Thursday, March 11, 2010

Teleconference Johannesburg & Ushahidi

Being in my Digital Media Entrepreneurship class brings a lot of perks.

For one, we just got free Google G1 phones to help us explore (fool around with) the emerging possibilities of mobile devices.

Gotta turn this phone into a business.

But not all perks are gadgets. For instance, today Professor Dan Gillmor set up a Skype-powered teleconference with Ory Okolloh, a leading political activist and digital media innovator in Johannesburg, South Africa. Okolloh is responsible for Ushahidi, a web site that works with submitted text messages to display, aggregate, and map information. If you don't think that sounds cool, you haven't seen all the ways humanitarians and aid workers have utilized Ushahidi, especially in Haiti. (Also see this cool TED talk with Okolloh.)

As part of today's teleconference, I asked Okolloh to talk about Ushahidi and its future applications. I'm currently working on a digital media service that aims to do similar things with mobile phones, and it was nice to hear her talk about the same ideas my project group has also discussed.

Even better, Prof. Gillmor recorded the call so I can share it here. I sit down with my questions about 20 minutes into the video. (Who is that handsome man?!)

It pays to have professors plugged into the latest digital media.

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