Five years ago, CNN and 24-hour news channels and personal blogs captured US citizen dissent at the 2004 Presidential election results (or lack thereof). In 2008 TwitterVoteReport attempted to provide real-time election monitoring as US citizens posted voting experiences to their Twitter feeds. Concurrently the Obama campaign leveraged every social media tool in the book to engage US citizens, empower them with ways they could help, and ultimately contributed to winning the next presidency.
I had the great fortune last week to get to Mobile Tech 4 Social Change barcamp here in DC. The event was organized by Katrin Verclas of MobileActive.org, hosted by Google DC and sponsored by Forum One and Mobile Commons. The small-but-high-value crowd included a nice mix of mobile techies and non-profit professionals (mostly in international development or global health).
Many readers of this blog work for influential organizations that produce top-tier research. Chances are still pretty good that these organizations capture their work, first and foremost, in formal reports that appear as hard-copy books and, in online form, PDF files. To be clear, I don't necessary fault this move - there is still nothing that says "important" and "credible" like a book (not to mention: who isn't looking for a nice think-tank tome to take on their mid-Winter beach get-away!).
Policy-oriented organizations have long produced dizzying amounts of statistical content. In the past, rows and rows of data would die a quick death in thick policy reports or inscrutable spreadsheets. Don't let your data fall victim!
I love maps - love reading them, analyzing them, staring at them - anything. I can spend tons of time doing this. When Google Earth came out I played with it for hours - [ahem] not on company time, of course - and when Google Maps interfaces started coming out, I wanted one. Alas, I had not the technical skill to create a mash-up with the Google Maps API. What was a cartographically-inclined-but-technically-challenged guy like me to do?
Scott Berkun at The Berkun Blog recently posted the results of an informal study he did on why designers fail. While he doesn't say it anywhere that I could find, he seems to mean "designers" in the narrow sense of "graphic designers." I think the conclusions probably map reasonably well to any sort of designer, i.e., technical architects, information architects, etc. The survey went as follows: