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Citizen Journalism, Citizen Activism, and Technology Positioning Technology as a ‘’Second Superpower’ in Times of Disaster and Terrorism by Sharon Meraz Context How can the new power of the Internet be leveraged in times of Disasters Terrorism

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citizen journalism citizen activism and technology

Citizen Journalism, Citizen Activism, and Technology

Positioning Technology as a ‘’Second Superpower’ in Times of Disaster and Terrorismby Sharon Meraz

  • How can the new power of the Internet be leveraged in times of
    • Disasters
    • Terrorism
  • How has technology been shaped and utilized by citizens to frame
    • Disaster response management
    • Citizen journalism
    • Global Web initiatives
    • Self help, self organizing, emergent networks
    • Collective wisdom
social computing
Social Computing
  • Not a new phenomenon
      • Way back in 1940s to Memex (Allen, 2005)
      • BBSs, Usenets, IRC (Rheingold, 1993)
  • Current enthusiasm due to
    • Web 2.0 as collaboration/sharing
    • Architected for participation (SOA)
    • Toolkit for lightweight apps (AJAX, APIs, RSS)
    • Rapid application development (Web services)
  • Mounting interest in social computing
    • Blogs, wikis, social software, mobile technologies
social computing4
Social Computing
  • Allows users to participate more (BYOC)
  • Visible spirit of collaboration/generosity
    • Gift economy, p2p development, bazaar design, hacker ethic
  • Technologies of Cooperation (Saveri et al)
  • Trigger network effects in vulnerable times
    • Emergent
    • Spontaneous
    • Citizen-led
    • Citizen-shaped
theoretical model
Theoretical Model
  • Interdisciplinary approach
    • Science Studies Theories
      • Science, technology, capitalism, control, power
      • Technological determinism vs social shaping
  • Emergence in Networks (Spontaneous)
    • Distributed, decentralized, bottom-up
    • The Wisdom of crowds (James Suroweicki)
    • The Power of many (Christian Crumlish)
    • Small pieces loosely joined (David Weinberger)
    • Linked: The science of networks (Albert-Laszlo Barabasi)
  • 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake
    • Tsunamis affecting Southeast Asia and Africa, over 175,000 deaths
  • July 2005 London Bombings
    • Dubbed 7/7
  • August 2005 US Hurricane Katrina
    • New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, over 1,400 deaths
  • How was social software/technology used/shaped for disaster management?
  • 3 pronged with snowball sample.
    • Used technorati for tag-based searching
      • Multiple user-generated tags for each event
    • Monitored ‘A-list’ blogs for information on media/c-journalism happenings
    • Searched Lexis Nexus for Big Media reports
  • In addition for Hurricane Katrina (live):
    • Monitored c-journalism/A-list blogs in RSS reader
  • MSM reports on Citizen Journalism
    • Indian Ocean Earthquake
      • Unanticipated event
      • Vivid, immediate reporting from blogs
      • Accidental, unintentional, incidental c-journalists
    • London Bombings
      • Gap between amateur/professional shrinking
      • Democratization of news
      • Sea change in journalism practice (genie out of bottle)
    • Hurricane Katrina
      • MSM and C-Journalism as different/shared perspectives
      • Complementary vs oppositional relationship
  • Mobile Technologies
    • SMS used to post to
      • Blog, send text messages for relief/aid/fundraising coordination, find missing (Morquendi)
    • Phone cameras/video
      • 7/7 incident, 20,000 emails, 1000 photos to BBC, 20 videos, used on Sky News, BBC, Guardian, AP
    • Less in Hurricane Katrina
      • Possibly less of a mobile phone culture
      • More of the poor left stranded in region
      • Infrastructure wiped out
  • Blogs as inside eyes/ears of disaster
    • Rise of video blogging in 2004
    • Global connections (SEA-EAT blog)
      • 21,000 visitors in 24 hrs, 10th most visited humanitarian site on Internet
    • Photo blogging growth, Flickr pools
    • First hand reporting (Brian Oberkirch, Slidell Hurricane Damage Blog, Michael Barnett, The Interdictor)
    • Relief coordination
      • 1,347,493 (right), 200,000 (left)
  • Wiki journalism--can this work?
    • Exchange of resources, safety bulletin boards, missing person’s reports/registry
    • Wikipedia entry on 7/7 incident edited 5,000 times
    • Global, transparent connections
      • Group collaboration
      • Skype phone banks
      • Shelters/Databases for the missing
      • Virtual lightposts
  • Recovery 2.0 wiki after Katina
    • Clearinghouse for disaster recovery efforts
  • Tech Development
    • Global in Scope: Taran Rampersad and Dan Lane on Alert Retrieval Cache (ARC) built in one night
    • Responsiveness of citizen-initiatives
    • Jonathan Mendez/Greg Stoll using Google Maps API for housing damage mapping
      • Katrina, Rita, Wilma
  • KatrinaPeopleFinder Project
    • Correct problems of distributed redundancy
    • Create a central database
    • David Geilhufe, Ethan Zuckerman, Zack Rosen, Jon Lebowsky
    • Volunteer programmers, project leaders, data entry volunteers
    • Data entry chunks of 25 records with over 3,000 volunteers, 620,000 records
    • PeopleFinder Interchange Format (PFIF)
  • Need tactics to swarm better (Jeff Jarvis)
  • Social software significant to
    • Emergent alternative journalism
    • Citizen disaster management response
    • Self organization, smart, networked mob
  • Citizen Paparazzi (Sousveillance)
    • Many little brothers and sisters
    • See, snap, send impulse (Spy, Scoopt, Cell J)
    • Private/public space boundaries
  • Accessibility of the technology
    • Needs a smart network with focal nodes