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Natural Social Spaces: How Do We Research Social Media and Development Trends, Dynamics, and Impact?

Publish Date: September 2019
Author: MCSP

Increasingly, development action, discussion, and debate are taking place on social media platforms. These platforms — from Twitter, Facebook, Vkontakte, Instagram and Snapchat, to hundreds of smaller, niche platforms — are generally not those of governments or development and international organizations. Instead, they are comprised of people in their online spaces and communities sharing information, ideas, opinions and opportunities to engage and organize with other people who share their interests.

Those of us engaged in local, national and international development must then ask ourselves: How do we research the impact of social media processes on development progress? The immunization situation in Ukraine provides an excellent example to research this dynamic and challenge. The country that once had some of the lowest immunization rates in the world, also has some of highest online participation and usage rates globally.