Jun 14, 2009

The Revolution, et.al., Will Be Twittered

Crisis Camp retweet Tweet globally, act locallyAndrew Sullivan blogging on Iranians using Twitter and social media as telephones and television communications were being shut down:
Mock not. As the regime shut down other forms of communication, Twitter survived. With some remarkable results. Those rooftop chants that were becoming deafening in Tehran? A few hours ago, this concept of resistance was spread by a twitter message.

That a new information technology could be improvised for this purpose so swiftly is a sign of the times. It reveals in Iran what the Obama campaign revealed in the United States. You cannot stop people any longer. You cannot control them any longer. They can bypass your established media; they can broadcast to one another; they can organize as never before.--Read the entire post at The Atlantic
While it's too early to say what will happen, it's clear that people are using whatever conduits they find to communicate, especially during a crisis.

At the same time the situation in Iran was unfolding, Crisis Camp was happening in Washington, D.C.

Directory of sessions for Crisis Camp, Flood, Earthquake, Pandemic, Twister, Dirty Bomb, Last Supper-ArmageddonCrisisCamp DC started with one idea, "How can technology help people around the world during times and places of crisis?" Over the weekend about a hundred people got together to talk about how technology is or can be used for humanitarian relief. Industry, NGOs, responders, academics, public health, geek, non-geek and a few government joined to usher in a movement. 

Where else can you find sessions like Flood, Earthquake, Pandemic, Twister, Dirty Bomb, Last Supper-Armageddon, or the use of zombies as an example to help people think in new ways?

Government limits were also in the mix. Government can be slow, not willing to trust citizens as adults, hobbled by privacy and potential corruption, and too top-down when crisis is definitely felt and fought from the ground up (see Camp tweets for fuller flavor). A big theme was emphasis on listening rather then telling, adapting rather than knowing, and sharing. 

There has been discussion about authoritative sources for crisis information, and government is at the beginnings of understanding our role. We know what we know, but unofficial sources--real people--know what they are experiencing. Bringing these views and experiences together, with the help of smart smart people and technology, will define success and failure in future crisis. And, as everyone at Crisis Camp was well aware, on the ground this is real--survival and pace of recovery.

See notes from some sessions here, and as your interest is piqued,  join like-minded innovators at the Ning network for Crisis Camp. The hope is for the movement to go viral, with camps around the world working and sharing to best use technology in times of crisis.

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