Paper by Joannie Tremblay-Boire and Aseem Prakash: “Why do some nonprofits signal their accountability via unilateral website disclosures? We develop an Accountability Index to examine the websites of 200 U.S. nonprofits ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. We expect nonprofits’ incentives for website disclosures will be shaped by their organizational and sectoral characteristics. Our analysis suggests that nonprofits appearing frequently in the media disclose more accountability information while nonprofits larger in size disclose less. Religion-related nonprofits tend to disclose less information, suggesting that religious bonding enhances trust and reduce incentives for self-disclosure. Health nonprofits disclose less information, arguably because government-mandated disclosures reduce marginal benefits from voluntary disclosures. Education nonprofits, on the other hand, tend to disclose more accountability information perhaps because they supply credence goods. This research contributes to the emerging literature on websites as accountability mechanisms by developing a new index for scholars to use and proposing new hypotheses based on the corporate social responsibility literature.”
Co.Labs: “A new project, newly launched by DARPA and Dartmouth University, is trying something new: Data-mining social networks to spot patterns indicating suicidal behavior.
Called The Durkheim Project, named for the Victorian-era psychologist, it is asking veterans to offer their Twitter and Facebook authorization keys for an ambitious effort to match social media behavior with indications of suicidal thought. Veterans’ online behavior is then fed into a real-time analytics dashboard which predicts suicide risks and psychological episodes… The Durkheim Project is led by New Hampshire-based Patterns and Predictions, a Dartmouth University spin-off with close ties to academics there…
The Durkheim Project is part of DARPA’s Detection and Computational Analysis of Psychological Signals (DCAPS) project. DCAPS is a larger effort designed to harness predictive analytics for veteran mental health–and not just from social media. According to DARPA’s Russell Shilling’s program introduction, DCAPS is also developing algorithms that can data mine voice communications, daily eating and sleeping patterns, in-person social interactions, facial expressions, and emotional states for signs of suicidal thought. While participants in Durkheim won’t receive mental health assistance directly from the project, their contributions will go a long way toward treating suicidal veterans in the future….
The project launched on July 1; the number of veterans participating is not currently known but the finished number is expected to hover around 100,000.”
New paper by Nick van Breda and Jan Spruijt: “This article reviews how co-creation is developing over the world and how different businesses are able to use co-creation. To give a clear sight of that, stories of companies, marketers and trend watchers will be used to tell about this phenomenon called crowdsourcing and co-creation. Marketers found a method to combine co-creation with the existing method of creating something new. Based on research we can now predict how co-creation will develop over the following years.
The evolution of co-creation is more exciting than we previously thought and we think that these results have to do with how the internet and social media have developed. A revolution is coming up and organizations will see an increase in turnover based on fast innovation and participation by the crowd.
We are living a world with a new dimension: a dimension where large organizations have no reason for existence when customers aren’t satisfied with their purchase, the organization’s service and most of all their feeling of participation. Consumers feel that they should have the power to change visions and missions of the old fashioned marketing way: the manipulative way to earn money. A dimension where 24/7 online is the key to succeed, fast responses to questions and remarks. In this time if continuous changes, creativity is a must.”
Government Executive: “More than 4 million people joined together online in December 2011 to express outrage over the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill Congress was considering that would have made content-sharing websties legally responsible for their users’ copyright violations, with punishments including prison time.
Experts called the campaign a victory for digital democracy: The people had spoken— the ones who don’t have lobbyists or make large campaign donations. And just as important, their representatives had listened.
There was a problem, though. Through social media, ordinary citizens told Congress and the president what they didn’t want. But the filmmakers, recording artists and others concerned about protecting intellectual property rights, many of whom supported SOPA, had a legitimate beef. And there was no good way to gauge what measures the public would support to address that.
A handful of staffers in the office of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., thought they might have a solution. As the debate over SOPA rose to a boil, they launched the Madison Project, an online forum where users could comment on proposed legislation, suggest alternative text and vote those suggestions up or down. It was a cross between Microsoft Word’s track changes function and crowdsourced book reviews on Amazon.
Not all examples of this new breed of interactive social media happen at the macro level of legislation and presidential directives. Agencies across government have been turning to the platform IdeaScale, for instance, to gather feedback on more granular policy questions.
Once an agency poses a question on IdeaScale, anyone can offer a response or suggestion and other discussion participants can vote those suggestions up or down. That typically means the wisdom of the masses will drive the best ideas from the most qualified participants to the top of the queue without officials having to sift through every suggestion….
What many people see as the endgame for projects like Madison and Textizen is a vibrant civic culture in which people report potholes, sign petitions and even vote online or through mobile devices.
The Internet is great at gathering and processing information, but it’s not as good at verifying who that information is coming from, says Alan Shark, a Rutgers University professor and executive director of the Public Technology Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on technology issues affecting local governments.
“Star Trek is here,” Shark says. “We have these personal communicators, their use is continuing to grow dramatically and we’re going to have broader civic participation because of it. The missing piece is trusted identities.”
Understanding Precedes Action: “Richard Saul Wurman, Radical Media, and Esri bring you the Urban Observatory—a live museum with a data pulse. You’ll have access to rich datasets for cities around the world that let you simultaneously view answers to the most important questions impacting today’s global cities—and you. Compare and contrast visualized information for a greater understanding of life in the 21st century.”
A new pamphlet by Irving Wladawsky-Berger et al for the Royal Society (RSA): “The history of economic development has been characterised by periods of massive transformation brought about by technological innovation. As well as creating new industries, technology transforms the ways we live and work. Steam power led to industrialisation and rapid urbanisation, electricity enabled the assembly line and mass production of consumer goods, the automobile encouraged mass mobility and the development of suburban living, and the internet and world wide web have revolutionised access to communications and knowledge. It is very hard to anticipate the consequences of such enormously disruptive technologies. Technology continues to surprise, seen, for example, in the unexpected growth of SMS messaging and social networking and the massive changes brought about by online media and music.
