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Global Awareness

Image courtesy of bluebay at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bluebay at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learning Outcome

Global awareness and understanding of international issues and practices related to communication demonstrated by at least one activity or assignment that asks students to explore a communication situation or problem from a global/international perspective.

Examples

COMM 613: Discussion:Contemplating Multiple Audiences

COMM 638:  Google, Inc. as Global Internet Gatekeeper (Group paper)

COMM 638: Glocalizing the West: The Rise of the Contraflow

COMM 638: Supplemental: Glocalization of mobile

Reflection

While we had an entire course that focused on global communication (COMM 638 Strategic Communication for Global Audiences), throughout the program we engaged the idea of global audiences and global impact for many communication issues. As examples of this learning outcome, I’ve included a discussion post from COMM 613 Constructing Messages and Audiences on post-colonial feminism, two assignments from COMM 638 on transnational media companies, and a supplemental post I wrote for COMM 638.

The first three examples demonstrate assignments where I engaged a communication problem from a global perspective; however, I ‘d like to use the last example, Glocalization of mobile, the piece that I wrote as a supplemental post to the class. to demonstrate how this learning outcome is integrated across courses. At the beginning of COMM 638 I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 GSMA Connected Women conference for women in technology. GSMA is the professional organization for global mobile companies (transnational mobile providers), and the conference engaged the idea of global mobile from every angle–tech manufacturers, mobile service providers, development initiatives (public and private), non-profits, financial experts, women’s affinity groups. It was a chance to see feminist studies, post-colonial feminism, digital literacy, and global communication theory in action.

Image courtesy of GSMA.com.

Image courtesy of GSMA.com.

Here’s an excerpt from my piece:

The event was a chance to see theory in action. I walked around talking about Spivak, propoganda, media imperialism, glocalization, and at least some of the attendees understood what I was talking about….

No one used the term glocalization (though globalization was tossed around a lot), but this is what is happening with mobile technology globally. And TNCs are partnering with TNMCs to spread the glocalizing love. Coca-Cola is working with GSMA member mobile operators to support women entrepreneurs in their global supply chain. For example, in areas with sporadic electricity, Coca-Cola provides small retailers with solar powered coolers. Along with the coolers, they provide cell phone chargers. These chargers drive customers to come to the store (Journey Staff, 2014). In stories told about mobile markets in developing lands, there were many examples of the adopt and adapt approach of asymmetrical interdependence….

As a final observation, the speakers and topics of the conference really drove home the idea of the Generic Model of media imperialism that we’ve moved beyond the imperialism of the nation-state. There were speakers from every inhabited continent on the planet. Some were social entrepreneurs, others ran global mobile operators. There were representatives from USAID, financial reporters, tech industry consultants, and a variety of senior management leaders from the telecom industry. And yet, to a person, the emphasis was on the consumer, “the global economic imperative” (GSMA, 2014, p. 4) of the selling mobile. They may have had different reasons for it (jobs, altruism, corporate revenue, US agenda), but this diverse group was united in the goal of growing the consumer market for mobile globally.

This experience illustrates to me that, while we may study theory in separate categories, in reality, all of these concepts function together. Add to that the impact of consumer markets, human rights and political movements, climate change–the list is endless–and we begin to see the complex nature of communication in something as simple as a cell phone.

Favorite Global Media Issue: Globalization and women’s access to technology

References

GSMA. (2014). Accelerating the rise of the female digital economy: Event guide. Atlanta, GA: Author.

Journey Staff. (2014). Meet Preeti Gupta. Retrieved from http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/5by20/preeti-gupta