NetSquared Camp: Downunder – Using tech for social good

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Changemakers in Adelaide, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland came together for an online experiment – to run a single event from four cities.

NetSquared DownunderNetSquared is a global community of people interested in using technology for good. The recently updated website offers people a way to connect with other people, projects and also offer their skills to support each other.

As part of this global movement, there are meetups that happen around the world called “NetSquared Local” events. These local events are made up of different people and each has a slightly different approach but they all focus on the use of technology for good. Whether it’s the latest in social media, running hackathons, sharing knowledge or providing 1-on-1 support, NetSquared Local events are at the heart of what NetSquared is about.

When larger gatherings happen, they’re called “NetSquared Camps” – and the inaugural NetSquared Camp in Australia and New Zealand was an ambitious one. With the goal of rolling four separate events, across the two countries, into one event, it was a real test of technology and people power.

Each city had a local audience and a speaker who shared how their business was using technology for social change. Using the video conferencing through Google+ Hangouts along with its ability to livestream to YouTube, the speakers were able to address a global audience with people tuning in from as far as Vancouver, Canada.

MCing the event from Melbourne, Tom Dawkins from peerfunding website StartSomeGood kicked off the event by introducing Will from the Global Poverty Project in Auckland.

Will talked about the impact their latest campaign is having. Globalcitizen.org encourages people to take action against extreme poverty in the world in our lifetime. Using gamification, Global Citizen gives people points for their actions which can then be used to redeem for rewards such as fair-trade coffee, fair-trade bags and concert tickets.

Jon from Loomio presented from Wellington on the need for people to organise themselves better in a democratic way to make better decisions. Rooted in ideas behind the Occupy movements, Loomio is an online tool that allows people to make transparent decisions.

Tackling the issue of Gen-Y engagement, Will from Melbourne-based start-up, Clarity Engine, explained how their platform was aimed at helping Gen-Y share their philanthropic activity with their friends. Tapping into the behaviours already seen by their use on social networks such as Facebook.

Finally, in Adelaide, Evan from Our World Today explained to us how they’re using the Internet to tell positive news stories that often get ignored by traditional media. With articles written by their team of volunteer bloggers and journalists, Our World Today is able to share stories of hope and change rather than focus on the sensational ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ articles from other news sources.

NetSquared Camp: Downunder was a success thanks to the organisers of NetSquared Local groups in Adelaide, Auckland, Melbourne and Wellington. It not only showcased local examples of technology for social good, but also displayed the ability for technology such as Google+ Hangouts to overcome traditional barriers (such as distance) for people to work together.

Get involved with NetSquared

If you would like to connect with people interested in using technology for social good in Australian and New Zealand, find them in:

Adelaide
Melbourne
Sydney
Auckland
Wellington