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Brazil: Introducing the Web, a “Digital Baptism”

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A “Digital Baptism” brought digital inclusion to Belo Horizonte, the capital of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The event this Saturday, organized in a partnership between local Government, Public Ministry and the Lan House Association, had the goal of promoting digital inclusion and on-line entrepreneurship. This was the first time the Digital Baptism took place in Belo Horizonte, although the event had already happened sporadically in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro since 2005.

Under a big tent in one of the capital's squares, there were 50 computers connected to the web and during the whole day 100 facilitators helped people of all ages and backgrounds on the online ladder. There were two main types of workshops: the Digital Baptism 1.0, for those who had never had the chance to operate a computer to learn the basics and surf the Internet for the first time, and the Digital Baptism 2.0, for more advanced users who wanted to delve deeper into the world wide web and investigate new tools. Fábio Santos reports on Twitter:

fabiosan

Haroldo, of 44, brought his boys, of 9 and 12, to Digital Baptism today. He is worried about the online safety of his kids, #bdigitalmg

Twitter user @fabiosan also tells us the story of the 67 year old lady who had never used a computer before and decided to attend the Digital Baptism so that she could learn new ways of communicating with her already connected sisters, who live in another state:

fabiosan1

Ms Ignês couldn't ($) talk to her sisters living in Rio over the phone. “Now I can join the conversation”. She's been baptised. #bdigitalmg

This post from the event's blog contrasts new “baptised” users by age. The top picture is by Flickr user pvilla:

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100_2580-1Todas as idades passam por aqui!

People of all ages are here!

This one introduces the new Twitter users from Belo Horizonte:

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Com auxílio do Rosalves, os novos agentes aprenderam a Usar o Twitter!

With the help of facilitator Rosalves, the new facilitators learn how to use Twitter!

Below is a video of the event posted by equipeteiamg. Some more videos can be accessed via the event's aggregator.

The event was lived blogged and streamed through a website that collected all reactions on Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and blogs, among others, tagged with the hashtag #bdigitalmg.

4 comments

  • Hey Paula, you could be interested in HashDictionary – the Twitter hashtag dictionary. You can put the #bdigitalmg in it for posterity. I love the idea of a digital baptism! Even though I can’t understand the tweets that were posted :)

  • Tay Tantivirun

    I don’t really understand the concept of this. Is it a program for surfing the world wide web or is it a person being baptize?

    (useful tips) maybe you could include something that explain more about this religious ceremony (maybe I got the wrong idea, maybe it’s nothing to do with religious)

    So is this program design for any age group of people top learn how to surf the net? Is the name of the program related to anything religious? By reading the comment and the post, this program seems to be similar to a social networking site where you interact with other people.

    I might be on the wrong track because I don’t have a clue of what this is about? Sorry. Would it be possible if you describe a bit more about this on email.

  • Hello Tay

    Thank you for your comment and sorry if the post was not clear. This has absolutely nothing to do with religion, the word baptism has been used in a metaphorical way to say these people had the opportunity to be introduced to the Internet for the first time in their lives. You know, for people to learn how to use a mouse, how to find something in search engines, how to open an email account, things that we take as guaranteed.

    That is why I put it in inverted commas. So, again, nothing to do with the church/religion.

    Best
    Paula

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