10 February 2009


I have been reading this blog by Patrick Meier - a researcher who is investigating the ability of individuals to be self-sufficient, self-determined, and facilitate self-survival through information communication technology, which can include the internet, cell phones, SMS texting, and more. This includes the ability of individuals to develop and form non-violent uprisings and create change (digital activism). The way this is done is through bottom-up use of technology. For example, Ushahidi, is a crowdsoucing mapping platform that provides real-time information on situational awareness in conflict situations. The basic premises of Ushahidi ("testimony" in Swahili) is that citizen journalists in Kenya submit SMS text messages to a central organization that maps out the reports. The map can help management groups mitigate the crises.

I have talked about using SMS text messaging before to report violence in schools, but this is an entire movement - giving individuals the freedom to do their own surveillance, be citizen journalists, and create change through social uprisings. Cell phones are very prevalent in rural societies and are becoming even more common place. Through organizations such as InSTEDD and The Global Research In.itiative, disease surveillance and agricultural improvements can be accomplished through the individual use of technology.

This is an amazing use of technological advances to improve the lives of people around the world and it is an extremely fascinating area of study.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Thanks Hayley! :)