July 13, 2009

Building for mobile at the margins

kiwanjaFortunately for us, many of the day-to-day technologies that drive large chunks of our online lives quietly tick away in the background, only reminding us of our total dependence on them when something breaks or goes wrong. We take the complex ecosystem which drives much of this for granted.

A couple of months ago, I was invited to speak at a conference at Georgia Tech and give my perspective on building social mobile tools that work in the opposite, resource-challenged environments, a reality for the majority of people in the world today. My 10-minute talk is available above, courtesy of Georgia Tech, along with a PDF of the slides.

The motivation behind the Computing at the Margins Symposium grew out of a research agenda at the university aimed at “understanding the technology needs of under-served communities, both domestically and abroad, and driving the creation of innovative technology to serve and empower these communities.”

Figuring out how we build useful, appropriate mobile tools for grassroots NGOs is crucial if we’re not to create a digital divide within the digital divide. Additional posts and video on my thinking behind this “Social Mobile Long Tail” are available here.