Social technology & revolutions


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References for photos and charts coming soon. Standing on the shoulder of giants putting this together.

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  • What we are going to talk about, what we aren’t. Leaving out a focus on the middle east, this is a larger sociological discussion of the impact of social technologies on revolution behaviours. There are some interesting stats about broadband penetration and/or mobile internet penetration and how that inspires political movements. I’m using the middle east as examples in a broader story, but it isn’t THE story. BUT I just confirmed with the University of Mississippi that I’m collaborating with their foreign affairs dept on a paper looking at behaviours specifically in the middle east and social media. I’ll notify when that’s been published (Junish).
  • Demystify Social Media. So let’s start with one of the first social media revolutions. The protestant revolution. Martin Luther Story. Why he published on a door, rather than a letter or sign.
  • The boy didn’t say anything that everyone wasn’t already thinking. He DID change the state of their knowledge. From individual knowledge to communal knowledge. Allowing the crowd to laugh at the empire. Individual knowledge is something emergent markets have been guilt of for years. Our only communal knowledge has come from TV or print. Now it can come from us.
  • So what does communal knowledge look like in a collaborative space like the internet. This is a fun story, but it illustrates it perfectly. Collaborative, communal knowledge is like little pieces of a puzzle. Who solved the question of the cat lady? Well no ONE person did. It was a collaborative effort.
  • 2001, impeachment trial of Philippine President Joseph Estrada. Congress voted to leave out some key evidence. Two hours after the decision thousands were on the street. Within 2 days that turned into over a million people. Seven million text messages were sent.
  • Arguably the largest reaction to Egypt was when the internet was shut off. Instantly Google jumped in the fight providing a hack for people to tweet and live satalight images when the press had a hard time getting people on the ground. Youtube began to feature videos of street level activity, meanwhile Al-Jazeria jumped into high gear curating all the social media activity to put the pieces together of the story.
  • Most of these nodes are about the same size. This isn’t a true influencer strategy, it’s more of a movement.
  • It was just internal technology, it was external as well. -confuse authorities with profile location -google creating a feed of tweets based on location
  • The Role of charismatic leaders versus a weak tie system
  • Who lead the Berlin Revolution? Who lead the Egypt revolution? -Not a leader, but in many ways, carasmatic leaders are a Metonymy of a revolution, the same as the content of Martin Luther King Jr. is larger than the person. -Berlin, had a wall. SM is another form of a Metonymy. It isn’t the source of a revolution, nor is it the end. But what it is is an organiser, an information structure and a metonymy. -
  • The marketing of a message. When charismatic leaders tap weak tie systems. I’ve clearly overlaid an advertisement layer to the images here.
  • Social technology & revolutions

    1. 1. Social Technology & Revolutions <ul><li>From Obama to Egypt </li></ul>The London Salon, 4 April 2011 by Matt Gierhart
    2. 2. What is a Social Media Revolution? <ul><li>Why did Martin Luther publish on a door, rather than a letter or a book, etc.? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Individual vs Communal Knowledge <ul><li>Epistemology of information structures tell us that freedom of speech is just as important as public assembly. </li></ul>
    4. 4. What this looks like on the internet: The story of the cat in the bin <ul><li>Internet group 4chan was able to determine who the lady was within 48 hours based only on the youtube video. </li></ul>
    5. 5. “Go 2 EDSA. Wear blk.” <ul><li>Philippine revolution, 2001 </li></ul>
    6. 6. The digital learnings of Egypt <ul><li>elements of a revolution </li></ul>
    7. 7. Unrest <ul><li>Social Media didn’t start the revolution, injustice did. What social media did at the very early stages was quickly organise the efforts. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Shutting the internet off <ul><li>The global reaction </li></ul>
    9. 9. Map of Egypt Twitter <ul><li>Not influencer driven, more nodes of messages </li></ul>
    10. 10. External revolution <ul><li>Twitter’s from around the world changed their profile location to Egypt and Google provided a realtime map of tweets and activity coming from Egypt. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Social Revolution Recipe <ul><li>Internal —Communal knowledge, Organisation, viral messaging </li></ul><ul><li>External —Media outlet, external real-time understanding </li></ul>
    12. 12. Weak Ties/Communal Information <ul><li>Slacktivism </li></ul>Malcolm Gladwell: Small Change ‘Why the revolution will not be tweeted’
    13. 14. Metonymy of a revolution <ul><li>Leaders or physical objects often represent a tangible thing for large groups to aspire to. Just as in Berlin, when there wasn’t a clear leader of the people (in driving them to the streets). In Egypt, there wasn’t a wall, but there was a visible dialogue. </li></ul>
    14. 15. &quot;Our revolution is like Wikipedia, okay? Everyone is contributing content,but you don't know the names of the people contributing the content. This is exactly what happened. Revolution 2.0 in Egypt was exactly the same. Everyone contributing small pieces, bits and pieces. We drew this whole picture of a revolution. And no one is the hero in that picture.&quot; Wael Ghonim
    15. 16. Influencing the Message <ul><li>The dance of leading a grassroots movement </li></ul>
    16. 18. Sock puppets & Censorship <ul><li>Influencing and blocking </li></ul>Vietnam & US Military
    17. 19. Wikileaks & O'Keefe <ul><li>We tend to measure the impact of wikileaks or O’Keefe by how much they upset our their target organisations. But their real impact is better measured by the rising social force mistrusting ACORN or the casualty expressed by governmental diplomats. </li></ul>
    18. 20. QUESTIONS <ul><li>What role should government play? Listening? Responding? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we prevent mob rule? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the right to communicate a universal right? Is shutting down the internet equal to free speech/public assembly? </li></ul>