Networked individuals are rapidly playing a more central role in holding BP and all parties more accountable for their roles in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. One of the most promising developments is the launch of the ‘Oil Reporter‘. This is an open platform for citizens to keep and eye on beaches and other developments related to the oil spill and to report their observations in meaningful ways. Geo-tagged photos of beaches over time can be visualized through the help of San Diego State University’s Visualization Centre. It is all brought to us by CrisisCamp, a very successful group of newtworked individuals, who have played a remarkable role in the response to the crisis in Haiti.
Do take a look at their sight, and contribute as you can. You can ‘adopt a beach’, contribute your photographs, expertise, your networks, or moral support. The press will quickly lose their focus on this event as it becomes old news, but it is critical that the public continues to hold all the actors accountable and this is a potential role that the Fifth Estate of networked individuals is well equipped to play. Of course, this is not either or as the mass media has and will continue to play a major role, such as in showcasing the views of Erin Brockovich, who Julia Roberts made famous, but who has recently spoken out on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Governments have also been contributing to the resources online that are accessible to networked individuals, such as the fact sheet on the oil spill put up by the White House, albeit absent any photographic images.
I should also point out the role that Wikipedia is playing in documenting this event – another example of collaborative network organizations providing major resources for public accountability. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill
To learn more about ‘Oil Reporter’, see: http://crisiscommons.org/2010/05/meet-oil-reporter http://crisiscommons.org/2010/05/meet-oil-reporter/