Notes from Simposium de las Tecnologías para la Acción Social (e-STAS: Symposium on Technologies for Social Action) held in Málaga, Spain, on March 26-27th, 2009. More notes on this event: estas2009. More notes on this series of events: e-stas.
Round Table, conducted by Nuria Castejón, Observatorio de Cooperación Universitaria al Desarrollo
Millán Berzosa, Comunitae
Comunitae is a microcredit community, to enable people that would never have the possibility to borrow (or lend) money to be able to.
Jorge Pascua, Bubok
Bubok lets you publish everything you’ve written as a book. Publishing it’s not about technology, but also a cultural issue which Bubok aims at bridging.
Jorge de la Hidalga, Infoprision
There was a lot of misinformation about the life of people in jail, which caused refusal and exclusion. To bridge this problem, he issued Infoprision, as a guide for families with relatives in jail to look for information, guidelines, resources, etc. on how to behave, how to support relatives, where to ask for information, etc. It’s a virtual community too where people share their experiences and findings.
Periodismo Ciudadano looks for best practices, translates documents, etc. so than the citizenry can set up their own citizen journalism projects. Periodismo Ciudadano is not a citizen journalism project, but a project for citizen journalism projects, a how to initiative.
Q & A
Espiritusanto: it’s not only about empowerment, but about the democratization of the channel, of the platform.
(Pedro Cluster, from indigencia, joins the round table and explains his experience with his blog about being homeless)
Ismael Peña-López: these empowerment projects, do they have an embedded criticism within? should they criticised the systems they are replicating or substituting? Pascua: there’s no substitution, it’s complementary; thus, no criticism intended. De la Hidalga: these projects are just citizen watchmen that remind the system — that generally works well — that there are some imperfections that need being polished, and that there are control devices that the citizenry is using. Berzosa: there’s both a complementarity and a criticism in these experiences; they are new models that both represent a criticism but that, at the same time, they provide alternative ways of doing things that the Internet just made possible. Espiritusanto: these models represent evolutions of existing systems; they are pioneers that go one step ahead of the rest of the system. Cluster: these empowerment projects defy the concept of the expert, which is the one that the “system” is based on.
Q: Is there a market that differentiates what is good from bad on the Internet? Pascua & Espiritusanto: it’s important that we have a sufficient level of digital literacy so that digerati oligarchies dominate not the debate or the digital tools. Then the “crowd” will be able to decide wisely.
Francisco Pizarro: How do we replicate our innovations? How do we go from pilot to mainstream, specially in social innovations? Berzosa: Competence is good, so being copied is a way to spread your ideas. De la Hidalga: a literate citizen will be able to tell good from bad and resonate the good things and mute bad ones. Espiritusanto: collaborating with your competence is getting more common every day, there are synergies in doing it and some projects even rely on this for success.
Espiritusanto: the most amazing thing is that the Internet has disclosed brand new ways of doing things, or doing things that we’d never thought before of. For instance Spot.us.
Pascua: the Internet is a mirror of real life, where some people succeed and some do not. The difference is that probability of being heard and sustainability are much higher. Ideas can be enabled and fostered as never before.
Marta Pastor: we’re investing in a medium (the Internet) that we do not control, but that is controlled by carriers, telecoms, etc. What if net neutrality is lost? Berzosa: net neutrality won’t be lost, it’s too important to allow it. Espiritusanto: alternatives would rise instantly, so no wonder about it.