First Impressions from MobileActive08

Posted by MartinLucas on Oct 13, 2008

Greenpeace Argentina, Al Jazeera, Unicef, Burmese monks, healthcare workers in ten African countries, geeks and IT entrepreneurs, 380 people from 45 countries: what's the common link?  Mobile technology with a social mission.  Whether it's sharing medical information in rural Mozambique, or helping getting the word out about post-election violence in Kenya or getting accurate demographic data in regions with no IT structure, or using phone minutes for micro-banking or social marketing, someone here (and there are close 400 participants)  is talking about it, and others are sharing their experiences, with each other of course, and with any social network you've heard of from Twitter to Flickr to Youtube to Facebook.  

In general the flash of the IT world is mixed with a fair amount of humility; most people are here as much to listen, and get the lay of the land as they are to present the killer app or networking tool.

For me, coming from New York, the notion that Katrin Verclas suggested, that the event is packed with people and information precisely because it's in Africa, rings true.

So far, as a blogger, I'd say I am at the point where, to use a swimming metaphor, I've just dived in the pool and momentum is carrying me deeper.    So far, any sense that I ever had that mobile communications technology makes a useful frame for social action, whether around democracy, agriculture, health, women's rights, or disaster relief, has been more than re-affirmed.

Hi Martin. It is amazing to

Hi Martin. It is amazing to be here, in an African setting. Mobiles are so relevant here, whether for health info, mbanking, communication, and great to see so many from around Africa not only attending but documenting MobileActive '08.

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