I came across an interesting idea that brings to the screen what social change agents really do in our societies. A new web based initiative to support social change agents, Changents, has an interesting visualisation of the manner in which your support to one or many of them, as well as other actions on the Changents website such as inviting others to join, strengthens and affects the larger network and the work of the individuals concerned.
The site is heavy on Flash ad video and is designed for broadband, which is not surprising since many of those listed on it to date seem to be located in the US. My interest in the site is less about the people therein and more about how innovative ways of visualising the support given to these individuals can actually promote their work and generate support for it. So much of social change is intangible and long term that the challenge always is, for those who support the work of these folks, to see how their contribution meaningfully strengthened the work it was intended for. The 3D visualisation on Changents gives a better understanding of how one’s actions can create ripple effects of their own to raise awareness on vital issues and support individuals actively working in these areas.
It’s also social engineering. By making one’s support visual and into a sort of social game where the more interaction on and support you give to the site enhances one’s own ripple, you actually encourage people to do more, or at the very least, visit the site more often to see just how much one’s ripple can influenced others to act.