The Role of Social Connectors in Seeking Computer-mediated Information in Rural Societies

Antonio Díaz Andrade, Cathy Urquhart


This article discusses what we see as the critical role of individuals and their information seeking behaviour when using information and communication technology (ICT). In our fieldwork in northern Peru, we found that the role of particular individuals was critical in the sharing of computer-mediated information in six rural communities. These individuals tended to be people who enjoyed passing on information and people who had larger networks than their peers did. We develop a theoretical framework that combines theories of information seeking and social capital to explain the process of computer-mediated information sharing in a rural setting. We discuss this framework with some illustrations from our study. We conclude by calling for more research into the role of the individual in seeking and disseminating computer-mediated information, especially within the context of ICT for development projects.

Full Text: