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Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

POLIS Journalism and Society (LSE)
After Tunisia and Egypt: towards a new typology of media and networked political change

"Social media did not ’cause’ the revolutions in Tunisia or Egypt. But if I want to find out where the next uprising in the Middle East might occur, that is certainly where I would look. Social media is now a useful indicator, if not predictor, of political change.

And regardless of the causal relationship, social media does seem to be a critical factor in the evolution of a new networked kind of politics.

Of course, the most important pre-conditions for revolution are economic. Both Tunisia and Egypt had recently suffered economic downturns on top of gross income inequality in societies that are relatively developed."

Focal Points and Affairs to Remember

Taeku Lee's picture

What do the ongoing social revolution in Cairo, Egypt and the 1957 movie, An Affair to Remember, have in common? 

The answer: Thomas Schelling

It has been nearly impossible not to watch transfixed to a television or listen raptly by a radio to the unfolding news about the demands of Egyptians from all walks of life for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.  One aspect of this remarkable bottom-up demand for accountability has thus far received little attention: Why Tahrir Square?

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

By The People (America.gov)
Civil Society and Social Media

“The term “civil society” can seem almost as amorphous as the term “social media.”  Yet the two are becoming ever more powerfully linked to the promotion of democracy and human rights in the modern world.

Civil society can encompass any collection of nongovernmental activists, organizations, congregations, writers and/or reporters.  They bring a broad range of opinions to the marketplace of ideas and are considered critical to a vibrant, well-functioning democracy.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has described a free civil society as the third critical element to democracy – the other two being a representative government and a well-functioning market.”

Development 2.0: Three Things We Could be Doing Better

Tanya Gupta's picture

Recently I blogged about how development institutions are not making effective use of social media for development.  But what can be done about it?  In this blog I suggest three specific actions that development institutions can take to proactively include social media in their projects, and discuss some sectors where Web 2.0 could make a real difference. For the sake of simplicity, I will use the terms interchangeably, however for inquiring minds, Web 2.0 and social media have slightly different meanings.

Divide and Conquer Never Goes Out of Style

Naniette Coleman's picture

Malcolm Gladwell’s piece in The New Yorker, "Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted," stayed with me long after I put the carefully folded pages scribbled with my musings into the read pile on my floor. The piece deserves greater attention, meditation, rumination, which I intend to do in future blogs but for today’s blog, I want to explore his take on divide and conquer. Gladwell explores the difference between strong and weak ties in organizing and it is something that should be of the upmost importance to our readers. Decisions on organization, process, and the tools reformers engage to reach their ends are critical. "The medium, after all, is the message" - Marshall McLuhanBut it could also be that the medium signals something about the thoughtfulness of organizers and the level of commitment of participants.

Social Media for Good Governance: The Quality Measurement Challenge

Tanya Gupta's picture

This is the last of a three-part blog series on Social Media for Good Governance (Social Media for Good Governance: No Silver Bullet Yet- I, Social Media for Good Governance: The Quality Challenge-II)

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There is lot of garbage in the current social media stream today. For social media to be an effective tool in bringing about good governance, you have to be able to recognize quality information.  Defining quality of information is a complex science but for the moment we can define quality as meaningful information for a given user or group of users, with an associated set of considerations that would help measure "meaningfulness".

There are a few quality related considerations that come to mind.  One is identify measures of quality of the data itself, regardless of the source.  Another is to determine the quality of the source and make the assumption that quality sources provide quality data in the social media stream. 

Quote of the Week: Alastair Campbell

Sina Odugbemi's picture

"If you are in a senior position in politics or at the very top in business, it is probably as well to assume that life is on the record. When the organisers of any event you are speaking at tell you it is being held under “Chatham House rules”, and that everyone in the room is utterly discreet and trustworthy, it is best to nod and smile. Make a mental note that it is difficult for Chatham House rules to co-exist with Twitter, Facebook and the 24/7 media culture."

 

Alastair Campbell
in the Financial Times
from July 13, 2010

Not the New York Times: Where College Students Get Their News

Susan Moeller's picture

This is a "Wordle" data visualization of the 111,109 words the students in the study wrote about their experiences of going 24 hours without media. This Wordle cloud makes larger those words that appeared most frequently in the students' comments.

American college students today show no significant loyalty to a news program, news personality or even news platform.  Students have only a casual relationship to the originators of news, and in fact don’t make fine distinctions between news and more personal information.  Yet student after student, in a new ICMPA study, demonstrated knowledge of specific news stories. 

How did they get the information?  In a disaggregated way, and not typically from the news outlet that broke or committed resources to a story. 

Tweet, Tweet

Antonio Lambino's picture

We’ve all heard stories about how helpful and at times, epic, the roles of social media have been in crisis situations, both natural and manmade.  See, for instance, yesterday's New York Times piece on Ushahidi and Anne Arnold’s previous post on the role of new ICTs and social media in disaster response and development.  But I’m of two minds regarding one particular social media application.  Twitter allows its users to send out a “tweet” of up to 140 characters, and to keep one’s followers up to date on just about anything under the sun.  So I signed up last week to see what’s it’s like to have my very own Twitter account.

I certainly value the enabling environment social media provide to the exercise of voice, especially in places where freedom of expression is suppressed.  And heartwarming stories abound of people finding each other through social media.  A decade ago, my family was all atwitter when my cousin sheepishly confessed that he met his special someone in a chat room.  Today, I’ve heard people tell similar stories with nothing but aplomb.  Obviously, there are intrinsic and instrumental values to having multiple routes of self expression.  Especially in bad places where speech is silenced through intimidation and brutality. 

But there is a difference between tweeting things like “Men in uniform shooting at us -- please help” and “Just went to the bathroom – need to go again”. 

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