I was very kindly invited by Katrin Verclas to co-lead a workshop on mobile technology for advocacy and activism for Mobile Active 2008. Perhaps the best part about this was meeting and getting to know my fellow co-leader Hernan Nadal and his work with Greenpeace in Argentina. Hernan gave a really interesting presentation on mobile phone facilitated advocacy campaigns he has carried out with Greenpeace. I highly recommend checking out his slides here.
My presentation provided an overview of DigiActive, an all-volunteer group dedicated to empowering grassroots individuals and communities to maximize their political impact using digital technology. The first half of my presentation focused on examples of activists using the following tools in repressive environments:
- Mobile technology to organize and mobilize protests
- Camera phones to document human rights abuses
- Microblogging tools to bridge mobile and cyber activism
The second half of my presentation addressed challenges such as personal security, costs and dissemination. On the latter point, one observation worth keeping in mind is that identifying distributed public spheres in countries with repressive regimes is critical for disseminating information. For example, while much is centralized in repressive environments, the transportation network tends to be more decentralized. These channels are important sources for disseminating and distributing information. For example, taxis in Cuba and long-distance bus drivers in Zimbabwe.
The slides of my presentation, which figured as a feature on Slideshare’s homepage are available here.