Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Can a film or a documentary be made by using crowd-sourced video recordings and procuring them through social media? Well, a young journalist from USA seems to think so. The journalist believes that various people must have recorded footage of crowds and their activites during the 18 days revolution in Egypt’s Tahrir square and elsewhere. He has therefore asked people to provide links to all such footages on the twitter or facebook so that he can make a documentary. I read this report today. The link to it is given below.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
President Obama has texted me:P
Last class was about the role of Social Media with particular focus on current unrest in the Middle Eastern countries. I believe, there is no doubt that social media has had its impact on organizing and mobilizing people who opposed their governments, but there is also something that needs to be considered as contributing factor to anger of people who have been succeeded in toppling the regime in Egypt. Utilization of Technologies like Iphone, computers that are connected with the internet has reshaped the communication architecture of the contemporary world. Today, there is no place where someone can feel her/his self isolated from the rest of the world. Something which happens in one corner of the world will be straight away communicated with most of the people around the world in few seconds.
Instead of spending too much time on other original sources, I do get most of the news that I am interested on from those people who have been part of my social networks (facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and so on). Based on my area of expertise, I have strived to be connected with those people who have been experts on the subjects of my interest and concentration too.
I would like to share a personal story which I believe will last forever in my memories. It was when President Barack Obama was off to Egypt to deliver his historical speech to the Muslim World in summer 2009. Prior to that and his election as President, in 2008, I was doing my fellowship at New York State Legislature, where I got to his facebook page and was among campaigner for his election. Even though it was not part of my job nor I was officially entitled to do so, as an informed Afghan Citizen, whose country’s future is closely tighten to the policy of US administration, I found his policy and approach toward Afghanistan very promising and full of optimisms. Therefore, I was trying to talk to as money Americans as possible to share my thoughts about him and how wise his strategy was toward Afghanistan which was among major issues in his campaign. However, I got the news from his facebook web page that whoever is having cell phone will receive the key points of his speech in almost more than 12 languages, including Farsi which is one of our official languages. Nevertheless, due to my interest of learning English, I chose to receive the texts in English. I registered my cell phone number and left office earlier than usual for home. After having my late lunch with the family, I had gone on a short nap but my cell phone peeped and I straight away got up and screamed “ hu, this is President Obama”. My wife and brothers all got to me and they thought I dreamed something crazy. My older brother who is physician by profession had perceived something was going wrong with me. But I was right, the text was from his(President Obama) team and I had kept receiving texts till the end of his speech. This is something, that I was so excited to see happing for the first time in my life and I am still teased by my wife and brothers that I was expecting the text from President himself, “President Obama has texted me”. As most of the Muslim population lives in Asia, the President’s team (DOS) translated his remarks into Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and some others which I don’t recall.
However, today many of the Afghan politicians, officials and intellectuals have been active part of social networks. Social Networks for the first time were utilized during the Presidential as well as recent parliamentary election campaigns in my country. I saw bulk of comments and exchange of ideas about the policies presented by the candidates as well as criticisms were put on their web pages.
Based on the facts mentioned above about the importance of Social Networks, I believe it is very important to be part of any of them. As personally I use facebook and LinkedIn, has seen the benefits they offer. Part of my facebook, I get most of my news, information about the subjects posted by my friends as well as I am in connected with all my family members as well as relatives whom I haven’t in person in 20 years or so. Part of my professional network (LinkedIn) I in very short period of time I have been introduced and connected with some organizations and folks who I see as positional employers for my career.
Finally, I firmly believe on the importance of Social Network and it does play a critical role in bringing people together, mobilizing their expertise, knowledge and efforts.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
A prominent Google marketing executive in the region, Wael Ghonim, has drawn a lot of attention to a Facebook group he has used to organize young people in Egypt. In his interviews with several US media outlets he highlights that the revolution started on Facebook - starting in June 2010. The government itself was apparently taken by surprise. Protesters organized and coordinated their actions using the #jan25 hashtag on Twitter - keeping the online movement alive. The Egyptian government quick shut down the internet and blocked access to Twitter and Facebook.
From a government perspective, criticism is popping up that social media is fueling the protesters - ignoring that the technology itself can't spark a revolution. Instead, public managers need to be aware of what their citizens are talking about, where hot conversation topics are bubbling up, and how to make citizens feel that government is listening to their citizens' needs.
What these so-called "social media revolution" also show is, that people don't need a broadband connection to connect to each other - instead, cellphones are widely available, independent of income or education. What's common to most of the governments that were overthrown or are under attack is that their citizens are disappointed or don't feel that their government hears their wishes and complaints.
Also check out the Wallstreet Journal video discussion with Clay Shirky.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Ghonim was arrested , kept in blind folded isolation and tortured probably for 12 days by Mubarak government while he was at the scene of demonstrations in central Cairo .I salute him for his words which he spoke just after the release “Please don’t turn me into a hero. I’m not a hero. The heroes are the ones who were out on the street.” This captures the ground reality and why Ghonim deserves our salutes.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
The media observers are carried away by the capability and outreach of social media to track events and cover diverse locations, perspectives and demographics in real time. However, some experts have a very different take on this. Experts Marko Papic and Sean Noonan observe-“A revolution is far more than what we see and hear on the Internet — it requires organization, funding and mass appeal. Social media no doubt offer advantages in disseminating messages quickly and broadly, but they also are vulnerable to government counter-protest tactics. And while the effectiveness of the tool depends on the quality of a movement’s leadership, a dependence on social media can actually prevent good leadership from developing.”(Social Media as a Tool for Protest, Marko Papic and Sean Noonan , Startfor Global Intelligence, Feb 3,2011)
They maintain that key for any protest movement is to inspire and motivate individuals to go from the comfort of their homes to the chaos of the streets and face off against the government. Social media allow organizers to involve like-minded people in a movement at a very low cost, but they do not necessarily make these people move. Instead of attending meetings, workshops and rallies, un-committed individuals can join a Facebook group or follow a Twitter feed at home, which gives them some measure of anonymity (though authorities can easily track IP addresses) but does not necessarily motivate them to physically hit the streets and provide fuel for a revolution. At the end of the day, for a social media-driven protest movement to be successful, it has to translate social media membership into genuine and effective street action. Evgeny Morozov, in his recently published book “The Net delusion” makes a very intersting remark-“ Supporting a cause on Facebook and Twitter is an activity that requires something quite different from what political action demands- the willingness to risk one’s stability and comfort, not to mention the possibility of physical confrontation with the forcces of repression”. Before getting carried away by such hype, it is time to take a pause and ponder- is it realistic to imagine revolutions by downloads?
Friday, February 4, 2011
also join the fun and "contest" at
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
This has come about after a long process. The effort also used the Right to Information Act, to retrieve detailed documents from the telecom dept. I think, this would be the biggest success story of RTI in India.