Greenwich Academy Press

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Greenwich Academy Press

Greenwich Academy Press

Taking Apps to the Streets

Taking Apps to the Streets
Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 9.53.12 PM

Nowadays, social media is everything. It is how we connect with family and friends, it is how we keep updated on our favorite celebrities, and now it is also how we rally followers to our cause.

Turkey is more than sixty-five hundred miles from Venezuela and more than a thousand miles from Ukraine, but the protesters in both places have something in common. They are united by the use of a single app, Zello.

Zello is a walkie-talkie app that began in Austin, Texas and works with Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows PC, rugged mobile devices and two-way radios.

What is so appealing to protesters about Zello is that, first, it is anonymous. Zello does not retain information about users; this helps to protect users from target by the authorities.

Messages sent with Zello are sent to either individuals or a password protection group. This gives a sense of security to the user. Protesters are using this app to organize and message people about rallies and protests.

The authorities are not pleased and there have been multiple attempts to block the app. In fact, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey released in a statement that “social media is the worst menace to society.”

Zello, in response, is creating new versions of their product to continue to give access to those that need it. In Ukraine, there was no attempt to block the app; this makes the situation in Venezuela, with approximately 150,000 downloads, a bit different.

Zello also works in low wifi areas, which is a plus, and it has public chats as well. There is a minimal lag with Zello and users have reported “crystal clear” voice messages. Zello has been downloaded about 50 million times and is the #1 most downloaded app in 52 countries.

With so many people on the Zello network, sometimes things go downhill. As we have often seen with apps that allow people to communicate on a large scale, there are harassment issues that come up. Although personal information on users is not collected, if a user is harassing or abusing others he will be warned or banned depending on the extent of his actions.

Now that there are properly monitored apps available for just about anything, social activists can make a marked difference in the world.

This is Zello: just one of the many apps available, but one of the most influential.


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Taking Apps to the Streets