Using VoIP Drupal for social inclusion and civic empowerment in Wisconsin

leoburd's picture

Hello all,

Last week, I attended the 2012 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference at the MIT Media Lab and had the opportunity to do a 5-minute "ignite talk" about the What's Up initiative that we are carrying in Wisconsin:

http://youtu.be/ToBvwEjNET8

Built on VoIP Drupal (http://drupal.org/project/voipdrupal/), What's Up is a software platform designed to allow people in a small geographic community to share information, plan events and make decisions, using media that is as broadly inclusive as possible.

The platform can aggregate data from online community calendars to make the information available via low cost digital signs that can be placed in public locations, or via other offline channels like customized paper flyers and posters to be distributed in the region.

What's Up also generates a simple, yet powerful community hotline that is usable with the lowest-end mobile and touch tone phones. Each calendar event that is inserted into the system automatically receives an unique extension number. By dialing that number, people can find out additional information about the event, get SMS reminders, and be redirected to the organization responsible for the event.

Upcoming versions of What's Up will provide integration with common social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook. They will also collect detailed usage statistics to provide local organizations with better ways to improve the efficacy of their outreach initiatives.

The What's Up system is currently being tested in the small town of Wisconsin Rapids, as part of a collaboration with the Incourage Community Foundation of South Woods County.

For additional information, simply write to me at leoburd AT media.mit.edu

Best,

Leo

Wisconsin

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