Tag Archives: globalization

Critical Response and Clarification

26 Nov

After my last post I got an email from a reader with a number of very legitimate questions about my last post, mainly concerning social media during the Arab Spring and asking how our latest innovation in communications technology are any different from those in the past.  Here was my response, I hope this clarifies some of my ambiguities in this far flung experiment I’ve got going on here:


Hi *****,

I agree with you about the Arab Spring.  It’s highly contested academic territory and perhaps not the best direction for me to head in.  Besides, there are other things going on in the world right now that may make even more useful case studies, like the Icelandic revolution or the massive protests seen most heavily on the peripheries of ‘modern’ Europe (Spain, Greece, etc.).
The thing I guess I didn’t quite get across was that it isn’t the fact of social media but the speed and power of it that make it unique and astonishing.  Think about how long it took for the movements you mentioned to gain traction, and think of how physically slow it was to plan, disseminate information, and so on.  The fact that I can write anything I want and send it to anyone on the planet with internet  instantly astounds me and screams for wildly new potential for the dissemination knowledge as well as alternative types of social organization.  Admittedly internet usage is fairly low in most areas but generally not among those (the upper classes) who would typically assume leadership roles in their societies, if you believe that the idea of praxis exists or that movements come largely from those in the upper echelons of society.
It’s not that I believe social media simply gives people revolutionary potential, only that for the first time in the history of humankind can we deliver information instantly and do so globally.  Riots in Portugal, for example, are filmed and up for everyone to see, if not streaming, then within hours of the event.  THAT is revolutionary.  That is the type of thing I believe can lead to changes in people’s everyday understanding of the world and a sense of solidarity for those trying to resist the status quo for one reason or another.  One could argue that the printing press was more revolutionary…but for hundreds of years it was used mostly to produce a single book with a single point of view to the very few who were actually literate.  We had to catch up with the technology of the printing press to make it a truly transformative means of communication.  The same, I think holds true for the internet, but we caught up with it after twenty years or so.  However I believe we’ve intersected with social media at just the right time in history for it to be of incredible use to an exponentially larger number of people (even if adjusted to the population of the medieval era).
Further, social media for the first time makes every person on the planet an author.  It gives each of us a global voice that costs have until now made practically impossible.  It enables so much more dialogue and makes the planet feel so much smaller, so much more like a community instead of disparate nation-states.  My blog has had hits from almost ever nation on the planet over the past six months.  Could you imagine publishing in 150 or so countries in the 70s? or even the 80s or 90s?
Thanks for the website, it has really come in handy.  Feel free to get back to me if you’d like, and again I apologize for not responding a month sooner.
Take care,

Also, here is an Infographic about the history of social media starting with email in 1971 that she gave me and is pretty awesome: http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/history-of-social-media_b30226




23 Oct

Please help my research by answering the questions below:

All responses are completely anonymous.

Thank you.  Your time is very much appreciated.

A Dead Campaign?

9 May

Roughly two months after the release of the KONY2012 video and the tremendous uproar that followed, it is pretty safe to say that the movement is dead.  ‘Cover the Night’ seemed a bust by most accounts and for the most part the press and the public have already let Joseph Kony slip off of the main stage and back into the recesses of our collective memory.  It actually reminds me of an excerpt from a novel by Milan Kundera:

“The bloody massacre in Bangladesh quickly covered over the memory of the Russian invasion in Czechoslovakia, the assassination of Allende drowned out the groans of Banlgladesh, the war in the Sinai Desert made people forget about Allende, the Cambodian massacre made people forget about Sinai, and so on and so forth until ultimately everyone lets everything be forgotten.”  (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)

This outcome, then, is typical in some ways while retaining a unique status in others.  From an academic perspective this a positive outcome, insofar as much can be learned from it.  When 120,000,000 people around the world watch a film with a proactive message–a film that for all of its problems (and there are many) generated a global conversation–and no more than a few thousand people actually hit the streets  for the ‘real activism’, that is sending a strong message about the way we see ourselves and others we share the planet with.  Thus in my mind, KONY2012 has already more or less reached its end point, and now one can begin to paint a picture of what all really took place, and begin to speculate about more identity based, sociological thoughts.

My first task at this point, however, is to get past all of the media sensationalism and government opacity and try to understand the history and current standing of all of the important actors in the area and concerning KONY2012.  This will cover groups like the LRA, the Museveni government, Sudanese rebels, The US armed forces, Invisible Children and a few other large NGO’s, etc etc.

