5 Ways You Can Hack Technology for Social Change

Hey, I've gotten lots of emails lately from folks who want to get more involved in tech. I figure the best way to advise 'em is to make connections between people doing good work. It seems counter-intuitive to double efforts, and the impact's greater when there's collaboration.

Orgs that really have their boots on the ground will send me stuff, like social media, to share, and I really appreciate that.

With winter melting, and spring coming into view, lots of folks are re-emerging and looking to get involved. My team and I generated a list of 5 ways to get involved in tech this spring.

  • 1. National Day of Civic Hacking is coming up. And, according to Code for America:
  • On June 6, 2015, thousands of people from across the United States will come together for National Day of Civic Hacking. The event will bring together urbanists, civic hackers, government staff, developers, designers, community organizers and anyone with the passion to make their city better.

    They will collaboratively build new solutions using publicly-released data, technology, and design processes to improve our communities and the governments that serve them. Anyone can participate; you don't have to be an expert in technology, you just have to care about your neighborhood and community.

    Find out where to participate and hack for change here. Can't participate, but want to give an hour? You can code for America right now - there are lots of open GitHub issues that could use your attention.

  • 2. Signup for the Women Who Tech TeleSummit. The 5th Women Who Tech TeleSummit, on April 29, 2015, features the most inspiring tech changemakers, disruptors, and startup entrepreneurs, speaking on topics like funding your own startup and pitfalls to avoid, disrupting the BS startup brogrammer culture, defining your startup vision, how to rock your pitch deck, etc. You can participate from anywhere - you just need a phone and the web.Speaking of Women Who Tech, they're just launching the first-ever Women Startup Challenge that'll help women crowdfund money for their startups (disclaimer: I'm one of the sponsors). You can either signup for the chance to win up to $50k cash, no strings attached, or spread the word so we can fund more women-led startups. Apply and find out more here.
  • 3. Help get more girls involved in coding. You can either volunteer to teach a Girls Who Code club, or you can start one in your community.Why does it matter? According to Girls Who Code, in middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science. Let's change the ratio.
  • 4. Check out the upcoming hackerspaces events worldwide. There might be something near you, and feel free to add to the list if you know about an event that's not listed.
  • 5. Black Girls Code (BGC) has lots of events coming up that you won't want to miss. BGC Dallas is hosting a Build a Game in a Day workshop that you can register for, or signup to volunteer for on Saturday April 25. The Bay Area BGC is hosting a parent/daughter workshop on Saturday May 9. You can signup here.
  • How are you going to get involved? And what would you add to this list? Thanks!