Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

How (over)sharing your financial data can be a great thing

Ryan O'Toole talks with the San Jose Mercury News' Chris O'Brien about "The case for oversharing" your financial data--at least when it's anonymously aggregated on behalf of community interests:

"[Banks] know quite a bit about how we spend our money," O'Toole said. "And they can mine a lot of this data. And they give that information to businesses and governments to support their agendas. We're really disenfranchised from really working with that same data."

This project is moving out of the ivory tower and into two pilot programs O'Toole is launching. The first is in South Wood County, Wis., where a local community foundation and O'Toole will create a site for people to share information about their income and their charitable giving. The hope is that by seeing what proportion of income people donate, others will be motivated to give more.

The second pilot is in Bucks County, Pa., where O'Toole and a local foundation will ask residents to post their natural gas bills online. They hope that by sharing that information, residents will be motivated to reduce their own use, and cut the county's carbon footprint dramatically.

Grassroots Mapping's Jeffrey Warren on WGBH's Emily Rooney Show

At the 43:30 mark, the Center's Jeffrey Yoo Warren speaks with WGBH's Emily Rooney about how he’s using cheap cameras affixed to kites and balloons to track the gulf oil spill. (Read more about the project at GrassrootsMapping.org.)

When Dora the Explorer Met INS: Playing with Popular Icons

As part of my lecture at the Fiske Matters conference, I shared many images of contemporary activist groups which drew upon images and icons from popular culture as "resources" which help them to capture the imagination and motivate the engagement of broader publics. As Fiske wrote,

Knight Foundation unveils 2010 Knight News Challenge grant recipients

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation--sponsor of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media--today announced their 2010 Knight News Challenge winners. Together, these winners form another ground-breaking, visionary class of civic media developers, inventors, and entrepreneurs.

Video of the announcement by Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen, as well as full descriptions of the funded projects, are available now via MIT. Please join us in congratulating the winners:

CityTracking, by Eric Rodenbeck, Stamen Design
$400,000
To make municipal data easy to understand, CityTracking will allow users to create embeddable data visualizations that are appealing enough to spread virally and that are as easy to share as photos and videos.

The Cartoonist, by Ian Bogost and Michael Mateas, Georgia Tech
$378,000
To engage readers in the news, this project will create a free tool that produces cartoon-like current event games -- the game equivalent of editorial cartoons.

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