Creating Technology for Social Change

Civic media finale

When I talked about what I thought civic media before we began our course, I made an emphasis on participation and process. Participation in the creation of our own tools and expressions, so we don’t have to passively rely on those that are given to us. The process of participating and interacting with information is a process of experimentation and of conversation with ourselves and each other. This process creates community, the ability to talk with each other, share and form relationships on the basis of information.

These relationships, this process, will help to empower the people involved and to open them up to new and exciting possibilities. But “equality of conditions” and breaking up the old media paradigms are needed so we don’t recreate the same power structures that will also just reproduce the same type of messages being delivered. As we mentioned on one of our first days of class, civic media “connects the individual to the community” without the need for any action. Yet, there is the potential for action, once you have established the relationships and shared the information, you will now have that choice.

However, something that I missed, and that after four months of learning more about civic media, I realized the importance of re-imagining structures in order to help us make the tools that we have available consciously address the problems of inclusion and the diversity of multiple perspectives and voices as we create and exchange information with each other. To create something truly innovative, technology will help to some extent, but everything will remain the same if we don’t focus on people as the main actors of the creative process, in all of its potential. Civic media, for this purpose, might be one of the only ways to open up the democratic commons.

Oh, and that it is OK to fail. It is part of it.