Research Director Latonero discusses trends in social media during visit to Saudi Arabia

latonero_SA.png “Social media are growing in popularity throughout the world, but at this historic moment, nowhere is its presence more groundbreaking than in the Middle East,” said CCLP’s Director of Research & Instruction Mark Latonero.

In May, Latonero joined a team of scholars from the US and Middle East in Saudi Arabia as a part of an educational visit to share information on the American higher education system and also to learn more about the use of communication technology in the region.

Latonero visited a class on social media during his trip, and noted that “communication majors were learning about how governments, businesses and individuals are using social media to organize and share information.”

Although much of the media attention has focused on the use of social media in the “Arab Spring,” new technologies are also being used in disaster response.

During his visit, Latonero learned how Twitter was used to share information about last year’s floods in Jeddah. Speaking to students, Latonero discussed his research on the use of information and communication technology in emergency management.

In November 2010, Latonero traveled to Haiti to research the use of mobile phones in the country’s ongoing recovery from the devastating January 2010 earthquake. In 2010, he also traveled to the Mekong Sub-region to investigate how communication technology can be used in the fight against human trafficking.

“Social media can be repurposed in ways that fit the communication needs of users in situations like crises, disasters, and human rights,” Latonero said.