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Social Media Use as Urban Acupuncture for Empowering Socially Challenged Communities


  • Jörn Messeter


This paper explores potential roles of social media in community empowerment, based on a study of a non-profit NGO in a socially challenged suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. In particular, it focuses on the relation between online and offline behavior, and how the use of social media can counteract negative influences in the community, e.g., drug abuse and gangsterism. Interviews with staff and participants reveal that using social media in a socially challenged community results in different social media use and different connections between online and offline activities than earlier social-media research reported.. These differences may inform design and social innovation for disruptive interaction to address negative influences, such as drugs and gangsterism, in socially challenged communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Jörn Messeter, 2015. "Social Media Use as Urban Acupuncture for Empowering Socially Challenged Communities," Journal of Urban Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 79-96, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:cjutxx:v:22:y:2015:i:3:p:79-96
    DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2015.1040291

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