This pamphlet is concerned with a profoundly transformative technology, one that affects a crucial element of the fabric of society. It examines digital money, a technology that moves economic transactions, payments, remittances, transfers etc, from the physical into the digital world. Just as communications and publishing have been transformed by digital technologies, so too will financial services. The progress of digital money will inevitably surprise us and it will develop in unexpected ways, but we believe it is on the cusp of delivering a remarkable transformation in the global economy. It will end the divide between those who can and those who cannot participate in formal economic transactions. It may usher in a new era of more inclusive innovation that involves billions of more people around the world in constructing the services that affect their future…”
M DODGSON, D GANN, I WLADAWSKY-BERGER
Brian Chen in The New York Times: “The Obama administration for over two years allowed the National Security Agency to collect enormous amounts of metadata on e-mail usage by Americans, according to one of the latest leaks of government documents by the now-famous whistle-blower Edward J. Snowden.
But what is e-mail metadata anyway? It’s information about the people you’re sending e-mails to and receiving e-mails from, and the times that the messages were sent — as opposed to the contents of the messages. It’s the digital equivalent of a postal service worker looking at your mail envelope instead of opening it up and reading what’s inside.
That sounds harmless, but it turns out your e-mail metadata can be used to connect the dots of your life story. I learned this from participating in Immersion, a project by M.I.T.’s Media Laboratory, earlier reported by my colleague Juliet Lapidos. Immersion is a tool that mines your e-mail metadata and automatically stitches it all together into an interactive graphic. The result is a creepy spider web showing all the people you’ve corresponded with, how they know each other, and who your closest friends and professional partners are.
After entering my Google mail credentials, Immersion took five minutes to stitch together metadata from e-mails going back eight years. A quick glimpse at my results gives an accurate description of my life.”
Sign up here: https://immersion.media.mit.edu/
Press Release: “Knight Foundation today named eight projects as winners of the Knight News Challenge on Open Gov, awarding the recipients more than $3.2 million for their ideas.
The projects will provide new tools and approaches to improve the way people and governments interact. They tackle a range of issues from making it easier to open a local business to creating a simulator that helps citizens visualize the impact of public policies on communities….
Each of the winning projects offers a solution to a real-world need. They include:
Civic Insight: Providing up-to-date information on vacant properties so that communities can find ways to make tangible improvements to local spaces;
OpenCounter: Making it easier for residents to register and create new businesses by building open source software that governments can use to simplify the process;
Open Gov for the Rest of Us: Providing residents in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago with the tools to access and demand better data around issues important to them, like housing and education;
Outline.com: Launching a public policy simulator that helps people visualize the impact that public policies like health care reform and school budget changes might have on local economies and communities;
Oyez Project: Making state and appellate court documents freely available and useful to journalists, scholars and the public, by providing straightforward summaries of decisions, free audio recordings and more;
Procur.io: Making government contract bidding more transparent by simplifying the way smaller companies bid on government work;
GitMachines: Supporting government innovation by creating tools and servers that meet government regulations, so that developers can easily build and adopt new technology;
Plan in a Box: Making it easier to discover information about local planning projects, by creating a tool that governments and contractors can use to easily create websites with updates that also allow public input into the process.
Now in its sixth year, the Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding breakthrough ideas in news and information. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding and support from Knight’s network of influential peers and advisors to help advance their ideas. Past News Challenge winners have created a lasting impact. They include: DocumentCloud, which analyzes and annotates public documents – turning them into data; Tools for OpenStreetMap, which makes it easier to contribute to the editable map of the world; and Safecast, which helps people measure air quality and became the leading provider of pollution data following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
For more, visit newschallenge.org and follow #newschallenge on Twitter.
A new book by Lev Manovich: “This new book from the celebrated author of The Language of New Media is the first to offer a rigorous theory of the technology we all use daily – software for media authoring, access, and sharing.
What motivated developers in the 1960s and ‘70s to create the concepts and techniques that now underlie contemporary applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Final Cut?
How do these tools shape the visual aesthetics of contemporary media and design? What happens to the idea of a “medium” after previously media-specific tools have been simulated and extended into software?
Lev Manovich answers these questions through detailed analysis of key media applications such as Photoshop and After Effects, popular web services such as Google Earth, and milestone projects in design, motion graphics, and interactive environments.
Software Takes Command is a must for scholars, designers, technologists, and artists concerned with contemporary media and digital culture.”
The Social Graf (Media Post Blog): “One of the common criticisms of social media activism is that it people’s interest in causes is transient and superficial, lasting the few moments it takes to click “Like” before moving on and forgetting about it entirely. And it may be true that the period of active engagement is fleeting — but that can still produce significant results, as demonstrated by a social media campaign to sign up new organ donors beginning in May 2012.
The organ donor initiative, described in an article in the American Journal of Transplantation, encouraged Facebook users to publicize their own organ donor status on their timelines, and share links that made it easy to change their organ donor status, which in turn encouraged even more people to register, and so on. According to the authors, the Facebook push produced a rather mind-boggling 21-fold increase in organ donor registrations on the first day of the campaign, with 13,012 people signing up to become organ donors, compared to the usual daily average of 616.
The example of the social media organ donor registration drive is both encouraging and cautionary. On the positive side, it showed that (for certain causes, at least) the combination of peer examples and ease of engagement can prompt large numbers of people to make a significant commitment.
Less encouraging (but not surprising) is the fact that after the initial period of “viral” success, fueled in part by the novelty of the timeline feature showing organ donor status, the organ donor registration rates apparently fell back to “just” twice the normal rate several weeks later.”