Posts by Kristen Taylor
The PopTech community is an extraordinary one—filled with people whose words are as strong as the actions they take toward creating a better world together.
It has been my great privilege to serve as your chief blogger here on the PopTech blog, as part of my role as the Director of Community for PopTech. In the past year, we have made great strides weaving online threads of interaction as ephemeral as continuing Twitter conversations, as serious as in-depth guest blog posts that examined new work in the social good sector.
The small staff of PopTech (we are a dozen, a generous baker’s dozen all in) is comprised of fascinating and talented people that I respect as colleagues and in many cases, as friends. Andrew, Leetha, Beth, Louis, Keryn, Fil, Jen, Ollie, Heidi, Cordelia, Sarah, Annie, Dan, Colleen, and Emily—happy to have worked beside you.
As a staff, we often point to the Social Innovation Fellows as inspiration on a daily basis for our work, and one of the greatest parts of my PopTech role has been to interact with them as they rocket skyward. I hope they know I am their biggest fan and ally in the challenging work they have chosen.
I am now moving on to new projects and adventures, but know that I remain part of the PopTech extended family—I will see all of you at the PopTech 2010 conference in person or on Twitter—and I continue to watch this field that you are shaping into a force for good.
And now, let me introduce Emily Qualey, who knows the PopTech community well and lives in Camden, Maine. She has been part of the PopTech conference team for years, and more recently, has made the PopTech Tumblr blog a very exciting online reflection of what we are watching and find exciting and interesting.
Please welcome her as your guide to PopTech online; she will be a wonderful one as we move through an exciting summer of new videos, content, and events on our way to the October conference.
Most especially, thank you for all your smart comments, thoughtful suggestions, and excellent, quiet work building this community of ours into a strong network we are all proud to be part of.
Yesterday, PopTech convened a salon and workshop in Chicago on social mapping and social change.
During the day, workshop participants—including leading thinkers in mobile, geolocative services, social good, and philanthropy—discussed how their respective systems of organizing information and intervening in their local communities might fit together.
The day began at Google Chicago, where PopTech’s Executive Director Andrew Zolli and Executive Director of Ceasefire Gary Slutkin welcomed participants.
Filming took place for video that we will share with you in coming weeks.
The conversation spilled into breaks, lunch, and the late afternoon to talk strategies and behavioral modifications.
Peter Durand, who is a favorite part of every PopTech conference—he illustrates ideas from speakers on the stage—recorded all of the workshop presentations and salon talks graphically. He tells us why he wanted to be part of these discussions since last fall, and what he learned during the day:
PopTech Social Innovation Fellow Josh Nesbit, another workshop participant and the founder of Frontline SMS: Medic, told us what he thinks is important to remember in these conversations, and what he wants to learn more about:
In the evening, a salon convened at the beautiful Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts with speakers Ceasefire Executive Director Gary Slutkin, information designer Laura Kurgan, and Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi Patrick Meier.
The audience asked smart questions (this is Justin Massa of Movesmart.org), and the panel talked about what they learned during the day from each other,
and the conversation continued afterwards,
with PopTech speaker alums and Social Innovation Fellows in attendance (here, PopTech Social Innovation Fellow Hayat Sindi speaking with PopTech’s Director of Fellows Leetha Filderman),
and we look forward to the next gathering of thinkers and leaders active in their communities, causing social change.
Look for the speaker videos and more from this week in Chicago soon, and thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday’s vibrant discussions.
Tonight, we are hosting a salon (a first for PopTech) on the theme of “Social Mapping and Social Change” at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts in Chicago.
The salon is full (you can sign up for the waitlist on the invite), and we will have video and images after the event. Follow the @PopTech Twitter account and the hashtag #socmap for more during the salon (6:30-9:00p CST) tonight.
PopTech Executive Director, and host of tonight’s salon, Andrew Zolli spoke with Chicago Public Radio yesterday (audio) about the topics being discussed today at a private workshop and tonight at the salon—mapping technologies and timeliness, how social information can create change.
Tonight’s speakers include:
Katrin Verclas of MobileActive (this is a video of her from December 2009 talking about her work with Nokia):
Gary Slutkin of CeaseFire (this is a 2008 video from a Volvo For Life documentary series):
And the evening will conclude with an audience Q&A session.
Yesterday, PopTech staff spent the afternoon filming members of the Ceasefire community at work in their communities—we’ll share that footage with you in coming weeks.
We look forward to seeing everyone tonight and continuing the discussions started this week with you in this space soon.
Questions you would like asked at tonight’s salon? Please leave them in the comments below.
Jorge Just of RapidFTR spoke with us briefly at yesterday’s ITP Spring Show 2010 at New York University (show continues this evening) about RapidFTR, a project that “helps aid workers collect, sort, and share photographs and information about children in emergency situations so they can be registered for care services and reunited with their families.”
Find out how the project began, why UNICEF asked the team to realize the concept, and how you can help.
As we continue to think about social mapping for the PopTech “Social Mapping and Social Change” salon this Wednesday in Chicago, RapidFTR is an excellent example of a project mapping people in crisis situations—in this case, displaced children, that benefits from a shared technological resource.
Thoughts on this project? Let us know in the comments.
As we prepare for the PopTech salon “Social Mapping and Social Change” in Chicago next Wednesday (there is currently a waitlist, and the event will not be streamed, but look for a blog post afterwards and tweets with the #socmap hashtag on Twitter), we are thinking about how social mapping might be defined.
One of the salon speakers, Patrick Meier, is the Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi (PopTech Social Innovation Fellows Erik Hersman and Ory Okolloh are part of the Ushahidi leadership team).
