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Short Message Social Networking and Emerging Digital Literacies

Nimmi Rangaswamy


We present insights from a case-study of SMSGupShup, the largest mobile social networking platform in India, by adopting a digital inclusion lens to understand information sharing and communication practices steering computer literacy among users. We point to the pioneering affordances of the platform in a developing country allowing a variety of skill share and transfer between mobile communities. Ostensibly friendship, instant connection and sharing via an affordable ‘one click’ SMS channel and competitive pricing are why users flock to SMSGupShup. Underlying these is the use of platform by the more privileged tech-savvy group exchanging skillful information with those less capable of doing the same. Equally and arguably important are the affordances of sharing information to hack programs and crack phone codes to expand usage skills. Amidst a variety of usages to achieve diverse ends, social media emerges as a powerful tool to meet the goals of digital inclusion and literacy


Publication typeInproceedings
PublisherIFIP 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries
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