Mobile phones and social structures: an exploration of a closed user group in rural Ghana
- Equal contributors
1 The International Health Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
2 The Earth Institute at Columbia University, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 401, New York, NY 10115, USA
3 Bonsaaso (Ghana) Millennium Villages Project, P.O. Box 1, Manso-Nkwanta, Ashanti Region, Ghana
4 MDG Centre West and Central Africa, 21B Route des Almdies, B.P. 14488 Dakar, Senegal
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2013, 13:100 doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-100Published: 3 September 2013
In the Millennium Villages Project site of Bonsaaso, Ghana, the Health Team is using a mobile phone closed user group to place calls amongst one another at no cost.
In order to determine the utilization and acceptability of the closed user group amongst users, social network analysis and qualitative methods were used. Key informants were identified and interviewed. The key informants also kept prospective call journals. Billing statements and de-identified call data from the closed user group were used to generate data for analyzing the social structure revealed by the network traffic.
The majority of communication within the closed user group was personal and not for professional purposes. The members of the CUG felt that the group improved their efficiency at work.
The methods used present an interesting way to investigate the social structure surrounding communication via mobile phones. In addition, the benefits identified from the exploration of this closed user group make a case for supporting mobile phone closed user groups amongst professional groups.