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TheFeature :: It's All About The Mobile Internet
Smartmobbing Disaster Relief
By Howard Rheingold, Thu Jan 20 08:00:00 GMT 2005
I wasn't surprised when people used sms, blogs, cameraphones and wikis to organize relief efforts during the first hours after the tsunami of 2005. If you can smartmob political demonstrations, elections and performance art, you can smartmob disaster relief. I observed two of my friends on opposite sides of the world doing just that.
Dina Mehta, a blogger who lives in Mumbai, India, was my guest for a day when she passed through California, and Alex Nieminen, who blogs from Helsinki, Finland, has also been a guest in my home, and my guide to Helsinki on more than one occasion. It came as no surprise to learn that they each swiftly mobilized online networks -- they are both people-networkers as well as pioneering Internet publishers in their native countries.I learned about Dina first. As well as writing her own blog, Dina contributes to a groupblog I also follow, Worldchanging. Within hours of the disaster, Dina and Rohit Gupta, another Mumbai-based Worldchanging blogger, helped start the Tsunami Help blog, also known as "The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami page," which quickly turned into an effective clearinghouse for information about how to contribute funds to relief agencies. Two weeks later, Dina told me, "A few hours after the tsunamis struck, I started by posting at the blog ... then as more folk started contributing with posts, I looked into setting up and coordinating efforts around the wiki, as I felt resources were getting lost in blog posts -- so I got the domain and bandwidth and we built the wiki pages and got volunteers to build the collections. The other activity was coordinating efforts of this group of over 150 volunteers and contributors -- which was done by a few people, including me. We have now gathered a tremendous resource on aid, relief, donations and volunteers for the disaster. That works to bridge those who are suffering with those that can help."In Finland, a website for Finnish SCUBA enthusiasts rapidly became an ad-hoc information center for Finns seeking information about friends and family members who were traveling in the disaster zone -- even specifying to which hospitals individual survivors had been taken. The rapidity and reliability of the information was possible because of the pre-existing network of locals in the Thai SCUBA diving world, the Thai-New Zealand-Finnish Raya Divers association, communicating through phone, SMS and e-mail with their counterparts in Helsinki. Alex Nieminen, who I've known since he was the teenage instigator of Internet activities in Finland in the 1990s, happened to host a site for a friend, linking Finnish dive enthusiasts with resources in Thailand and elsewhere. They normally receive about 300 hits a day. As soon as the tsunami hit, the site began posting names of missing and found Finns, and nearly a million people visited during the following week.The Internet's worldwide, multimedia, many-to-many information broadcasting capabilities and power to link strangers who share interests, joined to the ubiquity and instantaneous communications of mobile phones, enables people to organize collective action in new ways, with new populations and in new places. Those capabilities have been growing for years, although tsunami relief brought them into public visibility. The tsunami was the first disaster of global scale that called for the kind of onsite-to-global-and-back-again powers that such ad-hoc networks can provide.Nieminen, Mehta and the online social networks they tapped and wove are two out of many examples. The instant and generous use of e-commerce transaction technologies enabled an unprecedented citizen fund-raising effort: During the first week after the disaster, while the United States took three days to pledge $15 million, thousands of citizens contributed more than $9 million to the American Red Cross through Amazon, which contributed its trusted e-commerce machinery to the citizen contribution effort. While citizen-journalists on the wired Internet end used their blogs to publish and publicise photographs, reports, lists of people and lists of needed resources, they made use of streams of mobile voice and text-message reports, directly from the many scenes of the disaster.My Switzerland-based blogger friend, Emily Turettini, catalogued reports of use of mobile phones and SMS in the immediate wake of the disaster: SMS messages in Malaysia warning road users not to use the Penang Bridge, and a blogger and television producer who lives in Sri Lanka text-messaged live reports to co-editors of the group blog Chiens San Frontiers, including information about what was needed in specific locations. BBC News reported that text messages were able to get through even when cell phone signals were too weak to support spoken messages. Phone companies in Sri Lanka tracked the physical location of mobile phone users and sent SMS messages to help locate missing people. Phone operators around the world immediately offered free calls and SMS and donated mobile phones to relief workers. A Spanish SMS campaign raised nearly $6 million in two days. Similar campaigns, enabling people to contribute via SMS, sprouted all over the world.Andy Carvin from the Digital Divide Network set up a news aggregator of RSS feeds and first-person blogs. ICQ set up up a Tsunami Tragedy Communication Center. Flickr helped people post missing persons photos. Blogger reported on a way to donate air miles to the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, OxFam, Unicef, and others. The Swedish online community LunarStorm organized a national, 24/7 online support network.Online efforts will never be an effective substitute for getting experienced, trained and well-equipped relief workers on the ground. But posting and finding a photograph of a loved one, finding out what hospital a relative is in and sending millions of dollars in small contributions to established relief organizations, have all proved to be not only possible but effective. Perhaps most important: people are beginning to think about how to prepare for the next mobilization, learn from their mistakes and take advantage of the capabilities that the online response to tsunami relief have provided.
