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Friday
Jun012012

Apptivism

Marion Brown
May, 2012 

Apps are still proving themselves when it comes to social justice. While videos like Kony2012 can make headlines and inspire discussions around the world, most are more will inspire clicktivism than activism. The Occupy Wall Street movement, which started with a Twitter hashtag, has left the headlines, though it raised the issue of income inequality internationally and gave name to an issue that resonated with many. 

The potential for impact is enormous. Kony 2012 hit a million views in just days. Text and Facebook postings have helped people let someone know they were being arrested before they disappeared into a corrupt system. Petitions, through sites like Change.org, are easy ways to round up support for an issue and Facebook and Twitter help spread the word. Now the White House has started a petition site for people to view existing petitions and start new ones. 

Our phones are with us nearly 24/7 and 46% of Americans now have smartphones.  Mobile technology allows videos to spread from remote locations to the rest of the world, provides protesters with new tools in the form of video, texting, tweeting, and docimenting situations on the fly, but as yet, no app has broken through although some have tried. An app called Do Good, asks people to log good actions, but does nothing to build community or mobilize a large group around an issue.  Where is activism and social change in the mobile environment? 

Perhaps it's simply communication that is enhanced in the mobile arena, that there's no need for an app and as long as we can post to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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