A CivicTechYYC blockchain experiment
This experiment is an attempt to answer the question - how might we use blockchain technology to help preserve an existing dataset of volunteer deeds, long after the organization that created it (or the platform that hosted it) is gone?
The website 3ThingsforCanada is launched to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Citizens are asked to perform three acts of service and publicly share these good deeds on social media with the #3ThingsforCanada hashtag.
Canada turns 151. People don't seem as excited about it.
The volunteer group CivicTechYYC recognizes this and creates '3ThingsForever,' an experiment to preserve 3ThingsforCanada data using blockchain technology.
Aunts, uncles, and grandparents across Canada start to realize all those quizzes they were taking on Facebook weren't just innocent fun. Acts of kindness start to disappear from view as they tighten privacy settings or delete their accounts out of fear.
People flee en masse from social media. Facebook and Twitter went out of business long ago (joining competitors MySpace, Orkut, et al.). The last platform standing, 'Plebster,' finally closes down and the #3ThingsforCanada data disappears along with it.
Data Archeologists rediscover the #3ThingsforCanada dataset, as preserved by the 3ThingsForever experiment. In celebration of Canada's 200th birthday, the data is analysed to understand what Canadians cared about 25 years ago, triggering a new wave of volunteerism and kindness across the country. Yay!
Proponents of blockchain technology speak at length about its decentralized, immutable qualities as a means to combat censorship, but we might also think of it as a means to combat atrophy and being forgotten.
Our goal is to make #3ThingsforCanada data as accessible as possible for as long as possible and as cheaply as possible. There are a bunch of approaches we might take, each with advantages and trade-offs.
As a starting point we're targeting
As a result, this web page
is will not be hosted on a traditional web server but rather a series of decentralized nodes that also host and run Ethereum Smart Contracts. That's why the address of this page may will seem a little strange.
Uploading to Swarm seemed like a reasonable balance between cost and longevity. Sure we could put all of the data directly into an Ethereum Smart contract but we learned that the cost associated with this would be enormous - the most expensive data storage on the planet, by far. This is changing though, as new developments emerge on an almost hourly basis.
Here it is - the #3ThingsforCanada data as obtained from Twitter (unfortunately Facebook doesn't play nice with this kind of thing). The entire dataset has been included, sorted on a (hidden) column flagging 'actual' good deeds as opposed to shout-outs, promotions, and the like. A few additional columns have been hidden for legibility. Browse below or download the entire dataset as a .csv file.
Members of our group have used this file to perform text and sentiment analyses, which yield some interesting insights about the 3ThingsforCanada initiative. Who knows what else people might do with this data in the future?