Copyright: Copyright 2003, TheFeature.com
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ABOUT YOUYour full name:: Bridgette Marie PearsonAge:: 18 (19 in 19 days!!)Height:: 5'6Natural hair color:: DARK DARK DARK brown Eye color:: sky blueNumber of siblings:: 5 (phew)Glasses/contacts?:: neitherPiercings:: 4 holes in each ear and navelTattoos:: 3Braces?:: not since i was 11 :)FAVORITEColor:: purpleBand:: eeehhhh i dont have one :-\Song:: don't have one Stuffed animal:: my bear from BrockoliVideo game:: a challenging oneTV show:: Degrassi Movie:: Too many good onesBook:: i dont read that muchFood:: CHICKEN with MAC AND CHESSEGame on a cell phone:: Black JackCD cover:: hmmm... i need more time on that oneFlower:: TULIPSScent:: mens polo... i could smell that ALL dayAnimal:: kittiesComic book:: yeah no i don't read themCereal:: coco rice krispies!Website:: http://community.webshots.com/user/badestmystique00 Cartoon:: classic... ROAD RUNNER AND CYOTE then FLINSTONESDO YOUPlay an instrument?:: fluteWatch TV more than 60 hours a week?:: no time for that one lol!Like to sing?:: when no one is around :-DHave a job?:: ANDYS in MURFREESBORO and ROANOKE RAPIDSHave a cell phone?:: yes... kyocera sliderLike to play sports?:: i did in my younger days... WOW im getting old!Have a boyfriend/girlfriend?:: BROCK T WHITE (aka: Brockoli, Boo Bear, Brockoli Bear)Have a crush on someone?:: well obviously (duh!)Live somewhere NOT in the United States?:: noooooHave more than 5 TV s in your house?:: just oneHave any special talents/skills?:: i can bend my pinky back to touch the back of my hand (wierd, huh?)Exercise daily?:: i need toLike school?:: this semester i doCAN YOUSing the alphabet backwards?:: HAHA Stand on your tip toes without wearing shoes?:: LMFAO!Speak any other languages?:: ESPANOL... just a littleGo a day without food?:: yeah i think i canStay up for more than 24 hours?:: HELLLLL NORead music, not just tabs?:: noRoll your tongue?:: noEat a whole pizza?:: you know it HAVE YOU EVERSnuck out of the house?:: HAHA i tried one time when i was 3 and got caught! LOLCried to get out of trouble?:: being the youngest AND the only girl... you know soGotten lost in your city?:: how could i?Seen a shooting star?:: yesBeen to any other countries besides the united states?:: no Had a serious surgery?:: well if a C-section counts as one, yeahStolen something important to someone else?:: nooooooooSolved a rubiks cube?:: yeah rightGone out in public in your pajamas?:: WHO DOESNT?!?!?!?!Cried over a girl?:: negativeCried over a boy?:: hmm... when he threatened to kill me, yeah Kissed a random stranger?:: cant say that i haveHugged a random stranger?:: yesBeen in a fist fight?:: yeah... LOL... memoriesBeen arrested?:: nooooooooDone drugs?:: i think everyone has atleast TRIED it onceHad alcohol?:: yeahLaughed and had milk come out of your nose?:: nopePushed all the buttons on an elevator?:: when i was little Gone to school only to find you had the day off because of a holiday/etc?:: OMG yeahSwore at your parents?:: dad- yes mom- no i have more respect for her than thatBeen to warped tour?:: no Kicked a guy where it hurts?:: haha yeahBeen in love?:: am right now as a matter of fact Been close to love?:: ^^^^^^Been to a casino?:: no :-\Ran over an animal and killed it?:: awwweee no Broken a bone?:: thank the Lord, no!Gotten stitches?:: noHad a water balloon fight in winter?:: too cold... brrrr! Drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour?:: no Made homemade muffins?:: oh yeahBitten someone?:: hehe yeah :)Been to Disneyland Disneyworld?:: NO and that pisses me off!!!More than 5 times?:: :'( Been to Niagara falls?:: nope