Rapidly shifting technologies are challenging assumptions about access to the Internet as communities viewed as “marginalized” are finding their way to social networking sites and other forms of online connection. This article draws from a 2014 survey of 135 street-involved youth aged fifteen to twenty-four in three British Columbia, Canada communities and shows that their use of digital technology and social networking sites is approaching the ubiquitous and persistent use by their housed peers. The vast majority of street-involved youth are using Facebook to stay connected (94%) and they are negotiating physical space and social relationships to have computer access through public libraries (64%), friends (55%), and drop in centers (51%). Youth are also strategically using free wifi (89%) to access the Internet. While cell phones have become a vital communication and entertainment device, their ownership is transitory and fractured—56 percent of youth surveyed had two or more cell phones in the year and 37 percent carry debts to previous cell phone providers. The social inequities that bring youth to the complex and risk-filled world of the street may exclude them from integral parts of society as they are viewed as different and outside the norm. This exploratory research suggests that street-involved youths’ online expression and communication may be a key means by which they source out social inclusion by negotiating and, temporarily, transcending the challenges of their daily lives.
Information technology (IT) enables the dissolution of firm boundaries to connect thousands of people in a “crowd” beyond the firm boundaries. This study advances the former research as a superordinate innovation model using comprehensive approach. I propose the superordinate innovation model, which is crowd-centered innovation using IT, called “crowdinnovation” to promote the innovation. I defined “crowdinnovation”, whereby “innovation resources” can be obtained via a “crowd service” to create and accelerate innovation. The crowd services include social media, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, and crowdstorming and so on. The innovation resources include information, funding, customers, human resources, knowledge, and ideas. This umbrella concept enables innovation to promote as the concept-driven business model. I found the global “long tail” effect of “crowd service.” It remains for companies to accept the challenge of how to use crowdinnovation.
Videoconferencing has long had a bad reputation as an ineffective means of communication, including distance learning in the education field. We break those barriers by introducing the design elements and ideas that were implemented at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to design and construct a videoconferencing room that simulates a telepresence environment. The heart of the design incorporates certain elements to make the far-end participants feel as life-like as possible for the local participants, and in the process making communication more effective. There are several telepresence systems and full-fledged room installations on the market that are extremely expensive and essentially out of reach for many schools, universities, businesses, and other organizations. Our solution eliminates the need for hiring expensive consultants and audio-visual specialists and instead focuses on very simple design elements that will simulate a high-end telepresence experience for users, all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional video conference room. Since the design and construction of this room at UTEP, students, faculty, staff, and other community members have experienced a much richer experience for meetings, distance classes, interviews, and other similar events.