jackfruit of the week (10.22.08)

Some research I’m doing on crowdsourcing in crisis is starting to take (nebulous, uncertain) shape via my Delicious account. Some highlights:

  • The “crisis mapping” section of iRevolution, the blog of Fletcher School PhD candidate Patrick Meier, is a glorious treasure trove of histories, plans and possibilities for digital mapping based on crowdsourced information in conflict early warning and prevention systems. Meier is writing his dissertation about the effects of the information revolution on social resistance movements in authoritarian societies. In other words, I would very much like to buy him dinner.
  • FrontlineSMS isn’t exactly new (I first heard about it in 2007, when it was being used to help monitor the Nigerian elections), but the more I read about mobile phones, the more excited I get. Frontline allows anyone with a laptop and a phone to create a “central communications hub” that can use text messages to communicate with large groups of people: to send out an alert and get feedback on a specific crisis situation, for example, or to aggregate information during a natural disaster. The less altruistic could use it to organize flashmobs.

    Later today some friends and I are going to help advocate for Frontline by becoming an icon for them. Interested? Take a picture of yourself with your arms above your head, imitating the Frontline logo, and sent it to photo@frontlinesms.com with your name and country. They’ll put it in a slideshow that will be used to generate awareness and support.

    FrontlineSMS supporter Erik Hersman becomes a Frontline icon

AfrigatorIn other news: this week I was named one of the top 45 female bloggers in Africa by Afrigator. I’m happy that two blogs about Uganda are included, but I’m sad not to see Tumwijuke, Antipop or Magintu on the list. If you’re not a member of Afrigator, head over and register to submit your blog and to see what’s happening all over the African blogosphere.

That’s all for this week. Coming up next Wednesday: plans for quadricontinental liveblogging of the US presidential election returns at The Morningside Post.