This week we attended the first annual Mobiles x Mobilisation conference, hosted by the Greenpeace Mobilisation Lab and facilitatied by Aspiration. We met with over 50 other mobile campaigners, activists and changemakers from 20 countries to discuss the state of the art of mobile technology and design new engagement strategies for our campaigns across the world.
The camp’s social media was well-covered on Storify, and we had particular fun discussing design patterns for social change with Drew Wilson, learning how to do mobile threat assesments from TacticalTech, and discussing the ethics of mobile campaigning with EngineRoom.
I proposed a session on using low-tech mobile technologies, and had a good response from the crowd. Here are some of the tools and techniques we discussed:
Low-Tech Mobile Roundup
Mobile doesn’t just mean smartphone apps and responsive website, it can also mean older technologies like text message, radio and print. These distribution methods have lower barriers to entry, and can engage readers in deeper ways than apps.
- Rootio is a low-cost “solution stack” for peer-oriented radio networks, we worked on in 2013. Currently in use in Uganda and Kenya.
- DigitalDemocracy’s offline data capture tools prototyped at HackTheRainforest
- Interactive voice and call-in campaign tools like CallPower and Radio Sangarsh
- Field Papers provies useful tools to create an atlas and add data to OpenStreetMap via the oldest of mobile technologies, paper.
- FireChat is a p2p chat tool that works without a network connection. Saw wide usage during the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and has promoted app distribution via radio advertisements before disasters hit.
- Data collection of scannable paper forms. Captricity provides optical character recognition of handwritten documents and claims 99%+ accuracy.
- Amnesty Intl’s Panic Button provides human rights campaigners with an easy-to-use alarm button on their smartphone. They created a card game to teach threat assesment methodologies, which actually had better usage numbers than the app.
- Deliver petitions or GOTV messages via postcard. Used in Virginia 2015 election by EveryTown, with voter-files from Amicus.
- Automated event reminders via SMS. Something like AppointmentReminder for campaigns? Including calendar invite files in campaign emails might do the trick.
- #FridayDiscoBackup is a source of peer encouragement for necessary tasks, and of course good tunes for the #NPTech crowd.
- Print messages on consumables: “wash your hands” on roti, missing persons messages on tortillas
- Clean-wash dirty sidewalks instead of chalking or flyering
- Brand-jam by replying to sponsored tweets, could cost them $0.50-$4.00 per engagement.
- Hand out flyers or newspapers with unique referral codes (or shudder, QR) to track offline reads. MIT Media Lab researcher Rick Borovoy worked with SpareChange News to place stickers with individual URLs for each seller, creating ties between homeless sellers and readers.