Burped in someone s face?:: no Gotten the chicken pox?:: yea WHENS THE LAST TIME YOUWent to the bathroom:: about 2 hours ago... i have to pee actually... brb!Saw a movie in theaters:: last movie i saw was with Brock... umm... I cant remember what it was :-\Read a book: a llloooonnnngggggg timeHad a snow day:: CHRISTMASHad a party:: my 13th b-day :-\Had a slumber party:: whoo Lord.... 12 or 13 maybeMade fun of someone:: all the timeTripped in front of someone:: not sure Went to the grocery store:: who knowsGot sick:: regurgitation sick, it's been awhile Cursed:: dont know about that one PICK ONEFruit/vegetables:: veggie... Broccoli :-D Black/white:: WHITE cause thats gonna be my last name one day!Lights on/lights off:: lights off TV/movie:: movieCar/truck:: 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 with a lift... YYEAAHHHHBody spray/lotion:: body lotion Cash/check:: cashPillows/blankets:: blanketsHeadache/stomach ache:: neitherPaint/charcoal:: paintChinese food/Mexican food:: chinese:) Summer/winter:: summerSnow/rain:: BOTHFog/misty:: fogRock/rap:: BOTHMeat/vegetarian:: ??? :-\Boy/girl:: i have a litle girl... hehe but i want the next one to be a boy :-DChocolate/vanilla:: chocolateSprinkles/icing:: icingCake/pie:: BOTHFrench toast/French fries:: french toastStrawberries/blueberries:: BOTHOcean/swimming pool:: either way, their both full of dumbass's urine YUCK!Hugs/kisses:: BOTHCookies/muffins:: muffinsp33n/bewbz:: what? Wallet/pocket:: WALLET in POCKETbookWindow/door:: windowEmo/goth:: eh?Pink/purple:: ohhh BOTHCat/dog:: catLong sleeve/short sleeve:: short Pants/shorts:: BOTHWinter break/spring break:: spring break Spring/autumn:: spring Clouds/clear sky:: clear sky Moon/mars:: moonFRIENDSHIPHow many friends do you have?:: who knowsWhat are their names?:: i'm not naming all those people Do you have a best friend?:: yes Have you ever liked one of your friends?:: yeah... before the Brockoli daysDo you have more guy friends or more girl friends?:: GIRLS ARE TOO TRIFLIN! Have you ever lost a friend?:: yeah they all decided to leave when i got pregnant like i had some disease or something ARG! Have you ever gone to an amusement park with a friend?:: yes What s an inside joke between you and a friend?:: STOP LYIN!!Have you ever gotten in a big argument with a friend?:: im female arent i What s the nicest thing you ve ever done for a friend?:: i gave him a child :-D What s the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?:: yeah rightDo you miss any of your old friends?:: noWhat friend have you known the longest?:: Danielle... since we were babies Do you regret anything you ve done to a friend?:: cant say that i have If so, what is it?:: .....How often do you spend time with your friends?:: barely Do any of your friends drive?:: yeahHas a friend of yours ever died?:: yes :'(What s the dumbest thing you ve done with a friend?:: i dont knowWhat do you think your friends think of you?:: dont know that one either LOVE AND ALL THAT CRAPHave you ever been in love?:: haven't we talked about this already? If you have, with who?:: um yeah told ya this tooAre you single?:: nopeAre you in a relationship?:: well obviously If so, for how long?:: April 30, 2005 will be 4 years... MUAH!!!! Do you believe there is someone for everyone?:: definetelyWhat is your idea of the best date?:: as long as im with him i dont care What was your first kiss like?:: awe... :-DHow old were you when you got your first kiss?:: oh my... i think 11??? not sureDo you think love is a load of shit?:: no way What s the best experience you ve ever had with the opposite sex?:: heheheHave you had any boyfriends/girlfriends