Local leaders in social media and mobile technologies unite with non‐profit groups at Halifax’s Mobile Tech 4 Social Change conference
When a forest fire tore through parts of Halifax’s outskirts nearly three weeks ago, many turned to Twitter for an ongoing stream of newsbytes, links to pictures and real‐time video. Haligonians were posting hundreds of “tweets” of their observations (and well‐wishes) and a simple search of the #halifaxfire tag yielded a by‐the‐minute account of the wind‐whipped flames.
The power of citizen journalism was more than palatable.
Aiming to harness this power and use it for social change, Dale Zak, a local mobile software developer, believes these new tools can not only be applied to a betterment of communication and awareness in our communities, but can also be used by the non‐profit sector to fundraise, advocate and organize for a cause.
Inspired by the sold‐out Mobile Tech 4 Social Change BarCamps—open‐dialogue conferences that bring together the non‐profit and tech communities to share knowledge, ask interesting questions and spark ideas—in such cities as New York, NY, and Washington, DC, Zak decided to bring a similar event to Halifax. With the help of Mobile Active founder Katrin Verclas and fellow tech‐sav Jon Reid, the daylong interactive conference, M4ChangeHFX, will take place this Saturday, May 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Hub Halifax (1673 Barrington St.), a community‐minded shared workspace for freelancers and entrepreneurs.
The Mobile Tech 4 Social Change BarCamp model is simple: the local events bring together people passionate about using mobile technology for social impact and to make the world a better place. Each event includes interactive discussions, hands‐on demos and collaborations about ways to use, deploy, develop and promote mobile technology in health, advocacy, economic development, environment, human rights and citizen media, to name a few areas. BarCamp participants often include nonprofits, mobile application developers, researchers, donors, intermediary organizations and mobile operators, and for the Halifax event, the line‐up of speakers stands up to its big‐city counterparts. Planned M4ChangeHFX sessions include:
Jacob Colker of the Extraordinaries: The Future of Mobile Crowdsourcing and Volunteerism
John Sheridan of SocialMedia404: Integrating Mobile into Your Non‐Profit Organization
Dan Robichaud of C@P: Using Geo‐Data to Improve Our Communities
Joel Kelly of Colour.ca: Using Social Media to Engage Activism for Your Organization
Ryan Deschamps: Who Needs Mobile? User Needs, Mobile Markets, and Industry Response
Giles Crouch of Norex: Using Twitter to Mobilize a Group of Supporters to Rally Your Cause
Jeff White of BrightWhite: Mobile Design, Less Means More
Craig Moore of SpiderVideo: Using Video for Public Awareness and Activism
Josh Nesbit of SMS Medic: Public Health via Mobile Phone
Beyond the above scheduled dialogues, the BarCamp will also aim to address such questions as how can geo‐caching be used to increase tourism, how can SMS be used to improve healthcare by providing timely intervention messages to patients, how can mobile phones be used to capture environmental information, and how can local media embrace citizen journalism.
“The non‐profit community has valuable knowledge from years of field experience, and the tech community has understanding of applying these new technologies,” says Zak. “In the spirit of The Hub, my hopes are to bring smart people together, facilitate their conversation and good stuff will happen.”
For a detailed schedule of the day’s event, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/qta9vf. To register, visit
http://mobiletech4socialchangehfx.eventbrite.com or confirm attendance by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. M4ChangeHFX costs $10 per person ($5 for students) and all proceeds will be directed to a local charity, decided by event attendees.
About Dale Zak: With over six years of professional experience as a software developer, Zak has helped develop mobile and web applications for large corporate companies like Caterpillar, Ritchie Bros and Pitney Bowes. He holds a Computer Science Honours Degree in Software Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan. Currently living in Halifax, Zak is working for Metaworks to develop a Windows Mobile application for the company’s Mantis system. He has also been putting his mobile talents to good use by volunteering for two incredible projects: Ushahidi and the Extraordinaries. For Ushahidi, the mobile application Zak is developing will allow anyone with a Windows Mobile device to easily view and create crisis incidents in the field; for the Extraordinaries, he’s helping develop the initiative’s revolutionary micro‐volunteering platform for the iPhone.
About BarCamp: An ad‐hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment, BarCamp is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants who are the main actors of the event. Mobile Tech 4 Social Change BarCamps are local events for people passionate about using mobile technology for social impact to make the world a better place. Each event includes interactive discussions, hands‐on demos and collaborations about ways to use, deploy, develop and promote mobile technology in health, advocacy, economic development, environment, human rights and citizen media, to name a few areas.
Contact: Dale Zak
Be the change you wish to see in the world - Gandhi