Technology and Social Justice

BuycottSocial justice seems to be on the hearts, minds and lips of just about everyone these days. With the heightened media scrutiny of deadly encounters between citizens and police, the debate regarding climate change, and the innumerable challenges to living on our planet in the most conscientious way possible, the question becomes how citizens can participate in and contribute to the myriad social justice campaigns and causes without having the opportunity to always be present at these events. The age of the smart phone and the apps that accompany them may have some very viable answers.

These days, there is an app for everything, from buying groceries, to searching for the right appliance, to finding love, applications have been developed that do just about everything. It should come as no surprise then that there are applications that have been developed which give a person the opportunity to contribute to the most urgent causes of the day.

Seesmic allows a protester to effectively provide live coverage of an event. You can update a post that includes video and written coverage of an event. Say you find yourself in Ferguson or on the streets of New York and you want to update your blog or social media profile with the latest developments, Seesmic provides an opportunity to do just that. There is perhaps no environment or event more dynamic than being ground zero at a protest. With the major media blackout of certain types of event, the ability to utilize social media to actively document what is happening is critical to providing authentic coverage of certain events.?

I?m Getting Arrested is aptly named as its purpose is evident in its name. This app allows the user to quickly send a message to family, friends and/or legal counsel with a single click. In a moment where your opportunity to communicate with the outside upon arrest can possibly take months in the worst case, an app like this can prevent someone from being lost in the legal system for an indeterminable period of time.

BuyCott. For better or for worse, it is clear to most folks that politics and power are intimately related to money. It?s not so much whose name you checked off at the ballot box as who received a check from you for their campaign that determines whether your voice is heard. It is apparent to just about everyone that your wallet is equally if not more powerful than your vote. BuyCott allows you to support those businesses whose products and services fall in line with your political beliefs. For example if you prefer to use personal care products that weren?t developed through animal testing Buycott makes it easy for you to do so. It effectively allows the user to infuse their own brand of politics and social awareness into the capitalist process.

Catalista (iOS only). Often the most valuable resource that a person can give to any cause is their time. Volunteer work is perhaps the most obvious and sincere form of giving but often, so many of us have difficulty deciding what might be the best use of that time and if we would even be useful or effective in a working with a specific charity. This app allows you to sign up directly to your charity of choice and track the hours that you work. For anyone who would like to contribute time to a cause but can?t decide where to give, this app gives the indecisive (and sometimes lazy) among us a streamlined way of doing just that.?