Leveraging location-based services for good
This Mashable post is a bit slight, but I’m down with its premise. Weaving foursquare and the like into collective action on behalf of a cause is in my opinion the most compelling nptech development around at the moment. (Along with microvolunteering of time/talent — the kind of thing The Extraordinaries facilitate.)
Anyway, here’s the protein:
With tech evangelists and small businesses exploring the potential power of Foursquare and other location enabled services, it was only a matter of time before change makers in the non-profit and social enterprise ecosystem “checked-in” and began finding innovative methods to rally support for their causes.
Top three examples here:
- Rewarding Volunteer Loyalty. “Restaurants that monitor customer regularity based on Foursquare () data could give free meals to local food banks. Drug stores could issue over the counter medication and toiletries to homeless shelters. Nightclubs that hold open mic nights could allow their mayors to get up on stage and deliver calls to action. Non-profit leaders could hold meetings at local watering holes that track Foursquare usage in exchange for outdoor signage promoting their cause. The possibilities are endless.”
- Turn Check-Ins into Dollars. E.g., venues and corporate sponsors could allow individuals to earn “karma points” for check-ins that the user could convert to $ donations to a cause of their choice.
- Crowdsourcing Crisis Information. The Ushahidi model — gmaps + user-generated reports to monitor “crime, devastation, and peace and relief efforts” wherever chaos blooms.
That’s just for starters. For example, if the Coakley volunteers doing GOTV work today and tomorrow had an app with maps, voter data, and activity stream, I’d bet they could be shockingly efficient. Loud and energizing, too — it’d be hard to passively sit around and do nothing when tweets are rolling in showing all your friends out there working hard and making it happen.