Patrick has blogged extensively on the topic of social mapping; here are a few relevant excerpts:
“From Social Mapping to Crisis Mapping,” December 15, 2008
Social maps are not drawn to scale and are not meant to be complete. The relative size of the symbols representing available resources and infrastructure may denote their importance to a community. Likewise, the relative distance on the map of these assets may also denote how accessible or inaccessible they are to the local community.
Social mapping excercises may capture tacit knowledge of conflict triggers that would simply not surface clearly using a computer-designed map. These maps provide “The View From Below” as opposed to the top-down myopic perspective of “Seeing Like A State.”
“Towards a ‘Theory’ (or analogy) of Crisis Mapping” August 25, 2009
Crises are patterns; by this I mean that crises are not random. Military or militia tactics are not random either. There is a method to the madnes—the fog of war not withstanding. Peace is also a pattern. Crisis mapping gives us the opportunity to detect peace and conflict patterns at a finer temporal and spatial resolution than previously possible; a resolution that more closely reflects reality at the human scale.
“Ushahidi: From Crowdsourcing to Crowdfeeding” March 27, 2009
…Second, local communities are rarely dependent on a single source of information. They have their own trusted social and kinship networks, which they can draw on to validate information. There are local community radios and some of these allow listeners to call in or text in with information and/or questions. Ushahidi doesn’t exist in an information vacuum. We need to understand information communication as an ecosystem.
For more, we look forward to next Wednesday’s conversation and Patrick’s talk at the salon.
Last night, the students of the inaugural class of the Interaction Design MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York gave final group presentations on their work to professors, peers, and a lively audience ready for Q&A; two presentations are excerpted below, tackling issues of behavior change in patient pain reporting and daily hydration, after an introduction from Program Chair Liz Danzico:
Congratulations to this first graduating class!
Yesterday, the crew of the Plastiki, a boat made out of 12,000 plastic bottles, landed on Christmas Island after being at sea for about 40 days.
From the boat at sea, expedition leader David de Rothschild sent this video:
For more, you can track the rest of their journey, find out more about the boat meant to raise awareness about the health of the ocean, and read updates on their progress on their Twitter account, @plastiki.
For further background on the issue of the gyres and powerful images of albatross affected by marine garbage, watch PopTech 2009 talk from Chris Jordan, “Polluting Plastics.”
Congrats to the Plastiki crew and fair winds for the rest of the journey!
What is social mapping?
How can geolocative info systems and visualization tech be applied to new fields for social change?
On May 12, 2010 from 6:30 – 9:00p (CT) at at the Graham Foundation in Chicago (4 West Burton Place, Chicago, IL 60610), PopTech will bring together three speakers (and a smart audience in this city of news aggregators and social good organizations) for a special salon event on the current and future impact of these tools.
Register here; event is free, and an RSVP is required (hashtag: #socmap).
- Gary Slutkin, Executive Director of CeaseFire,
- Katrin Verclas, Co-Founder of MobileActive,
- Patrick Meier, Director of Crisis Mapping, Ushahidi
and you, in an audience Q&A after the presentations.
Hosted by Andrew Zolli, Curator of PopTech
PopTech would like to thank the Graham Foundation for the Arts for their generous support of this program.
Note: This event will be held in the ballroom on the third floor which is only accessible by stairs. The first floor of the Madlener House is accessible via an outdoor lift. Please call 312.787.4071 to make arrangements.
Questions? Let us know in the comments. We hope you will join us on the 12th!
Today is World Pinhole Photography Day, and you can learn how to make a pinhole camera in the video with Bre Pettis below. A fun way to spend what is, in New York, a rainy Sunday afternoon, projects like these also help us to see the world differently. After all, In the words attributed to Marcel Proust, “The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.”
Who knows what new ideas for social good might emerge?
For more information about pinhole cameras and more ways to make them, see the World Pinhole Photography site and find other pinhole camera pictures in the image-sharing site Flickr’s pinhole photography groups.
What are you up to in the next few months?
Want to join the PopTech Brooklyn team and help accelerate projects and people that are changing the world?
We are looking for an incredible intern to help us support new projects and upcoming events, including the PopTech 2010 conference October 20-3 in Camden, Maine.
We are a small team (there are twelve of us in two offices—Brooklyn, NY and Camden, Maine) committed to making great things happen in social innovation.
This internship is in our open office in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, near the park, in a building full of creative people. You should be prepared to harmonize happy birthday with us, understand that we walk around the office juggling and know we do our own dishes.
In return for your hard work for three months, we will give you a ticket to our annual conference (join us and 600 amazing conference attendees—there is usually a long, long waitlist to attend).
We need you to:
- write weekly copy for our e-mail newsletter (where we release new PopTech videos)
- promote our online media content in all the places it goes
- support our current media partnerships and research new partnerships
- manage metrics for online content campaigns and come up with new ways we can reach new audiences
You should be:
- an excellent writer and voracious reader
- active on social websites (we would like to see where you live online)
- happy to work independently
- keen to hone your uncanny ability to recognize patterns of success in our content and network
- know a little bit about web development and design (wireframes are your friends)
- enthused about the power of learning new concepts and radical ideas, especially where fields intersect
- able to work from our Brooklyn office twenty hours a week for three months
If this sounds like you, please send us an e-mail (jobs [at] poptech [dot] org) with the subject line INTERNSHIP and attach your resume and a cover letter.
Make sure you tell us your favorite PopTech talk, why you like social innovation, and a little about why you want to join us for a few months.
And please help us spread the word!