Cell Phone Users, Unite!
In his recent piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Peter Manzo urged issue advocates to make better use of cell phones as a tool for citizen engagement. (He also took the US telecommunications biz to task for lagging behind the rest of the world in providing state of the art services.) He concluded:
“To involve people today in mass social movements, we may need to find a way to use cell phones to do the equivalent of the Chileans' pot-banging in protest of Pinochet, or the cries of “I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!” from the film Network.”
This will require some very creative social innovation. Any ideas?”
The Agitator scratched our heads … it seemed to us that we've heard of a fair amount of cell phone campaigning. So we asked Guest Agitator Katrin Verclas from MobileActive.org and the Nonprofit Technology Network to comment. And comment she does!
Seems like there's indeed a lot of cell phone advocacy underway. Here's her report, chock full of examples and “how to” resources, with links.
Pete Manzo is right but clearly has not looked around much. In his piece he calls for greater exploration of mobiles as a way to engage people. He quotes a gentleman who “noted that we have yet to use technology to tailor mobilization efforts to how people increasingly live and work. He went on to suggest that advocacy organizations should investigate how they might engage people through their cell phones.”
Literally as we were preparing this post, the New York Times reports that Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America to make Verizon's mobile network available for a text-message program. Verizon says it has the right to block (read: censor) “controversial or unsavory” text messages.
Sounds like the People's Republic of China, no?! Other leading wireless carriers have accepted the program. Do I hear an “Exercise Your Right to Choose … Cancel Your Verizon Service” campaign coming down the road?! How about on mobile?
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