UPDATED info on Net Tuesday, June 2: Mobile Technology for Social Change

You are probably already aware that our next Net Tuesday (June 2, starting at 6:00 PM at Buffalo Billiards, 118 Chestnut Street) is going to be about Mobile Technology and Social Change. This was the theme of the fourth annual NetSquared conference (N2Y4) that Ivan and Seth just attended in San Jose. The centerpiece of the conference was a “challenge”, in which 14 new, innovative projects competed for prize money up to $25,000.

We were blown away by some of the projects we saw, and want to share on Tuesday evening. Some highlights:

  • First prize winner FrontlineSMS:Medic is saving lives in Africa with cell phones that rural health workers can use to access medical records and expertise, and (this is amazing) re-purposing the cell phone’s camera to perform breakthrough in-field diagnoses for malaria and other diseases. We’re planning to have the Clinical Programs Director participate in our meeting via videoconference to discuss it.
  • Second prize winners, the Extraordinaries, are developing a way for people to use their cell phones during “spare minutes” (like, on the bus) for a growing array of “micro-volunteer” projects, like tagging photos for the Library of Congress or translating subtitles for short videos.
  • Third place winner VoxMob – Mobile Voices / Voces Moviles is testing its project with immigrant workers in L.A. It empowers these people to express themselves in words, sounds and pictures to tell their stories and document abuses.
  • SeeClickFix is working on a project to enable regular people to take and upload a picture of a non-emergency problem they see (e.g., a pothole or drug deal), and then automatically map it and generate notices to pressure local agencies, politicians and others to address the problem. The mapping aspect of SeeClickFix is being prototyped on Philly.com.
  • The Mobile Giving Foundation enables non-profits to set up campaigns in which people can contribute small donations (e.g., $5 or $10) via their cell phones and charged on their phone bills (in which 100% of the contribution is passed through to the non-profit).

We also want to hear about your experiences or ideas about mobile tech and social change. In addition to illustrating these various initiatives, we’ll have a chance for folks to delve into the technology and/or how we can apply these capabilities to our causes here in Philly.

We’re at the very early stages of what promises to be a profoundly powerful movement to use these small and ubiquitous devices to advance social causes. Come discover and discuss what’s happening now, and get a glimpse into the future.

We’ll start gathering at 6:00 PM and begin the program at 6:30 (and we have the room until as late as 9:00). RSVP’s via the Meetup page are appreciated, but not necessary. Feel free to come and bring a friend.


Notes from the Net Tuesday Planning Meeting, November 11, 2008

Note about these notes:  These are raw notes taken by myself (Seth), and comprised primarily of the contents of sheets of brainstormed topics.  Being brainstorms, we wrote down whatever was contributed, despite some internal inconsistencies.   I’m including everything from the brainstorms into these notes, since this is the only documentation of the meeting (and I want to throw away those big sheets of paper!).   I’ve also composed an “Executive Summary” of my own, subjective “takeaway” from the meeting.  I invite others who attended to share their own recollections or perspectives.  And, of course, anyone who reads this is more than welcome to add their own comments.    – Seth

Executive Summary:  Net Tuesday Philly (the monthly meetings) and Philly NetSquared (the more broadly defined group) exist among a rich variety of related groups and events in the Philadelphia area.  Our core differentiation and value lies in creating a space for techies, social change agents and others who are interested in “using the social web for social change” to come together.  Nonprofit and social change folks can learn about these emerging technologies; techies can better understand how their skills and knowledge can be applied for social change; and all of us can learn from, support and inspire one another.  We want our monthly Net Tuesday meetings to emphasize cases, examples, practical applications, strategic considerations and effective networking.  And, under the Philly NetSquared banner, we want to develop additional opportunities for members to build relationships and benefit one another outside of monthly meetings.  This is really exciting, timely and important stuff.


(Full notes after the jump.)

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