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Conference on Cell Phones and Civic Empowerment
Emily Gertz, 13 Jul 05

Mobile phones: How we love their transformative potential on Worldchanging.
With all the ways mobiles a becoming key tools for economic and political development world wide, it's probably a great time for strategic gatherings to share stories and lessions learned from the field.

Now Worldchanging ally Marty Kerns of Green Media Toolshed writes to tell us about the MobileActive Convergence conference in September. Activists, technologists and big thinkers from around the world are being invited to come and confab on how they're using mobile phones for political and economic empowerment, activist connections, and organizing:

As with all previous leaps in technology, cell phones are used to empower organizing efforts (just like early campaigns using printed materials, TV, radio, fax, email, web, etc.). The time has come to recognize the power of the cell phone as an organizing and campaign communication tool...[T]he goal [of MobileActive] is to shorten the learning curve and accelerate the use of cell phones as a successful tool in campaigns, human rights efforts and field organizing.

The "MobileActive" convergence will develop new guides for campaign planners, communications staff and technology staff. Case studies from the field will be explored and a short list of recommendations will be developed for funders interested in supporting campaigns and issue organizing that use mobile phones as an engagement tool.

Read on to get a sample of the mobile phone projects we've been tracking on Worldchanging.

We've talked about how mobiles can enhance communication and contribute to bottom-up economic development in poor nations in Africa (including Emeka Okafor's contribution on using SMS to enhance trade in the market square), and observed the advent of programs like Emerging Markets Handset Program to get mobiles into the hands of citizens in developing nations.

We've witnessed Morquendi's text messaging from disaster zones on the The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog in the first days after the South Asia tsunami, and the Alert Retrieval Cache project that grew out of that.

We reported as activists gave on-the-fly political demonstrations via textmobbing a try during the Republican National Convention in Summer 2004, and how mobile messaging, photos and video from people on the scene have already become a vital part of the record of last Thursday's terrorist bombings in London.

We've been tracking the evolution of municipal emergency and alerts text messaging, and on a lighter note, the bleeding-edge potential of a game like CamBlaster! to combine various cell phone technologies in complex ways.

And we've tried to keep up as the darn things multiply like baby rabbits, making methods for recycling or reusing them a priority.

Update 07-14-05: I've rearranged this post to put the newest information at the top, so it won't get hidden at the bottom of the extended entry.

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Great post!! I'm glad to see this conference taking place.

As a side, in the post itself, the link to Green Media Toolshed appears to be broken.


Posted by: T.W.Vincent on 13 Jul 05

Thanks, Thom. I've fixed the link.

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 13 Jul 05



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