Friend or fiend: Prototyping for social cohesion
Motivation - Communication technologies providing location-based and social applications may stimulate social cohesion and community building in deprived neighbourhoods. This study investigates the expertise required to develop mobile, social and context-sensitive applications. Research approach - Advanced students in Media Technology were instructed to create a mobile, social and context-sensitive application using a concept and programming tools of their own choosing. The students' progress was observed and the results were assessed in terms of technical soundness and social success. Findings/Design - This study shows that it is not necessary to rely on computer experts or social experts to successfully create applications to increase the social cohesion within communities. Research limitations/Implications - This study was limited by allowing participants to use themselves and their friends as the target community instead of an external community which is different from themselves. The success of the social computing apps was not investigated with an external community, this remains to be done in a subsequent studies. Originality/Value - The study concerns an applied study into the use of communication technologies for community building. Take away message - The results of a programming exercise indicate that applied science students are very well able to develop mobile, social and context-sensitive applications.