SoMove Update #6

(Update from Apr 19)

Comments of the Class Review of our Project Update:

The class brought up many important points during our discussion after our presentation.  Our designs are still at an early stage, as we are still working through the main goal of our project and figuring out what the final product will be – whether it is a place for the community to share their infiltration stories or is it a place for SoMove to control and post stories they feel should be broadcast?  (We are hoping to end with a good combination of both.)

Here are some main points that were brought up during class, as well as our take on them and how we will think about these points in the future:

  • What is infiltration?  This is important to define on the website – if people new to this topic visit our site, we want to make sure that when they leave, they’ll know exactly what it is and how it is defined, and hopefully even be able to cite a few of the stories we share.
  • Concerns about crowd-sourcing the stories:  We are heavily considering a section of the website for people to submit their own stories of infiltration.  The current plan is to allow people to submit stories, and then have a moderator sift through these stories to see if there are any in particular that we want to delve into more.  If there is a particular story we want more information on, SoMove might even fly the submitter in and create a sort of mini-documentary or audio file interview or something that will VISUALLY be put on the website in liu of that story that was submitted.
  • SoMove has a strength, which is recording and producing oral histories (audio & video). There is concern that focusing on crowd sourced content won’t play to this strength enough:  We do not want all the stories on the site to be text based, because SoMove is an ORAL HISTORY focused organization – they thrive off of audio and visual formats, not text!  We want to adhere to that philosophy and provide them a platform where they can add their video or audio files, as well as attach relevant text files or pdfs for viewers to access.

SoMove Update #5

(April 13th Update)

Around spring break, we came up with some ideas on how to format information on a website.  We decided to focus on gathering stories from people and organizations that have been infiltrated, and the decision now had to be made on how to best visualize all these stories.  Here is a presentation with updates on our project’s current standing, and towards the end are some sketches of design ideas we had.  One is text based and another is video/media based – but the one that our collaborator, SoMove, liked the best is the map visualization.

Sort of thinking along the lines of GoogleMaps, Richard and I thought we could have a map background and pinpoints on the map of where sources of infiltration happened – and when the user clicked on one of these points, a story or new web page would pop up, describing the occurrence.  (We don’t want to focus on a “GoogleMap” format though – we want a map visualization, but do not necessarily want to be tied to Google – we want our own identity.)

The benefits of having a map visualization:  1) It would allow us to organize stories by location, and maybe even extent of infiltration. 2) We can easily see that many occurrences are happening within a certain area. 3) It’s more visual and interactive for the user – always a plus!

Next on the agenda is coming up with different designs for a map-visualization, and figuring out the structure of the website.

SoMove: Update #4

This past week we continued to heavily discuss what kind of content to include on our website.  Puck provided us documents with specific events of infiltration – these are the stories we thought we would focus on towards the beginning of CoDesign.  However, after looking at the different personas of users and our timeline, we decided we wanted to make the interface more interactive than a display of information.

We’d like people to be able to submit their own stories online, and we want to be able to display those stories in an accessible way.  We are thinking of having people tag their stories with certain key words that will allow us to categorize events by date, location, target group, infiltrator, and so on.  Also, stories do not have to be just text based – people can submit audio files, videos, or other forms of media as well.

We are currently finalizing a timeline for all of our plans and completing our proposal and working agreement.  Next on the todo list is coming up with creative layouts for the interactive site, and then hopefully choosing the best elements to stick with.

What’s up? I’m Arthi

Hellooo!  I am a current computer science major at MIT, and I still have no clue with what I want to do with my life – which I’ve been told was normal…  Music keeps me sane here.  I’m no star with any instruments, but I really enjoy singing and am a part of an a capella group that does mashups of music from India and American pop.  Other main things to know about me:  I’m a TV addict and an internet junkie.  I’ll fall in love with anything that makes me laugh, but also anything that makes me think really hard about life – and if it does both, I might just explode.

I’m excited to start work in this codesign course – I learn the most when I work on projects that have a real life application, and even better when I get to work with those who will be directly affected by the project.  This term’s topic is surveilliance, and I’m quite interested to see the different ideas we can work with and how we will tackle these issues.

Thoughts on The Day We Fight Back:

I checked out a few events on Feb 11th that took place for Today We Fight Back, and overall it was very quiet and peaceful – maybe even too quiet and peaceful.  If the goal was the create awareness about the issue of unwarranted surveillance, then it was basically accomplished.  The main action from the day was that people emailed their senators about their disapproval and spread the word online and through other forms of media.  Personally, I thought the interwebs were pretty quiet about the whole deal.  I asked people at MIT what they thought about it, and they said they barely heard anything for it.  As of now, I’m not too sure if any critical action came from the day – but it all depends on what follows.  We will have to wait and see if all this helped reduce or even stop the surveillance.

What surprised me was that this was a global event – there were gatherings in Germany, India, South Africa, and all over.  The Internet is not just an American commodity – it is global, and so is the issue of tapping into the data that can be collected through the Internet.  Specifically for India, the Digital Brand Group held an event to raise awareness about mass surveillance and privacy concerns.  Currently, I don’t know how successful the event was yet, but according to Facebook comments, people started realizing that there needs to be more organized voices on this issue.  In this respect, the global Day We Fight Back event was successful – in creating awareness.


“We believe that the erosion of trust caused by unchecked surveillance jeopardises the freedom and prosperity which is the promise of technology.” –