Sorry for piping up without an intro, but I just returned from Uganda.
There community radio stations offer an email service to rural
listeners. Friends can email you care of the radio station and, at a
designated time, the radio will alert everyone who has received an
email. The charge for receiving an email in this way is approximately 5

I was in Uganda creating a digital bookmobile, which would download
public domain materials from the net, print and bind them into books and
distribute them to rural schools and families. So a form of mediation,

But you mention mediation by societal leaders - I'm not advocating that,
just the use of humans as technical conduits to information for the
benefit of massively nontechnical populations.

- Richard Koman
Program Director
Anwhere Books

Herman Wasserman wrote:
> Cliff, this is a very interesting line of argument -- if this 
> way of using the internet through an intermediary is a 
> general practice in Africa because of the lack of 
> connectivity, it might mean amending some of the theories of 
> Internet communication from the idea of the Internet as a 
> many-to-one or individualised, customised form of 
> communication to one that is similar to the two-step flow of 
> communication, where information is mediated by leaders or 
> representatives in society.
> Can you perhaps point me to some case studies of this type of 
> mediation, or to specific examples? Thanks
> Cliff Missen wrote:
>> Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to a Internet
>> Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
>> who holds an email account. There may someday be a SERVICE that enhances
>> this informal relationship to the point where a single "griot" can
>> manage email accounts for hundreds of clients through a simple handheld
>> device. It'll take a little tweaking of the current email and client
>> software, but it's very possible.

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