On March 19 and 20, the Webster Center for Creativity and Innovation (WCCI) organized a hackathon on Migration and Social Media on campus as part of the Open Geneva festival of societal innovation. Partners of the event included Propulsion Academy and the Webster Humanitarian Association.
Three groups of participants worked on two main challenges: 1. Fighting misinformation about migration on social media, and 2. Finding new and positive ways of using social media for helping migrants and the helpers of migrants.
The event opened on March 19 in the morning and included a talk on migrant stories by Daniela Cicchella (UNHCR) and on creativity and groupwork by Vlad Glaveanu (Webster University Geneva).
Participants had the possibility of working with a dataset of over one million tweets on migration prepared by the organizers (Constance de Saint Laurent, University of Bologna/EPFL) or identify they own datasets.
In the end, three projects had been proposed. One of the them addressed the first challenge and proposed a way to identify the most discussed topics on social media, study the factual information they use and then put them in perspective by showing the bigger picture of the data used on social media. The second and third projects addressed the second challenge and proposed a new Facebook feature (3M) and an app (Call In), respectively, used to connect migrants, NGOs, and local volunteers.
The projects were evaluated based on originality, empirical base and proof of concept criteria by a panel of experts and participants were given a choice to use donate the prize money they won to a charity of their choice or potentially use it as seed investment for their projects.
A post-hackathon event is envisioned around May in order to take stock of the progress made and connect the participants with organizations who would be interested to help them develop their ideas further.Photos by Eliza Honegger.