Best Paper in the Community Informatics Research Network Conference
The paper “Older people’s use of Social Network Sites while participating in local online communities from an ethnographical perspective” by Valeria Righi, Sergio Sayago and Josep Blat received the Best Conference Paper Award in the Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN12) Conference in Prato, Italy.
Despite the widely adoption of Social Network Sites (SNS) in the current society and the growing tendency towards promoting the active participation of citizens through online communities, very few studies have regarded older people (60+) as users of SNS. The study presented in the paper attempts to address this gap and to gain an understanding on how SNS can be used to foster the involvement of older people in local communities. To this end, we conducted a classical ethnographical study that explores older people’s use of popular SNS, such as Facebook and YouTube, in a concrete and already established offline community in the Sant Marti district in Barcelona. The results discuss the evolution of older people’s interests in SNS and concerns over time, the type of their participation in online communities, and the importance of trust, together with the strategies they adopt to build trust online.
The paper attempts to contribute to the field of community informatics by shading light on a particular group of users who might run the risk of being excluded from the online life of their local communities, and by providing key aspects that should be considered when designing community networks that support and encourage an active participation of older people.
The study described in the paper has been conducted within the framework of the Life 2.0 project.
V. Righi, S. Sayago, J. Blat, (2012) Older people’s use of Social Network Sites while participating in local online communities from an ethnographical perspective. CIRN 2012 Community Informatics Conference: ‘Ideals meet Reality’, 7 – 9 Nov, Prato (Italy), ISBN: 978-0-9874652-0-7