The Internet is full of people extolling the virtues of civic hacking and people criticizing civic hackers for buildingÂ new things instead of connecting people to existing resources.
Thatâ€™s all true, but thereâ€™s something more to hackathonsâ€”something beyond the actual projects.
Itâ€™s easy to take technology for granted and forget its purpose when youâ€™re steeped in it every day. But technology isnâ€™t about algorithms, frameworks, or finding the perfect text editor. Itâ€™s about meeting people where they areâ€”wherever that isâ€”and helping them do their best work, be their most creative, or maybe just get their stuff done faster and get on with life.
When a group of people comes together in a shared time and space to solve problems, an employee of a three-person non-profit learns about Google forms and saves hours of data entry. A community organizer changes the copy on her website for the first time. A group of kids learns that they have the power to make movies.
Say what you want about hackathons, but theyâ€™re both a catalyst of technology and a reminder of its true value.