If you walk away, Bono will follow, and so will the new iPhone app from the U2 frontman’s ONE foundation, which is aiming to punch up its efforts to organize against poverty by staying with members wherever they go.
"I don’t want slacktivists, I want true activists," Bono told @radical.media when he ordered up the tool, according to the production shop's CEO Jon Kamen. The app feeds users news, and lets them sign petitions, nag lawmakers, and promote the cause to friends from their smart phones. The goal: Get more out of the organization’s existing 2.5 million members – presumably not all of whom have iPhones – while also growing its base. “From the simplest standpoint it’s activism in your pocket,” Kamen says.
@radical.media is hoping to extend the technology to other platforms like Android, but there appears to be an issue of resources. Kamen allows there was some "financial support" from the client, but claims the work was “primarily" pro bono. "We really did it essentially for nothing in the big picture," he says. Other mobile, technology, and advertising giants could donate technical know-how or media time, he proposed, suggesting, for example, AT&T, Verizon, Apple and Google (@radical.media has worked for Google on other projects). "There should be no excuse that these companies don’t want to get behind alleviating poverty."
ONE, which is chaired by Tom Freston, doesn’t solicit cash from the public, instead asking members to support the cause with political action. A May campaign, for example, called on members to dial the White House to push for more funding for children’s vaccines.