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WeGov

Creating Bottom-Up Tech Tools to Fight Ebola

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, November 21 2014

Liberian youths flash their mobile phones in support of UNICEF's U-Report (UNICEF Liberia)

The fight against Ebola in West Africa is far from over. TechPresident recently covered New York Tech Meetup’s Ebola Hackathon and wrote about what technology can and can’t do. But what emerged from these discussions is that technology needed to be more responsive -- designed after community input and not before. Here are a few systems that were built in just that manner. Read More

WeGov

Weekly Readings: War on Rumors

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, May 5 2014

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. Read More

First POST: Messaging

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 30 2014

How Americans are(n't) responding to the dangers of the Heartbleed bug; mobile politicking's unconquered territory; how some of Silicon Valley is embracing the "nerd prom"; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, April 9 2014

A screenshot of today's Google Score

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.

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WeGov

Canadian Sex Workers Offered Support & Counseling Via Text Message

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, March 26 2014

Sex work isn't what it used to be (Wikipedia)

Sex workers are a lot more likely to connect with clients from behind a computer screen than through an open car window these days. Nearly half of the pimps surveyed in a recent Urban Institute study of the underground commercial sex economy reported using online advertisements or classifieds to reach clients. One consequence of this shift is that outreach workers have had to change tactics. In a pilot program called “Project Backpage” activists are scraping phone numbers in “adult” ads on a popular online classifieds site and sending out text messages with offers of support and counseling.

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WeGov

In India, Voice Messaging Mobilizes More Effectively Than SMS

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, December 11 2013

Drought-dry dirt. (Flickr/Mundoo)

In the midst of the terrible drought that struck the Indian state Maharashtra in March 2012, a political scandal broke and revealed a top minister was helping divert water from farmers to power plants. Greenpeace India launched an awareness building campaign on May 22 by unfurling a 250 foot banner that read “Water For Farmers / Not Power Plants” over a dam. Although an online petition garnered support from urbanites, Greenpeace India needed to reach people in rural areas, the ones hurt most by the drought. The Digital Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace (MobLab) blog took a critical look at what worked and what didn't, and interactive voice response comes out a winner.

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WeGov

"Dumbphones" To Get A Bit Smarter With Wikipedia Zero

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, October 28 2013

Times have been tough for Wikipedia. Earlier in October the Wikimedia Foundation disabled a ring of more than 250 fake accounts used by a public relations firm to write and edit company pages. The scandal has prompted at least one writer to wonder if Wikipedia is getting worse. Other have pointed to the fact that there are 20,000 fewer active contributing editors now than in 2007, and blame the “crushing bureaucracy” and “abrasive atmosphere” created by the current collective, which is 90 percent male. In spite of the recent bad press, the beleaguered site has announced a new pilot program called Wikipedia Zero, which will provide access to 70 million new users without computers, smartphones or data plans.

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WeGov

Crowdsourcing Disaster Response Via Social Media and SMS

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, August 27 2012

In two detailed and important blog posts, Patrick Meier explains how grassroots activists are using social media platforms and mobile phones to coordinate disaster relief, often when the government's response is inadequate. In many cases, Meier points out, the grassroots networks existed already, having been created as a means of coordinating political protest. Read More

Obama Campaign Announces Text Donations Are Online Beginning This Week

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 23 2012

The Obama campaign announced this morning that it has begun offering supporters the opportunity to send donations via text message. Beginning with Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular customers starting this week, supporters can give small donations — up to $50 a month for most carriers, according to a release from the campaign — by texting "GIVE" to a five-digit shortcode number put into use by the campaign. Read More

Mass Text Urged Tripolitanians To the Streets

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 22 2011

The U.K.'s Channel 4 News reports that in Tripoli, subscribers of the (formerly?) state-run Libyan telecommunications service recieved an unusual text message early Monday morning: If technology helped to co-ordinate the ... Read More