oa South African Journal of Information Management - Social media and mobile communications adoption patterns of South African civil society organisations : original research

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2078-1865
  • E-ISSN: 1560-683X



The resurgence of civil society has largely been attributed to the sector's ability to exploit new interactive technologies and its ability to adapt its communication and mobilisation strategies.

This study focuses on how South African civil society organisations (CSOs) deploy Web 2.0 services and technologies for social advocacy and the context of this technology use. Whilst the literature points to many studies relating to the use of the Internet for advocacy, it also suggests that the role and impact of emerging technologies have not been studied in any detail in CSOs. Such studies have the potential to provide new perspectives to current theoretical frameworks and also to add to the discourse around the use of emerging technologies for advocacy.
A survey of South African CSOs explored the level of knowledge of social media services and revealed which services in particular were being adopted.
The key findings that emerged were that the sector has a low level of knowledge of social media services and an accompanying low level of adoption. These are partly explained by factors such as macro-economic policies and low levels of Internet penetration and ICT readiness.
Further research to determine why certain social media services have been embraced more willingly than others and an analysis of the patterns of adoption to determine any underlying significance or relationships is necessary. An analysis of how CSOs build their advocacy capabilities by appropriating social media and how they thus provide alternate discourses and agendas would be instructive.

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