Introducing CipCip – Twitter for aid workers

by Jon Thompson on May 25, 2009

I am a pretty proud papa for today we gave birth to CipCip which, I believe, is the world’s first humanitarian microblog.  (Now, I may be dead wrong about the last bit but I haven’t heard anything to prove me wrong and besides you always think you kid is the cutest!)  CipCip is our very own Twitter and it lives within the walls of the World Food Programme.  As you can tell from the logo it’s built on Laconica and right now we’re firing away using Twhirl although I wish there was something that could pull double duty (Twitter and Laconica) but in one consolidated interface.  Where’s that new Seemic Desktop?

Everything I am telling you is available on today’s post over on the DELIVER project blog which outlines WFP’s efforts to synchronize their various data systems.  Some of the highlights of rolling out the system have been: 1) the ease with which a user in Maputo, Mozambique contributed information to our social stream and 2) the ability to live blog meetings elsewhere in the office so that folks could tune in and get the highlights all from the comfort of their desks.  As you know I can’t tell you much more than what is on the printed page but needless to say I am pretty thrilled by the results.

Where it goes from here is anybody’s guess but there are some pretty big plans for the system.  Just think of hundreds, if not thousands, of aid workers having one dialogue from 85+ countries around the world.  If the World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian aid organization and humanitarian logistics operation, can put something like this into to play I should think it is not out of reach for smaller, lighter aid organizations to implement.  The beauty of it all is that it is basically free of charge minus the few extra hours it took to get it up and running!

Please stay tuned for more and I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

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Fine tuning the flow of Twitter data - like drinking beers and talking engines | Aid Worker Daily
May 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mikel May 25, 2009 at 11:56 am

Congrats Jon!

Jon Thompson May 25, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Mikel-
Many thanks although now begin the growing pains. I am happy as hell that this day has come. I honestly think this is going to cause a seismic shift in the way we communicate. Not since Skype have I seen something this good.
Thanks again,
Jon

Carlo May 25, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Congratulations. What a great way to track situations as they arise and empowering people to be proactive.

Mifan May 25, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Great initiative – yet another techno innovation for the humanitarian sector – and the WFP using it means it has got the backing that matters. Well done!

Jon Thompson May 25, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Mifan-
Many thanks! I am hopeful that as time goes by and more is posted about the added advantages of CipCip other orgs will be willing to give it a try. There are a lot of directions we can take this in and that is what is most exciting about this project – the broad horizon.
Cheers,
Jon

Chris Blow June 15, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Wow great work!

In the Iranian elections Twitters recently had to petition the Twitter gods to not go down for 1.5 hours of maintenance — an infuriating point of failure. Thanks for advancing a more federated, independent vision.

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