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Webcast: How the Internet & New Media are Reshaping Tsunami Relief Efforts

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 11:49
WSIS Plenary, 11 January 2005

Date: 12 January 2005

You are cordially invited to participate in a live webcast hosted by the Digital Divide Network this Wednesday, January 12 at 10am EST (15:00 GMT, 7:00 California time) on the role of the Internet and new media in tsunami relief efforts. The webcast will examine how blogs, RSS feeds, SMS text messaging and other tools are being used in response to the tsunami, their strengths and limitations, and the role these technologies may play in future natural disasters.

Guest Speakers:

Dina Mehta, co-founder of tsunamihelp.blogspot.com, Mumbai, India. Dina Mehta is a qualitative researcher and ethnographer based in Mumbai. In the hours following the tsunami, she and a group of South Asian bloggers created the Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog tsunamihelp.blogspot.com the Internet's largest volunteer-driven portal for tsunami relief news and resources. For the last 16 years she has been a market researcher with a special interest in youth markets and in longitudinal ethnographic research and user-design studies.

Taran Rampersad, Internet activist and coordinator of Alert Retrieval Cache (ARC), Trinidad & Tobago. A former hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy, Taran Rampersad is an Internet activist and writer based in Trinidad & Tobago. Taran serves as editor of the Linux Gazette and contributor to WorldChanging.com, among other blogs and online magazines . As part of the team of volunteers contributing to the tsunamihelp blog, Taran proposed the development of a tool that would allow SMS text messages from mobile phones to be routed to email lists and other SMS users, using key words to connect relief workers on the ground with sources of materials and supplies. This led to the development of Alert Retrieval Cache (ARC), which has been covered by the BBC and other media in the last week.

Moderator:

Andy Carvin, Digital Divide Network. Andy Carvin is director of the Digital Divide Network digitaldivide.net the Internet's leading online community for news and information on the digital divide. In late December, Andy published Tsunami-Info.org, a news website that aggregates tsunami-related headlines from blogs and news wire feeds from around the world. On September 11, 2001, Andy created SEPT11INFO, the first online discussion group for sharing resources and information on the terrorist attacks that had occurred that morning. For the first 24 hours, the list processed emails at a rate of one new messages a minute, one of the highest-traffic discussion groups to date.

The webcast is free and open to the public. To participate, please visit community/disaster-relief and click on the link "Virtual Meeting Room." You'll then be asked to enter your name; at this point, the website will download the e-conference tool onto your desktop. The process may take several minutes, so participants are advised to enter the virtual meeting room 15 minutes prior to the event.

Users experiencing technical problems are encouraged to email help@learningtimes.net for assistance.