Building on Johanna's earlier post on social media, I thought I'd highlight a few points from Clay Shirky's new piece in Foreign Affairs, entitled "The Political Power of Social Media" (users must register). The essay is a thought-provoking contribution to the ongoing discussion about technology's political impact - and it also gives me an opportunity to clarify a few issues regarding my thinking on the Internet and authoritarian regimes.
Earlier this month, the Financial Times published a piece by Misha Glenny entitled “Who Controls the internet?” The article tells the story of USCybercom, the military command in charge of securing vital U.S. interests from attacks on the web. Last week, it was widely reported that U.S. Legislators asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for more information on the revelation that third-party applications running on the ubiquitous social network he founded were transmitting personally identifiable data to private companies. It may not be immediately apparent, but these two stories and others like them are inextricably related. These developments run counter to the realization of a global digital commons, one envisioned to enable an unprecedented number of people around the world to freely express themselves and come into contact with the ideas and opinions of others.
I am often amazed with how Google reads my mind when I am typing, giving me numerous options from which to click. Apparently, though, some words do not produce instant results. "The Hacker publication 2600 decided to compile a list of words that are restricted by Google Instant." Although many of the words are not surprising (think off-color biological terms), some others might leave you thinking really, this made it to the list (ex. the word butt), but others might educate you on topics (off-color) that you had no consideration or imagination for. Giggles aside, and yes I did some giggling when I reviewed the list, there is a bit of danger in the idea of a search engine censoring terms. Based on whose morals, based on whose values and who makes the final censorship decision? These questions worry me.
A few weeks ago David Brooks, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times, unearthed the roots of an important discussion that began with Cass Sunstein’s 2001 essay entitled “The Daily We: Is the internet really a blessing for democracy?” Brooks’ take on Sunstein branches in two directions: tension and composure. Tension because “the internet might lead us to a more ghettoized, polarized and insular electorate”. Composure due to recent work by Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro called “Ideological Segregation Online and Offline” which presents a different take on our what Sunstein called “personalization”.
- East Asia and Pacific
- Europe and Central Asia
- Latin America & Caribbean
- Middle East and North Africa
- South Asia
- Information and Communication Technologies
- internet penetration
- social media
- Web 2.0
- ideological segregation online and offline
- Berkman Center for Internet and society
- Cass Sunstein
- David Brooks
- digital media
- Communications architecture
|Iresha Dilhani from the remote village of Mahavillachchiya in North Central Sri Lanka is one of the beneficiaries of taking Internet into rural areas in Sri Lanka. She works in her parents mud and wattle house on the laptop she bought from money she earned working on line for business company.|
Communicate your right to shape the world.
Say what you want to say, look at what others are saying; learn, network, communicate and shape the world you are going to live in. This is the message going out to youth as the World Bank Colombo office launches its Say it! Look@ program on the 1st May on channel ETV at 8:00 to 8:30 P.M.
The program is a convergence of new social media and the established old media of television and newspapers. The rationale is to provide an interactive space on the Web, as well as through an introductory monthly TV documentary a virtual Youth Commons where Youth can express their opinions, join in discussions, interact and build networks.
The Specific Objectives are to:
This past weekend’s launch of the iPad has had me thinking more and more about the future of information because I’m not entirely convinced that we should go in the direction that Steve Jobs is taking us.
Or what I really mean (since I have every intention of getting an iPad) is that I’m not convinced that that’s the ONLY direction we should go.
Let me step back for a moment and briefly explain what the media gurus believe is in our future.
We live now in the age of Web 2.0 and the next BIG thing on the horizon is being called Web 3.0 or the “Semantic” Web. In other words, we are heading, we are told, for a web that has “meaning.”i
With the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) having just passed and the current Youthink! feature on biodiversity, it seemed appropriate to explore the conservation debate and take a look at who the players are. Recent news suggests that the Internet is the biggest threat to endangered species, according to conservationists.