Social Impact Software

June 26, 2020

When I began writing these lines, I thought about software that tries to alter or improve the social situation of its users. Reflecting on current news, this could mean the improvement of life conditions of black or coloured people in the US, of Roma or Sinti in Europe, or of other people that suffer from systemic disadvantage. I don’t suggest that the situation of Roma or Sinti is the same as that of black people in the US, it’s just an example that came to my mind. And of course the Roma and Sinti situation came to mind because of this year’s Grimme online awards where RomArchive won a price (https://www.grimme-online-award.de/2020/nominierte/n/d/romarchive/).

In order to identify “Social Impact Software”, we should first look at the term “Social Impact”. According to http://www.social-impact-modell.ch/copy-of-social-impact-modell-sim/sim.pdf, “Social Impact” is based on a theory by Talcott Parsons (1976) and Opielka (2006).

There are also some companies that live from making Social Impact, such as https://socialimpact.eu/.

Interestingly, another theory carries a similar name, Social Impact Theory (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_impact_theory) is about the influence which real or imagined others behavior exercises on an individual’s behavior. For example, if an individual, despite the wish to do so, does not leave his garbage in the park because of the presence of surveillance cameras, then this is social impact.