Observations from Mobile Tech for Social Change Barcamp and Tim Berners Lee!

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Nov 07, 2008

Thank you again to all who came out for Mobile Tech for Social Change barcamp in San Francisco!  We had a great day at Google.org which graciously hosted us.  Two highlights for me:  A live video conversation with Tim Berners Lee who talked about the need for making the mobile web accessible to all people around the world, and his new Web Foundation.  (Some video from the conversation is here.) It was wonderful to see that Tim understands the importance of mobiles in the next generation of the 'web' when the majority of the world is already accessing the web throught their mobile screens.

The second thing that thrilled me was the enthusiasm, interest, and knowledge displayed at the barcamp where the 80 participants enthusiastically delved into key topics.  We hadmore than 24 session, all user-generated, and many more conversations.  

A few key themes that have been emerging again and again:

  • There is keen interest on the part of NGOs on how to use mobile tech effectively (which, if course, is the raison d'etre for MobileActive.org)
  • It's also a new field to navigate and there is a need for better info on how to best use SMS,
  • Tools are still pretty rudimentary, non-use-friendly, or expensive
  • Even though, there is lots of bottom-up innovation, especially in developing countries where the market is a bit more open than in the US
  • There are coming attractions: location-based services and mobile web apps.  Keep an eye on both in this fast-changing field!

A big thank you to the co-host Daniel Applequist from Vodafone and Mobile Monday, and to Goggle.org and Nadav from Google who made it all possible!  What a pleasure to work with you both!

We will have another Mobile Tech for Social Change barcamp in January in NYC and in DC. And we would love to see some hosted in other parts of the world!  Let us know if you have space or want to host and we are happy to help!

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