How Social Media Could Power Rural Development – Adeyemi Oluwatosin Dotun, Policy Analyst

Over the years, the disparities between urban and rural areas have been very significant. From infrastructure to healthcare, IT to other basic equipment, the gap between the two has not been the same. This gap has seriously made rural areas less developed compared to urban areas. Many rural areas are facing problems such as sanitation, public health care. Social media can still find a relevant place in the midst of these gaps. In India, for example, social media has affected all spheres of life for rural people: from their livelihoods to their healthcare, from traditions to social campaigns. (Wikipedia)

Many people have defined social media networks from time to time. But overall, most people find social media to be synonymous with social media. Social media are websites and applications that allow users to create and share content or participate in social networks. According to Wikipedia, these are interactive technologies that allow the creation / sharing of information, ideas, interests and other forms of expression through communities and virtual networks. Some of the most popular include Facebook, Whatsapp, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, among others. The role of social media, like anything else, has its negative impact and its positive impact on development, although one can far outweigh the other. In this article, we will look at the roles that social media can play in rural development.

Innovation and social media technologies are propelling new solutions in terms of distance from markets for agricultural goods and products, from their transport. The puzzle of getting agricultural products to cities despite bad roads is a challenge. The tendency for some of the goods to rot is very high. They can now operate social media apps, especially Facebook, which seems to be pretty basic for people with low literacy and very user-friendly for uploading their wares, goods, and products. This makes it attractive for people and food production industries to access and spare rural dwellers the pains of coming to town without a ready-made market. It opens the particular rural establishment of this kind.

In addition, it encouraged the political participation of rural people outside of the usual voting days. Access to social media has helped them see what’s going on in the political space. At least the literate people in the community are aware of and have similar relationships with other members of the community. This helps to embolden them and make them aware of asking for fundamental rights to equipment and not just waiting for their homes to be accessible only when voting.

It is worth noting how social media has propelled entertainment and fashion to rural areas. This has significantly reduced the disparity that was quite obvious in terms of “knowing what’s going on” when the rural dwellers come to the city. When it comes to the latest secular or spiritual songs, slang, artists, band-aids and hairstyles, social media has helped bridge the gap to a large extent.

Social media has helped spread the mission and vision of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the global goals. It is a universal call to action by the United Nations to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. It has 17 pillars some of which include climate action, quality education, clean water and sanitation, among others. The SDGs are disseminated daily by volunteers and non-governmental associations committed to one of its pillars or another. Some of the ways they are disseminated for awareness and action is by putting them on different social media platforms. This awareness in the minds of the population is helping more volunteers move out of urban dwellings that might have had their homes in rural settlements to look inside. They return to seek support and ensure that these goals are met in their villages, thus propelling development in these rural communities.

When social media is used properly, the scope of development it can enable rural settlements will be quite large. As it is commonly said, “The world is now a global village. This saying is true especially with the way different social media have exposed all humans to each other.


About Keneth T. Graves

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