how they are conflicting terms in today’s society. While universal service is the principle that everyone should have access to different forms of media, the digital divide explains reality, in that there is, in fact, a gap in internet usage between the rich and the poor. The creators of Freedom Fone understood this problem and developed a specific kind of communication technology, changing the type of media used in order to adapt to the specific needs of the Zimbabwe community. This software surpasses the disadvantage of not having the internet by supplying citizens with the information that people who do have access to the internet already receive.
The Kubatana Trust, believed that media was so government controlled that change needed to occur from the inside of the actual community in order for the community to develop, and they used Freedom Fone to do so. The Freedom Fone changed the flow of media in many ways. The Freedom Fone enables media to be interactive, audience generated, digital, and narrowcasted.
The Freedom Fone might benefit a society so much that it could enable a family’s socioeconomic status to change. It could prevent a person from dying of a disease, evading the distress of that individual’s family, which might give the family hope or passion to make a difference in society. It also might help a family receive information on how to improve their business in order to make more money, and therefore, move up in their social standings.
To answer the question of the week, Freedom Fone came about specifically in response to the economic struggles that Zimbabweans faced such as illiteracy and no internet access, and is being used to diminish those struggles.