It’s not every day that you stumble across something which blows you away, especially when you don’t quite understand why. It happened to me on Sunday, and I’m still more than a little fascinated.
Described by MSNBC as “a site that will make you call your Mom”, Dear Photograph is a beautifully simple idea. Find an old picture, go back to where it was taken, hold it up, line it up, and re-take it. For loved ones long gone, it almost brings them back. To re-live good times (or bad), it almost brings them back. I can imagine that for many people doing this, it’s quite an emotional exercise. There’s something magical and challenging about re-living – and re-imagining – the past.
The site has only been going a short while, so it’s unclear if it’s going to “go viral” or not. Either way, it reminds me a little of PostSecret, which did turn out to be a huge success.
Date: Thursday 2nd June, 2011 Venue: Aspen Environment Forum, Aspen, Colorado Chair: Ned Breslin Speakers: Ken Banks, William Powers, Courtney Hight, Charles Porch
The Environmental Network
“Recent social movements in North Africa and the Middle East have shown the power of social media and mobile devices to accelerate change at the grassroots level. What lessons does that experience hold for the environmental movement? Can Facebook and Twitter somehow catalyze an environmental revolution as well – and is it happening already?”
The 2011 Aspen Environment Forum is presented by the Aspen Institute in partnership with National Geographic, and provides a critical framework for committed voices to address a significant milestone: A global population of 7 billion and how to reconcile Earth’s finite resources with its ability to sustain our expanding human needs.
Two organisations I’ve had the pleasure of working with – Tactical Tech and Fahamu – have independently announced the release of a film and a book which cover different aspects of non-profit digital activism. Both are well worth a look.
Info-activism.org – a Tactical Tech initiative – explores how rights advocates “use information and digital technology to create positive change”. Actions are broken down into 10 tactics which, through the site, provide original and artful ways for rights advocates to capture attention and communicate a cause (see video, above). The website includes a 50-minute film documenting inspiring info-activism stories from around the world and a set of cards, with tools tips and advice to help people plan their own info-activism campaigns. Further details of the launch are available on the BBC News website.
Turning to more traditional media, Fahamu/Pambazuka have published a new book – SMS Uprising: Mobile Phone Activism in Africa – which provides “a unique insight into how activists and social change advocates are addressing Africa’s many challenges from within, and how they are using mobile telephone technologies to facilitate these changes”.
The book is essentially a collection of essays by people engaged in using mobile phone technologies for social change, and it provides an analysis of the socio-economic, political and media contexts faced by activists in Africa today. The essays address a broad range of issues including inequalities in access to technology based on gender, rural and urban usage, as well as offering practical examples of how activists are using mobile technology to organise and document their experiences. Contributors include friends Sokari Ekine (Blacklooks) – also the editor – Amanda Atwood (Kubatana.net), Juliana Rotich (Ushahidi), Christian Kreutz (Crisscrossed.net) and others.
Congratulations to everyone at Tactical Tech and Fahamu on their initiatives, both of which provide valuable contributions to a growing body of literature on digital activism. Thanks also for the invitations to contribute – an honour and a pleasure!