Just after launching YouthMovements.org at Times Square in New York, Francisco and myself journeyed to Miami, Florida for The 2012 Knight Media and Learning Seminar.
This event enabled us to meet and learn from other Knight grantees and to engage with a network of community foundations from across the USA. In addition, we had the opportunity to connect with innovative projects such as Code for America, YouthMovements.org partners like DoSomething.org, cutting edge social technology projects, and mobilization projects like Turbovote to better understand how new media technologies are transforming the media landscape and our society.
The hashtag to follow the action is #infoneeds which speaks to the Knight Foundations goals of creating democratic, informed and engaged societies. Without access to up to date and relevant information about our social and physical environments, our communities will not flourish.
Three of the take away talks for me were from Eli Perisser – who spoke about the filter bubble and how the internet is becoming an increasingly personalized place, where our search results and friend feeds are tailored (without our implicit knowledge or consent) to display results which are more likely to be clicked on.
Amy web detailed big data, mobile data and how new technologies such as facial recognition, social networking and massive databases of information can be combined to discover potentially way more information about our communities than we would have thought possible. Amy demonstrated how apps like Banjo allow us to glimpse into the shared lives of those around us and gave a few tips about how gamification can be used to incentivise and reinforce processes, education and behaviour change.
Check out Rules to Observe When Creating a Game from Webb media MLS 2012 the Linksheetand also this video of Amy’s presentation:
I was also very interested in enabling communities to evaluate and map their own information environment through the Community Information Toolkit – a tool which helps community leaders harness the power of information to advance their goals for a better community.
Finally, the event was rounded out by an address by Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. He advanced the proposition that the Internet is the most powerful tool humans have to understand our differences. But we’ve yet to tap this potential, partially due to homophily — the tendency to gravitate toward people with similar traits to our own— which also governs our Web habits and online conversations.
His work with the Center for Civic Media centers on how to map, contextualize and amplify global voices with tools that, he says, can be applied to any community through Zuckerman’s four-step approach :
His four step approach to map, contextualize and amplify global voices are:
1.) Assess your audience.
Figure out who you're hearing from and who you're not hearing.
2.) Learn where people are communicating and what tools they are using.
Use the tools which work for the group you are trying to engage.
3.) Use curation, translation and context to effectively compile what people are saying.
4.) Love makes it go.
People who are successful at engaging their communities using love do it because they love three things: The communities they’re representing, the online medium, and their ability to say, “I can tell you what's going on in my community and I can get heard all over the world.”
It was a super exciting series of meetings and chats, which left us with loads of ideas about how to connect YouthMovements.org to the overall community it serves.