Social change via the Internet

The EU’s “Citizen Media – Social Change” project, which ran from 2006 until 2009, involved software development companies and research institutes from all over Europe to develop a new generation of social media programmes for non-professional users. SINTEF was responsible for involving users in the development of the software tools, and for gathering information about user experience. More than 40,000 people from Norway, Belgium, Austria, the UK and Germany took part in the studies. In Cologne, the inhabitants uploaded photos of unattractive parts of the city, and published them on the Internet. This helped to get these sites upgraded by the authorities.

In Norway, Austria and Germany, families and school classes took part in an Internet competition. They were encouraged to produce their own films, which allowed them to become better acquainted with their own children, their neighbours, and people from other countries. SINTEF concluded that not all the solutions that it evaluated were completely successful, but that there was certainly something to be said for this type of interactive development process.