Human Rights Campaign Launches Info Line on Corporations

Posted by MattBieber on Dec 21, 2007

Human Rights Campaign, an American NGO focused on gay and lesbian rights, launched a mobile ampaign that allows users to learn about their favorite companies’ inclusiveness policies via text message. Users text in the word “shop” and then the name of a company to receive a text message rating of that company’s policies towards gay and lesbians. (Give the service a whirl: text SHOP and then the name of a company – SHOP KELLOGG, for example – to short code 30644. This service works only in the United States)

Human Right's so-called mData program allows consumers concerned with companies’ policies vis a vis gay and lesbians to get specific information about those companies when they’re considering making a purchase – at a store, while browsing the web, or even when they’re making investment choices.  The data was uploaded in the form of a spreadsheet (in this case, thousands of company-specific ratings). 

The Mobile Web is NOT helping the Developing World... and what we can do about it. By Nathan Eagle

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 05, 2007

I attend an increasing number of keynotes where CEOs and EVPs of both major mobile handset manufacturers and mobile operators trumpet their role in bringing the internet to the bottom of the pyramid in the developing world. It's a total fallacy.

SMS Support Network: Connecting People with HIV/AIDS in Mexico

Posted by CorinneRamey on Dec 05, 2007

Mobile phones are creating connections between people living with HIV/AIDS in Mexico. A recently completed pilot project called Zumbido allowed its 40 test users of diverse backgrounds to communicate about the daily challenges they face in a meaningful and lasting support network. Unlike other hotline or support mobile phone services, where a user calls one person for help, Zumbido functioned as a network, with each text message sent to every member of the support group.

Mobileactive had a conversation with Anna Kydd, one of the project coordinators of Zumbido. Zumbido -- "buzz" in Spanish -- provided its 40 participants with mobile phones and unlimited text messages. The large group was broken up into four smaller groups of 10. Each group had a mix of different types of people from urban and rural locations, all from the Mexican state of Jalisco. Each group also included a professional doctor or psychologist. "The role of the professional was not to be a sort of leader in the group, however," said Anna. "Everyone in the group was an expert in their own experiences, and they all had something to give that group."

QR Codes: Old Media Meets Mobiles for NGOS

Posted by CorinneRamey on Nov 30, 2007

QR codes have been in the news recently, bringing news stories, animated zoo animals, and nurtrition facts from tiny barcodes to the screens of mobile phones worldwide. By linking print media with mobile phones, the codes are helping to bridge the connection between old and new media and have impliations for social mobile campaigns. 

A QR -- or Quick Response -- code is a two dimensional bar code that can be used for tracking or link to information such as a website or text message. When a user scans the code with a camera phone the code then links to the destination URL or other information. The codes were first created by a Japanese corporation in 1994 for tracking parts used in car manufacturing, but today are found in everything from newspapers to business cards to advertisements. QR codes can hold several hundred times more information than conventional bar codes.

Is mobile fundraising the next frontier for charities?

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Nov 29, 2007

The numbers speak for themselves: There are currently 236 million cell phone users in the U.S. – an astounding 76% penetration. In December of last year alone, 18.7 billion text messages were sent — up 92% from 9.7 billion in December 2005. Estimates for this year are topping 195 billion text messages sent in 2007. That is 600 million text messages a day.

Needless to say, fundraisers and nonprofits are salivating at the potential of reaching all of these people where they are, at the moment they are moved by a cause, and when they are able to GIVE – with their thumbs.

Mobile fundraising for worthwhile causes are indeed beginning to make headlines. So what is the truth behind the hype? What can fundraisers and nonprofits promoting a cause do and expect as results, and what creative ideas have gone untapped so far?

Artivists and Mobile Phones: The Transborder Immigrant Project

Posted by CorinneRamey on Nov 18, 2007

Editor's NOTE, September 2010: The Transborder Immigration Tool has, since this post was first put online in 2007, generated quite a bit of controversy. As far as we know, the tool was never deployed with anyone (we are checking with Ricardo Dominguez on the state of development of the tool) but since then has risen to the attention (as the art project/concept/idea) of even Glenn Beck, a US conservative commentator. A YouTube video of Ricardo describing the project from April 2010 is here, and an article in the San Diego City Beat outlines the political story of the last year of the Transborder Immigration Tool.


Text for Poverty Alleviation in Micro Lending: A Prototype Mashup

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Oct 30, 2007

Imagine an industry conference of IP communciations where coders are mashing up an SMS application for a small NGO researching best practices for poverty alleviation. We were curious about what that might look like, so is at the annual VON conference, the industry gathering of IP communications firms. At its unconference-style Innovation Track, there will be gathering of coders producing an SMS platform for an NGO focused on evaluating poverty alleviation efforts in developing countries. The mashup sponsored by the Thomas Howe Company, a Voice over IP (VOIP) communications firm that focuses on mashups for the enterprise.

We published a recent call for submission of use cases when we first learned about this effort. While typically these kind of 'volunteer coding' projects lack in long-term sustainability and enterprise-level scaling, we are interested in seeing what will become of this mobile text-to-speech platform that will be used in evaluating microfinance loan offerings in the Phillippines and South Africa.

micro credit summit

Nokia and Vodafone Launch Mobile Knowledge for Social Change

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jun 20, 2007

Nokia and Vodafone have launched a new wiki, Share Ideas, designed to help share ideas about how to use mobile phones for civil society. Please check it out!

