It’s not that empathy — the act of imaginatively entering into another person’s world — is unpopular. In the corporate world, “empathy” is increasingly how hard-nosed business types refer to understanding your customers and their needs. But in the journalism world I’ve traveled in for the last 15 years, the word feels somehow not hard or specific enough. It seems a little soft and fuzzy — not characteristics you’d generally associate with journalists.
And that’s why I’m leaping — to find a way to use technology to increase empathy.
I’m building GroundTruth: a mobile engagement and research platform. I’m just entering the prototype phase, and at first GroundTruth will be designed to engage people at the “bottom of the pyramid” who are far less likely to be sharing information online — but own one of the 5 billion mobile phones that can be used for SMS, MMS and voice.
Above is Andrew Haeg on his new project, which I think is really exciting. I talked about why journalists need to adopt groundtruthing last month here: http://stearns.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/what-journalists-can-learn-from-apples-map-mishap/