before?:: yeah Have you ever been dumped?:: yeahHave you ever dumped someone?:: YOU KNOW IT!What s the most sexual thing you ve done with the opposite sex?:: WHOOOOO lets not go thereWORD ASSOCIATIONSlippers:: GREATHat:: coolHard:: coreFree:: stuffSpace:: blackTaste:: toungeGood charlotte:: band Red:: bloodDeep:: loveHeart:: mendsCord:: guitarCheese:: cookiesRain:: thunderWork:: schoolPedal:: bikeHead:: haha...Bed:: SLEEP!Fluff:: whipped creamHardcore:: me at times :)Race:: DALE EARNHARDT JR!!!Knife:: sliceJump:: mac daddy make ya jump jump! lolI.... am:: sitting here want:: my Brockoli with meneed:: get off my asscrave:: pizzalove:: BROCKOLI!hate:: triflin peopledid:: alot of thingsfeel:: coldmiss:: BROCKOLIam annoyed by:: dumb people would rather:: be somewhere not heream tired of:: being tiredwill always:: love youuuuuuuuuu! heheWhat is your favorite genre of music?:: i listen to it all! What time is it now?:: 7:42What day is it?:: January 19When s the last time you called someone?:: about an hour or so agoHow much money do you have right now?:: hahaAre you hungry?:: no not really Whatcha doin?:: filling out this survey Do you like parades?:: well... Do you like the moon?:: haha..umm sureWhat are you going to do when you re done with this?:: not sureIsn t cup a funny word when you repeat it over and over?:: sure If you could have any magical power what would it be?:: to read peoples mind Have you ever had a picnic?:: no :(Did you ever have one of those skip-its when you were young?:: no, but my best friend did What about sock em boppers?:: my brothers did... they always hit me with themAre you wearing any socks right now?:: yeahDO YOU THINK YOU AREfunny?:: maybe a littlepretty?:: yeah right... thats a laughsarcastic?:: yeah alotlazy?:: oh yeahhyper?:: sometimesfriendly?:: yeah i guessevil?:: they dont call me QUEEN B for nothin!smart?:: yeah sortastrong?:: no not really talented?:: at some thingsdorky?:: yeah prolly ASSOCIATE THESE WORDS WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW (or don t know) high:: walt lassiterskip:: becca bracy dance:: Lyndsey Phelpslonely:: i dont knowpen:: my mommyflower:: Brockwindow:: dont knowpsycho:: my GRANNY (no, really)brain freeze:: me, ouch!orange:: Brocksassy:: Summerjelly:: BILL HARRELL (every time he moves his jelly jiggles!) hahaha!!FOR OR AGAINSTsuicide:: against love:: fordrunk drivers:: way airplanes:: um...war:: againstCanada:: um...United States:: forrock music:: forgay marriage:: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY! FOR FOR FOR!!!school:: ehhhsurveys:: um...parents:: for..sometiemscars:: for killing:: againstBritney spears:: against damn slut!coffee:: YUCK!pants:: forWOULD YOU EVERSky dive?:: surePlay strip poker?:: no Run away?:: nahCurse at a teacher?:: i have before but i was PISSED!Not take a shower for a week?:: EW!Ask someone out?:: i asked Brock out :-DLie to someone to make them think better of you?:: if you dont like me the way i am... FUCK U!Visit a foreign country for more than a month?:: uh... noGo scuba diving?:: no...Write a book?:: if i had enought time i prolly wouldBecome a rock star?:: noHave casual sex?:: heheheLAST QUESTIONSWhat shampoo do you use?:: i get a different kind everytime i go... When's the last time you did something sexual with the opposite sex?:: around Christmas time What kind of computer do you have?:: CompaqWhat grade are you in?:: collegeDo you like to throw popcorn at people in the movies?:: noOr just make out?:: oh yeah!How many posters do you have in your room?:: 2 How many CD s do you have?:: too many to countWhat time is it now?:: 7:59
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