Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Article on internet activists in Tunisian revolution

"Days after the Egyptian parliamentary elections, described as the most fraudulent ever by some human rights groups, Tunisia's revolution began as it would end, in flames. On December 17, Mohamed Bouazizi, a poor vegetable seller, set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid in protest of a series of humiliations suffered at the hands of petty officialdom. Peaceful protests that broke out in response met with heavy-handed reaction, as reports online made clear, but the country's tamed media kept quiet. Bouazizi's death galvanized hitherto isolated pockets of resistance. "People realized it was now or never," says Haythem El Mekki, who hosts a TV show about Internet society in Tunisia. They had to "go to the streets and scream and shout." A Tak in Sidi Bouzid contacted the Takriz Facebook page admin about the first protests. He was directed to e-mail Foetus, who didn't know him personally. Foetus decided on the basis of a Skype call to trust the source. Takriz leaders knew that Ben Ali would cut off the area as he had during the 2008 protests in Gafsa, so they rushed more Taks in to get there before road and Internet access was severed."

There's a lot here that outsiders (like me) would never know about. I had not heard of Takriz before, for instance. Essential reading for understanding at least part of the Arab Uprising and what role ICA played.

This article was followed up here.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

crowdsourcing invention ideas

"Quirky is an invention website that takes ideas from its online community and makes them into real consumer products. Ben Kaufman, 24, founded the Manhattan-based Quirky two years ago with the aim of making invention accessible.
Though it uses the en-vogue model of crowd-sourcing, it still relies on nuts-and-bolts creation of tangible goods. Beyond Quirky's rows of desks lurks a design shop, complete with a 3-D printer and various work-shopped inventions, along with the curious leftovers of development."

The power of social media in today's world; socialnomics

This is a powerful presentation of the power of social media, by Socialnomics.

I have another blog,  A lot of times I think I should post the same thing on both sites because of the power and influence of social media and the changes that are coming so quickly. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

flash mob robs store

" A 'flash mob' believed to have been organized on the Internet robbed a Maryland convenience store in less than a minute, police said Tuesday, and now authorities are using the same tool to identify participants in the crime. Surveillance video shows a couple of teens walking into the Germantown 7-Eleven store Saturday at 1:47 a.m. Then, in a matter of seconds, dozens more young people entered and grabbed items from store shelves and coolers. Police said the teens left the store together, without paying for anything."

Tools can be used for good or ill.

Friday, August 12, 2011

microbloggers in China protect journalists

"When Chinese journalist Wang Keqin found himself cornered in the countryside two years ago by police who were trying to stop him looking into a rape case involving local officials, he looked online for help.  Wang, one of China's most dogged investigative journalists, and his colleagues called a friend who posted constant updates about their stand-off with encroaching police to a Twitter-like microblog site. Authorities in Badong County, central China, were soon flooded with phone calls from citizens warning them not to detain or hurt him."

   Wang didn't have any authority over his helpers. He just asked for help and got it.  I'm sure he didn't even know many of the people who came to his aid.  Yet it worked.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

People tired of government dilly-dallyiing, do it themselves

"In the months since the catastrophe, the Japanese government, its nuclear watchdogs and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), have provided differing, confusing, and at times contradictory, information on critical health issues. Fed up with indefinite data, a group of 50 volunteers decided to take matters, and Geiger counters, into their own hands. In April, an independent network of like-minded individuals in the Japan and United States banded together to form Safecast and began an ongoing crusade to record and publish accurate radiation levels around Japan. The group handed out mobile radiation detectors and uploaded the readings to the internet to map out exposure levels. "

While this doesn't say that Safecast organized on the internet, they are certainly making use of it.  When a government does not do it's job, now it's getting easier for the people to rise up and do it themselves.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Some ICA after the riots in UK

"A massive clean-up operation is getting under way in areas affected by the riots across England.Twitter and Facebook users are harnessing the power of social networking to co-ordinate operations."

   It should be noted that reports say the rioters were using ICA to at least coordinate how to avoid the police.  So of course it can be used for both good and evil.
   But here at least is a nice example of how people who don't know each other and are only connected by being in the same vicinity can quickly come together and accomplish a useful task.

Friday, August 5, 2011

site for study of internet "social power"

"We pursue our mission by building human and informational infrastructure for the study of digital activism, which means weaving human networks of activists and scholars and creating informational resources. Our motivating question is: 'How are we creating knowledge about digital activism and how can we do so more effectively?'"

This open source site has a nice blog, a book in progress, and other projects for distributing useful data about internet activism.  GREAT IDEA!