The Environment

Maps, Video Games, and the Stuff in Between

June 8, 2012

How Much For That “Like”?
Three weeks ago, we wrote about the challenges Facebook faces in turning a profit from its massive reservoir of user data. Since its IPO went bust, [email protected] asks: what is all that data worth?  Let’s think about that question from an advocate’s viewpoint: what does a “Like” tell you about the impact you’re having? Answer: not much. Advocates may need to turn to other (perhaps more time-intensive) means to get actionable data that’s worthwhile, such as content/thematic analysis of user posts. Meaningful data…that we definitely like.

(De)constructing Women
This past week we became big fans of Anita Sarkesian’s Feminist Frequency blog. She takes representations of women in pop culture and unpacks them to reveal the prevalence of certain stereotypes that devalue the role of women in society. Her next target? The video game industry. Given the attention video games have received as of late (with the American Art Museum officially declaring them to be art), Sarkesian is calling for a much needed “reality check.” Her carefully-made videos spread the word about her findings and challenge viewers to reflect on gender.

Maps as Advocacy Tools
It is a truth universally acknowledged that…Americans have trouble with maps. Just ask CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who is still clearly moved by Miss South Carolina’s comment on this very issue at the 2007 Miss Teen USA Pageant. The Aspen Institute’s Agent Orange in Vietnam Program is using maps for  advocacy purposes: a Google Earth application shows known and suspected dioxin “hot spots.” This map is a cool, interactive tool with the potential to engage supporters. As the old adage goes, show, don’t tell.