Big Stories from 2011

I jotted down a quick list of new stories of the past year, at least from my perspective here in the U.S., and I noticed that several of them are very relevant to our efforts here at Living Labs Global. #1: The death of Steve Jobs

The leader of the Apple empire is responsible not only for the little package of super technology many of us carry around in our pockets, but also for creating a platform on which small businesses could flourish. The very existence of products like the Apple iPhone and iPad also spurred advancements by other companies, like Google and the Android system. The result has been greater access to information, and more interaction among the people.

#2: The Occupy Movement

A movement that started similarly to social movements in history – a physical gathering of people who share an idea – spread across the U.S. and the world much faster than did efforts in the past. Occupiers used mobile phones to capture stunning videos of police brutality – so stunning, in fact, that the inequitable distribution of wealth issue was almost entirely eclipsed in the media.

#3: The Arab Spring

Some think the Occupy Movement got its inspiration from the Arab Spring revolutions abroad, which have reportedly relied on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to organize citizens. These sites also allowed the messages of Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans, and others to spread across the world. Never before have the citizens of one country been so intimately aware of the struggles faced by citizens of another, thousands and thousands of miles away.

These three major news stories of 2011 highlight mobile phones’ ability to empower individuals and whole societies. In 2012, I hope to report more on their use within developing countries.

-          Terra Curtis