Social Networks, Social Change: An Online Paradigm Shift in Cote d’Ivoire

By Carolina Loza For many, social networking is an irrelevant distraction, a facile means of wasting time with games and chatting. For others, it has become an effective method for contacting activists, organizing gatherings and expressing dissent. In Cote d’Ivoire, it has proven a faster, and arguably more effective, means of providing assistance than many of the international organizations working in the field. During the vicious civil conflict in 2010 and 2011, social media may have been as important as the telephone in saving lives and directing emergency services. Twenty-five years ago, the former French colony of Cote d’Ivoire was seen as a beacon of stability in the troubled region of West Africa. Often dubbed “the miracle of West Africa,” it maintained close ties with the West after gaining independence and established itself as the largest cocoa exporter in the world. Blessed with beautiful beaches, fresh fruit and a friendly ... read more