maps and facebook

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While we maybe shouldn’t be talking so much about web2.0 and social media, I wanted to share with you a couple of interesting posts that came up in a couple of fora I am visiting regularly.

I like maps. Here is one developed by ProPublica showing the expected or received money for financial institutions from the Treasury Department under the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). The markers on the map show the institution and the amount it is receiving. The presentation and accessibility of information is key for proper accountability. In 2009, this map should link to the financial reports.

And here’s another interesting interactive one on the number of public corruption convictions in the USA. While one needs to be carefull in using the map as an indicator for the level of corruption in the different states, it is a good way of presenting information related to the fight against corruption, showing that corrupt behaviour actually is being punished.

In previous posts, we have been discussing the value of facebook for protests. The study “Facebook for Protest? The Value of Social Software for Political Activism in the Anti-FARC Rallies“, written by Christina Neumayer and Celina Raffl concludes that

Social software has the potential to enhance political activism from a local to a worldwide scale as exemplified in the anti-FARC-rallies, although the usage of social software applications still has to be considered as a privilege. In countries with huge social inequalities social software is still used and formed by an elite, additionally created within and emerged from a Western US-American context and its inherent cultural, social, economic and political structures.
Global resistance and grassroots activities have to emerge from a collective. Social software has the potential to be used for collective knowledge processes.

Food for thought. It is crucial to find opportunities to integrate national cultural contexts and ways of using social media into succesful campaigns, as well as build on existing communities that are driven by the people themselves. The “facebook-revolution” in Egypt gives a good idea for a nationally owned movement. In Morocco, for example, the use of video platforms such as youtube.com and dailymotion.com is extremely high, and probably presents a better opportunity for targeted actions.

And of course, we were not only writing but have also been working on a couple of projects that we’ll hopefully be able to present here soon.

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