Technology solutions can be software or hardware or even new ways of using old processes. They are tools that assist individuals and communities to engage with each other, share information, and take action.
Last month at the Center for Civic Media we held CrisisCamp Boston - an event that is part of the global Crisis Commons organization and sprung out of the Hurricane Hackers group that began life in the Center for Civic Media. There were three motivations for organizing the event: to build on the success of the Sandy group and move forward with those projects, to tackle an immediate and local issue (Boston's flu emergency) and to experiment with a new hackathon / workshop format.
Submitted by elplatt on December 27, 2012 - 10:35am
In the Vojo community call on Tuesday, December 18, we invited organizations using Vojo to to share their experiences and materials for training and mobilizing new users. A few themes emerged from the discussion.
Actively collecting stories in workshops and in the community is more effective than a simple call for submissions.
Face-to-face instruction is helpful for new users.
Printed, take-home guides are a good supplement to face-to-face instruction.
Submitted by natematias on December 20, 2012 - 5:53pm
In this parallel post alongside one by Denise Cheng, I review the media-making practices of 350.org, who coordinate thousands of events into global days of climate action. I also propose two technology designs for collaboratively tagging and remixing media from an event.
Here at the Center for Civic Media, we have spent the last year discussing the idea of peer-based politics. In a Media Lab talk at the beginning of the year, Rebecca McKinnon argued that international politics sometimes needs the consent of the networked.
An exciting project for the team this year has been the development of New Day New Standard, a hotline that informs nannies, housekeepers, elder caregivers, and their employers about the landmark Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, passed in New York State in November 2010.
In the seven months since it launched, the average call on NDNS lasted 3 minutes and 17 seconds. That's an exciting figure, given that it's much longer than you'd expect the average user to spend looking at a web page. May, launch month, was the peak month for usage, although NDNS has continued to attract callers: usage rose again in October, when callers spent a total of 490 minutes on the line. We're now in a position to do more research with our users to find out which functions and stories they engaged with the most.
Submitted by hiDenise on December 14, 2012 - 2:32pm
A few weeks ago, Rogelio and I attended an intriguingly titled talk, "What would W.E.B. Du Bois say about inequality in digital societies?" It was part of a lecture series probing inequality and exclusion in a digital economy. Rogelio has a full write-up of the event here.
The lecturer, Dr. Ernest J. Wilson III, noted that the digital divide is still very real, but its meaning has shifted. The argument for closing the digital divide always had an economic component: Computer access and basic literacy skills would enable people to build resumes and navigate professional networking sites. Now, Wilson argued, it means that those without digital skills will be left behind as the Western world moves toward a digital service economy.
Have you ever been forwarded an email that you just can’t believe? Our inboxes are rife with misinformation. The truth is out there, just not when we actually need it. LazyTruth is a Gmail gadget that surfaces verified truths when you receive common chain emails.
How many emails, texts, or phone calls from an organization can you stand until you start automatically labeling the entire operation as spam? For my final project, I will focus on mass communication from organizations with the intention of driving civic action, particularly methods and frequency of communication.
With the 2012 elections, many found themselves the target of mass communication. This blog post will focus on one example of mass communication from a political campaign — Barack Obama’s calling campaign call.barackobama.com, a grassroots campaign to reach voters through their neighbors.
A blog post from April 18 by the campaign described the tool well — “The call tool is already changing what it means to volunteer—allowing anyone, anywhere, to pitch in.”
Submitted by Andrew on November 15, 2012 - 10:18am
If you've spent any time in the American south -- or at the food court in Burlington Mall, ten miles outside Boston -- you've likely gone weak at the knees at the mention of Chick-fil-A. The waffle fries. The sweet tea. And tops, the spicy chicken sandwich.
A day before Hurricane Sandy touched down, netizens began to congregate via etherpads, Google Docs and IRC, assuming the name “HurricaneHackers.”
HurricaneHackers teamed up with Sandy CrisisCamps—a series of hackathons organized by CrisisCommons around the world—to host a hackathon at MIT Media Lab. About 30 participants worked together throughout the day to figure out how a remote set of volunteers could support Sandy relief with communication technologies.
Pablo and Denise were the main facilitators for the hackathon. With Pablo’s experience organizing OccupyData hackathons and Denise’s participation in hackathons, we knew that a common gathering place is powerful for imaginative and holistic thinking, and to matchmake that thinking with real world needs.