Collaboration for Fun (and the Good of the World)

Collaboration for Fun (and the Good of the World)

Do you know what a mash-up is?

It is when two things are combined (on the web) to create something new. Five years ago, this would have been impossible but today widespread broadband access creates opportunities. A wonderful example of a creative mash-up is this short video which combines about 70 people from all over the world singing one song.

Rollin in the Deep by Adele (check it out!)

You may be saying hmmm. Do I care? When photography came along… many people probably thought (and said) so what? Who needs it? I ask that you keep reading.

Practical mashups with global implications include this effort to track radiation from the post earthquake nuclear disaster in Japan. Individuals read sensor data from their locations and then the data was accumulated by central repository. This data was not only collected in real time but when overlaid onto a Google map —  real time view of this evolving disaster provided an unprecedented view for emergency reaction and relief.

Is all the data perfect? Probably not. Does that really matter? No. What matters is that Japanese officials had real-time radiation data from sources all over the country. There is no way the government could have done that on their own even with the help of academics and businesses. Think of the implications for health, drought, food shortages and yes, even democracy.

For further enlightenment and deep breath of hope, check out this terrific article, “10 Ways Social Media is Transforming our world.”   If that doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy; talk to a 5 year old. They will put everything into perspective.

Photo credit: Experience


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