The infrastructures of globalization - in particular the internet - encourage us to imagine the world as a thoroughly connected place, where people, goods and ideas flow freely across borders. The reality is more complicated - atoms are surprisingly mobile, while the mobility of bits is constrained by people's interests. If readers are fascinated by a story - the Green Revolution in Iran - they'll seek out available information. If they're not, whatever professional or amateur reporting is produced won't reach an audience.Media development professionals need to stop assuming that global infrastructures equal global coverage or global interest - instead, we need to map what coverage is actually being produced and start mapping people's consumption of media. We can rapidly discover that old imbalances in international media coverage are sustained in a digital age and that tools like Facebook don't magically build connections across borders of language, nation and culture.If we want citizen media to help close gaps in understanding, we need to take steps to make it easier for people to discover and embrace content from other parts of the world. This involves routinizing translation, creating curation strategies that emphasize serendipity over existing search or social discovery methods, and taking advantage of bridge figures who can contextualize local stories. Our goal might be to cultivate xenophiles, who are fascinated with the diversity of the world and anxious to do the hard work to cross barriers of language and culture.moreless
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