mobile devices | MIT Center for Civic Media

Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important as a means of distributing and sharing information. Cell phones, wireless hand-held computers, and new devices we haven't even seen yet are being used in new and unanticipated ways.

The Question Campaign: 21 Days of questions, 365 Days of action.

The Question Campaign,, launched in the City of Cambridge on Weds Oct 17 as part of the Cambridge Campaign Against Domestic Violence. For the next 21 Days, the Question Campaign will ask for people in Cambridge to donate their questions about Domestic Violence. Following that, through a series of public processes, the campaign partners and Cambridge residents will identify common questions and work towards local policy and service provision that responds to these questions.

Talking Fast II: More CrisisMapper Ignite Sessions

Luis Capelo (@luiscape) of Digital Humanitarian Network loves volunteers. DH exists to stimulate more interaction between humanitarian volunteers and large humanitarian institutions.

There's information overload in humanitarian responses. How do we collect and make sense of all this information? Luis credits humanitarian orgs with doing the hard work of adapting, but it's a rough sea to navigate. Volunteer & Technical Communities thrive in this environment. They're nimble, lightweight, and advanced, technically. Luis thinks its time to stop questioning whether VT&Cs can help, and begin to dive into how these groups can collaborate.

DH aims to create a consortium of groups that faciliates between the two worlds, and reduces the cost of collaboration
They have a simplified activation process: activate volunteers, triage the volume, and forward them to VT&Cs. They've produced a guide to manage the activation of VT&Cs.

VoIP Drupal

VoIP Drupal is an innovative framework that brings the power of voice and Internet-telephony to Drupal sites. It can be used to build hybrid applications combining regular touchtone phones, web, SMS, Twitter, IM and other communication tools in a variety of ways, including:

Vojo Community Calls Begin

We hosted our first Vojo community webinar this week to bring Vojo users together to learn and practice customizing their groups' appearance and audio prompts. We'll be hosting these calls on the 1st and 3rd Tues of every month 3pm-4pm EST. Our next call will be on Tues Oct 16 and we'll practice embedding Vojo feeds into our other media spaces -- organization web sites, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Video capture from this week's call:
Notes from the call:

Hero Reports/Crónicas de Héroes

Project Status: 

Hero Reports is a web based campaign of positive thinking established in New York during 2001.

Vojo at the Boston Brazilian Independence Day Festival

Vida Verde Cooperative

Last week, Becky, Sasha, and I went to the Brazilian Independence Day Festival in Boston: a lot of Brazilian food, music and dance. I have been in the US since August after joining the CMS Program as a Master’s student and the Center of Civic Media as a research assistant. It was amazing to hear Brazilian Pop Music again and clap along the Capoeira rhythm. In Brazil, I had been working as a Science reporter for O Estado de S. Paulo since 2007. Before that, I was a computer programmer.

Vojo workshop with CCTV!

I visited Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) today to do a Vojo workshop with CCTV staff and Neighbormedia reporters. We practiced posting stories, created accounts, and discussed how Neighbormedia will use Vojo on Friday's PARK(ing) Day to collect stories from the CCTV parking space about Central Square. To see some of the stories we posted, check out the CCTV group on Vojo.

We're beginning to standardize our workshop agendas which have their basis in workshops that the VozMob team run, customized for Vojo and groups we're working with.

What's Up

Project Status: 

What's Up is a software platform designed to allow people in a small geographic community to share information, plan events and make decisions, using media that is as broadly inclusive as possible.

The web today does a tremendous job in terms of storing and aggregating information. However, people still need to have access to the Internet in order to benefit from what is available online. Instead, What’s Up provides alternative pathways to get information to people wherever they are, independently of the level of access that they might have to computers or the Internet.

The platform can aggregate data from online community calendars to make the information available via low cost LED signs that can be placed in public locations, or via things like customized paper flyers and posters to be posted and distributed in the area.

What’s Up also generates a simple, yet powerful community hotline that is usable with the lowest-end mobile and touchtone phones.

Responses to discriminatory immigration and biased policing

The recent Supreme Court ruling on SB1070 and ongoing campaigns to raise awareness around biased policing codified at national, state, and local levels have led to some similar communication tech projects. I’ve been talking to people involved in various campaigns about their work and the tech projects they’ve developed. In this post, I’m summarizing some of these conversations.

SCOTUS upholds SB1070’s “Papers please” provision
In late June, the Supreme Court announced its decision on 4 provisions of Arizona’s state bill 1070 establishing new state policies around immigration enforcement. SCOTUS was deciding on whether these provisions overstepped the rights of a state as the federal government is meant to be the institution with the right to create and enforce immigration laws nationwide.