User-friendly democracy

CivicEvolution is an online public utility to help citizens influence their communities by collaboratively developing proposals to solve problems.

The structured dialogue process of CivicEvolution leads participants through problem definition, brainstorming alternative solutions, analyzing pros and cons and making and defending a recommendation. Within each step participants engage in a process of dialogue, brainstorming, collaboration, and deliberation.

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Revolutionizing humanitarian response

Reflections on Online Activism in India

Anja Kovacs’ article excerpted here:

“Research and activism on the Internet in India remain fledgling in spite the media hype, says Anja Kovacs in her blog post that charts online activism in India as it has emerged.

Since the late 1990s when protesters against the WTO in Seattle used a variety of new technologies to revolutionize their ways of protesting so as to further their old goals in the information age, much has been made of the possibilities that new technologies seem to offer social movements. The emergence of Web 2.0 seems to have only multiplied the possibilities of building on the Internet’s democratising potentials, so widely heralded since the rise of the commercial Internet in the 1990s, and since then, the use of social media for social change has received widespread media attention worldwide. From Spain to Mexico, activists used the Internet as a central tool in their efforts to organise and mobilise – be it to express their stand against a war in Iraq, against a Costa Rican Free Trade Agreement with the United States, to mobilise support for the Zapatistas of Chiapas, or more recently, to push for a change of guard in Iran.

In 2009, when Nisha Susan launched the Pink Chaddi campaign, the ‘ICT for Revolution’ buzz finally seemed to have reached India as well. Phenomenally successful in terms of the attention it generated for the issue it sought to address, the campaign sought to protest in a humorous fashion against attacks on women pub-goers in Karnataka by Hindu right wing elements. In only a matter of weeks, Facebook associated with the campaign – ‘The Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women’, which gathered tens of thousands of members. It was ultimately killed off when Susan’s Facebook account was cracked by rivals. The campaign was perhaps the singular most successful account of ‘digital activism’ in India so far, and an impressive one by all measures.

The creativity of the campaign should not come as a surprise to those familiar with the long and rich history of activism for social change in India. Organised social actors have been critical influences in the emergence of new social identities as well as on critical policy junctures from colonial times onwards, developing a fascinating and unmistakably Indian language of protest in the process (see Kumar 1997 and Zubaan 2006 for examples from feminist movement)...”

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Aggregating information rapidly in response to natural disaster in Haiti

In response to the massive and catastrophic earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, quickly built an online information resource platform for Haiti, which lets people on the ground pinpoint on a map specific places where help is immediately needed and to provide updates and stories via text, email, tweeting and an online form.  The site also provides photos, videos and news about shortages, response and threats. 

Ushahidi’s site is a comprehensive and managed platform, a great example of the power of media and information to support immediate need in crisis situations.

Geo-Bombing: From Global Voices Advocacy

Geo-bombing is one of the techniques that can be employed to enable more effective dissemination of your YouTube videos campaign through Google mapping applications like Google Maps and Google Earth. Now you can watch your geotagged videos inside Google Earth and Google Maps. Any geo-tagged YouTube video will show up when the Youtube layer of Google Earth/Maps is turned on.

Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of this powerful technique.

1- Geo-tagging your video: During the upload process on YouTube you can geo-tag your video with a location.  Once the location has been recorded and the video uploaded it will appear on Google Earth.

2- How to display geo-tagged Youtube videos on Google Earth?  To activate the Google YouTube layer, you have to navigate to the “Layers” menu on the left-hand side of Google Earth. Expanding the “Gallery” node in the layers tree will expose the “Youtube” layer. Once you check the box next to Youtube Layer all the Google YouTube icons appear all over the globe.

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Germination is a production company bringing people together to develop innovative solutions to social issues.

Lina Srivastava

Lina Srivastava helps agents of social change by providing socially conscious and business-savvy strategic consulting services.

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