Project Proposal

Social Justice Topic:

The social justice topic that I have chosen to grapple with is income inequality across the globe. Throughout history there have always been cultures or civilizations that are more “wealthy” than another. For example the Egyptians who developed writing with papyrus, show their supremacy in civilization by having the luxury and proximity to certain natural resources to record their exploits. Their location and ingenuity lead to probably one of the greatest human civilizations of all time, but people fail to think about at who’s expense did they gain prestige? How many people died building the pyramids? What small tribes were eradicated in the creation of their empire? Back then people would say that humans were not as civilized as  they are now, I would say that these same acts of exploitation extend themselves into the very culture we live in.

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Examples of Exploitation in the United States’ History:

Child Labor: http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/us_history.html

Slavery: http://www.infoplease.com/timelines/slavery.html

The Industrial Revolution: http://www.ushistory.org/us/25d.asp

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Providing a Solution:

In any country or civilization I believe culture is a strong influence on the actions the people take. My app design is more than creating an app for people to use in their leisure. I want people to be defined by their actions when they use my app, as well as perform some real “good” in this world. When I think of my app design, I think of Facebook or Instagram, these platforms may not have necessarily started as a mobile application (Facebook), however they sent ripples throughout American culture. Almost every major media outlet has a Facebook page and an Instagram for the simple fact of their popularity and ability to influence.  I see my app as a social network, but something slightly more engaging.

*On Twitter and Instagram, people are defined by how many followers they have, this determines their importance. Usually in comparison to the wealthy and famous, who are usually celebrities. The more like a celebrity you look online, the more people will watch your actions and deem you appropriate.  I want my app’s points to be used as the determining factor in a person’s importance. So even if people’s actions to get points are superficial, they benefit the life of a person in the process.*

App Design:

Imagine you are browsing through the Android or Google App store and you come across an app entitled “Social Justice” created by MobMed14’s Marquis Chamberlain. Your not entirely sure what this app does or means, but you download it anyway because you have herd all of your friends talking about it and you have an idea that it’s for a good or charitable cause. Once you download and install the application you can choose to create an account using your Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or MSN e-mail addresses. If you have an email address that is other you will be taken to a separate form that will ask you for your first and last name, date of birth, and other information that would help you create a profile about yourself for others to see. If you are using one of the email addresses listed above the application will automatically sync with any profile information you may have created as well as allow you to add any of your email’s contacts. After account creation the next page will be for your avatar, you have to set some sort of picture of gif file as your avatar for others to see to create a more human feel for the app’s community. Like every great social networking app of our time, we will have integration with twitter, facebook, and instagram so people can port their followers over quickly and easily. The whole idea of the network is to be a place where people can have followers and follower others or have friends, but the main draw will be “SJ Points.” (Working on the name). But these points will allow people to purchase real life goods I’ll speak more on that later. But, the way you get these points is to perform charitable actions. So for example if you donate to this specific cause, for every dollar you give, we’ll give you .75 points toward your account. I imagine that church’s and homeless shelters will be something like bases where members of our network will check into and for however many hours they worked as verified by the base they are at they will gain points as well. There will also be small challenges built in, like you can get a point for taking a picture with the staff, basically to get people excited and motivated to do community service. Maybe we can integrate the application with the government so when you reach a certain number of points you receive a tax break. I strongly believe that if we make it “cool” as a culture to help others, people will catch on and want to be apart of what’s happening. It’s basically an app to help change the mindset of people more toward community involvement. There will also be micro-blogging capibitiies as well as direct messaging. Some other things you can purchase with points are discounts to certain businesses maybe if we collaborated with groupon on that.

The Disconnect:

When I was partying in Miami most people would take time to be on their phones, checking instagram, twitter, and facebook to see what everybody else is doing. I figured if people like to be on their phones so much and be social why not have a social app where people can watch other people to charitable work. Instead of aspiring of having the typical American Dream, (money), maybe we could redefine what that dream could be together. I was also thinking like, imagine if everybody paid 45-50$ to get into the club and then hundreds of dollars on drinks, took that money and held a softball game for after school children. People can still dress fancy, buy alcohol and be social, maybe not in the same environment as a club, but at least the experience is benefiting someone besides the club owners. All I saw during my field project was money being wasted on experiences that may or may not last forever. I think changing the life or a person or making it better would be more poignant to another person than getting drunk and standing around on their cellular device. I just figure if people like being on their phone watching people, watching people do good for others may inspire someone to help someone else.

I want to note that “Check-in for Good is one of my ideas for the app, I read about it after I wrote this article here’s the link for more information: http://checkinforgood.com/

Research Paper Articles:

Cumiskey, K. M. (2013). Mobile media practices, presence and politics: the challenge of being seamlessly mobile. New York: New York : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Child Labor in U.S. History. (n.d.). – The Child Labor Education Project. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/us_history.html

The First American Factories. (n.d.). ushistory.org. Retrieved March 22, 2014, from http://www.ushistory.org/us/25d.asp.

MacFarlane, S. N. (1985). Superpower rivalry & 3rd World radicalism: the idea of national liberation. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Visual Design Project:

I think I’m going to create a series of pictures illustrating the functionality I want the application to have. Each picture will be the specific features that highlight the social justice parts of my app, such as checking in at different “bases” where you perform charity work. And pages where you can donate to different charities. As well as the feed that each profile is presented with when they follow their friends which would include text, pictures, and short videos.

Timeline:

1st Month: Design phase, focus on the what kind of GUI we would like to see the application have.

2nd – 4th Month: Finding Developers/Coding, build the application using C & Java utilizing myself and other developers I would find along the way. C for Apple App Store, Java for Android.

4th – 5th Month: Product testing, beta phases, have close friends and certain open source communities apply and help with beta testing.

Month 6: first rendition of program released, along with source code for any add-ons devs may want to create.

Month 7 – Until: If product takes to the public well, worldwide ad campaign as well as introduction to ads on the app, donate for points, and possible collaboration with world governments.

Month 8: Warranting if the app gains success, offer incentives to different “bases” or places where charitable work can be done to get connected to our network, helping foster a working relationship with these places officially by placing our QR codes, banners, and NFC spots for easy check in.

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One thought on “Project Proposal”

  1. I appreciate the breadth of the issues you plan on addressing, though research on charity and volunteerism is probably more important to your design than inequality in general. You might also look into the gamification literature, as much of what you describes has overlaps with that approach (e.g. giving people points for good deeds).

    This app has a lot of overlaps with existing apps, which is something you should discuss (Foursquare for example). In turn you’ll need to be clear about what your app adds (e.g. social justice motivations). One thing that would be worth considering (in light of privacy concerns) is whether it needs to be attached to an existing email account or even personal information of any sort.

    In your visual design be sure that it gives a clear explanation of what the app does to a user who hasn’t read your paper.

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