Brazil text traffic up 20% to 8.4bn messages in 2006

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 23, 2007

Not often I come across news from Brazil… so here we go! Link: SMS traffic surges 20% to 8.4bn messages in 2006The volume of short message service (SMS) traffic in Brazil surged 20% to 8.4bn messages in 2006 compared to 7.0bn in 2005, newspaper Gazeta Mercantil reported, citing estimates from mobile messaging solution supplier Okto.Around [...]

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Moblog UK launch year-long online moblogging community for Channel4’s Big Art Project

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 23, 2007

This is ultra neat. I was chatting, late last week, to Alfie, about this. I’m gratified that the folks at Channel4 are not just listening to Alfie and his colleagues at MoblogUK — but are actually implementing moblogging into a year long project. I could name quite a lot of media companies [...]

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Indian AIDS/HIV text service receives 25k enquiries in a month

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 19, 2007

Link: Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper -IndiaA newly devised SMS help-line in this megalopolis is becoming hugely popular with those grappling with the stigma of HIV/Aids, having received over 25,000 texts since its launch last month.A brilliant use of the technology. I hope it’s really helping people.

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UK Terrorist Warnings: Beware of people bearing PAYG mobile phones

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 18, 2007

You should be nervous if you see anyone with large quantities of Pay-As-You-Go mobile phones, according to advertising across the UK press last week.I caught this one in the Metro on Friday: Here’s a zoom-in of it: Terrorists need communicationAnonymous, pay-as-you-go and stolen mobiles are typical. Have you seen someone with large quantities of mobiles? [...]

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Security On Campus’ SMS Petition To Help Make Colleges Safer

Posted by admin on Mar 15, 2007

Student safety on college campuses nationwide has become an increasingly serious concern.

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Nokia Anthropologist Shares Thoughts On Mobile Sharing

Posted by admin on Feb 22, 2007

Came across this article and thought it was kinda cool.

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Citizen journalism in the news

Posted by kiwanja on Aug 17, 2006

Citizen journalism has been hitting the news lately, accelerated by the use of mobiles and blogging during the latest events in the Middle East. Something which has been around for some time is starting to become more and more mainstream by the day. Sadly, most seems to be centred around world trouble spots, but therein lies it's strength.

Hola! Mobile Voter!

Posted by justinoberman on Jul 20, 2006

Picture 8-2 Voto Latino, a non-partisan youth voter registration organization aimed at Latino youths has teamed up with Mobile Voter, a San Francisco non-profit dedicated to harnessing the power of text messaging and mobile technology to drive youth oriented voter registration. Apparently, the Latino group was so impressed by the way in which young Hispanics used text messages and SMS to rally at immigration protests this spring that they have made it their goal to sign up at least 35,000 Hispanic youths nationwide using Mobile Voter's SMS services .

SMS A Secret For A Good Cause

Posted by justinoberman on Jul 19, 2006

Picture 4-3 For those of you heavy readers in the mobile blogosphere you probably have already come across the news of Secret Deodorant#039s mobile campaign here in New York City in honor of the companies fiftieth anniversary which was yesterday.

Could mobile social networks be the next big thing?

Posted by Bonnie Bogle on Jun 26, 2006

It’s widely accepted that social networks are the latest online wonder child. is the fifth most popular website in the world, is the 20th, and is the 38th, according to traffic ratings. But will these communities work away from the computer?

MySpace thinks so. In April the website made a deal with Cingular to offer text message alerts to people whenever a new comment is added to their MySpace page. And Helio, a start up mobile company, has released a phone chock full of MySpace features that allow mobile users to view MySpace profiles and easily post comments and photos to the website from their phone. If this catches on, it could pave the way and even serve as a model for comprehensive mobile and web campaigns. Cell phones are already being effectively used around the world to contact government officials, register voters, and sway voters. Combining the text, photo, video, and voice capabilities of cell phones with a strong online community could make for very powerful, community-focused campaigns.

How Americans Use their Mobile Phones

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 04, 2006

A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project studies how Americans use mobile phones.  A must read for US-based organizers and advocacy organizations.  From the press release:

"The cell phone has become an integral and, for some, essential communications tool that has helped owners gain help in emergencies. Fully 74% of the Americans who own mobile phones say they have used their hand-held device in an emergency and gained valuable help.

Another striking impact of mobile technology is that Americans are using their cell phones to shift they way they spend their time. Some 41% of cell phone owners say they fill in free time when they are traveling or waiting for someone by making phone calls. And 44% say they wait to make most of their cell calls for the hours when they do not count against their “anytime” minutes in their basic calling plan....

Phone revolution makes Africa upwardly mobile

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 15, 2006

Ken Banks's blog, photo of girl with mobile phoneGreat article in the UK Times about the mobile market in Africa and the enormous growth there. 

"This remarkable growth — the African market is expanding nearly twice as fast as Asia’s — has confounded analysts and even service operators. As recently as 2003, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) forecast that there would be only 67 million users by the end of 2005.

“Many of us underestimated the strength of the informal sector in Africa,” said Michael Joseph, chief executive officer of Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest operator, with four million customers. “And the huge need and desire for people to communicate.”