So begins a fact finding mission to figure out who exactly has interactions with the LRA and what their role has been such that the actions of all the actors culminated in the mega viral KONY2012  movie and flash ‘movement’.  Then comes the fun stuff.

I have been unable to track down any reliable statistics on ‘Cover the Night’ or how much IC made from its ‘action kits’.  If anyone happens to know either of these figures please let me know as they are both very significant.

Demographics of This Site (and other various and sundry thoughts of the day), 19 April

19 Apr Map of Countries This Blog Has Been To

As of 3PM today I have had 714 visits to my blog from the countries shown above, roughly one quarter of the nations recognized by the UN.  Here is how some of that breaks down:

United States 512
United Kingdom 45
Canada 41
Australia 11
Switzerland 10
Netherlands 8
Mexico 7
Turkey 6
Japan 5
Belgium 5
Portugal 4
Ireland 4
Sweden 4
Hong Kong* 3
Singapore* 3
Denmark 3
France 3
India 2
Finland 2
Lebanon 2
Israel 2
Spain 2
Brazil 2
Romania 2
Argentina 2
Norway 2
Ecuador 1
China 1
Thailand 1
Peru 1
Puerto Rico* 1
New Zealand 1
Philippines 1
Panama 1
Pakistan 1
Honduras 1
Latvia 1
South Africa 1
Austria 1
Egypt 1
Morocco 1
Chile 1
Poland 1
Costa Rica 1

Of the total 714, seventy two percent were American, meaning twenty eight percent came from abroad.

However, if you create a subset for the “Anglo” countries (US, UK, AU, CA–which happen to be the top four on the list), we find that it makes up for eighty five percent of traffic, leaving only fifteen percent (or 105 visits) ‘foreign’ in the broader sense.  Still I am learning a great deal about the inner workings of social media and effective methods for disseminating information.  I haven’t posted much about actual events yet, as I am still waiting a bit to see how things shake out in the next thirty days or so.  I will, however, discuss ‘Cover the Night’ and the facts and opinions that derive from it.

I will also start discussing the geopolitical history and situation in Central Africa with detail, in order to understand exactly what may or may not be going on and who the beneficiaries are.

Tomorrow is ‘Cover the Night’!  Even if you didn’t buy an ‘action kit’ (which infuriates me…something for a later rant)–make a poster, picket for an hour, get attention–do something!  Prove that when 100 million people watch a video about humanitarian justice and corruption they will make some sort of effort to voice their concerns!!!


The first day of the rest of my thesis, an adventure into academia and madness.

11 Mar

So, I have a thesis proposal due in like four days that I’ll be spending a year writing.  I had everything all planned out…”Economic globalization, the Neoliberal revolution, and the American worker”.  A fun little adventure into describing an era, which in many ways, has proven to be pretty lousy for the past 30 years or so.  Then came the KONY 2012 video.  With a base in sociology, this incredibly sudden, youth driven global movement caught my eye as something far more interesting…I guess my initial argument is that we’ve seen something unprecedented in the past week, and that it may be a step towards understanding how people may start to organize in the future and where that could take us, particularly in terms of collective action (which will be demonstrated by the KONY movement around the globe on 4/20 according to Invisible Children). Analyzed for a while, watching the movement develop as a global humanitarian/political force may also say a great deal about changes in self-identification between the analog and digital generations, and where they place themselves in the world…I’ve also got a half assed theoretic framework in which to base where I’m coming from the issue in it’s totality.

In the last two days I’ve grown so interested that I started to analyze the numerical, demographic, and geographic structure of the video’s views on Youtube.  I then started comparing it to other videos…pop singers/culture from around the world; various political issues; international sports; the all-time top hits on Youtube; videos with about the same number of hits as KONY (as of this morning); video criticisms of the KONY documentary; other activism related videos; other videos that have been introduced in the past week and received large audiences; and videos that have been around for a long time but have had few hits (in order to try and understand how the mapping process works, which I’m still trying to understand, but, after seeing videos stats that have been flatlined for years and still high density in certain countries, leads me to believe that the KONY map is indeed accurate).  I still have about 20 to do before the pattern really becomes clear, but this is the first set of data I’ve put together in the past 24 hours.  The one’s I haven’t yet put up reinforce the pattern I discern even more clearly, covers more categories, time frames, youth hits, and gives one a pretty good idea what the charts (particularly the map) say about the global spread (or lack thereof) of knowledge, and that nothing except maybe the official song for FIFA 2010 comes anywhere close.

Youtube Video Comparisons (more coming soon)

Good Idea/Bad Idea?

I’m looking for feedback as to whether anyone else sees the same pattern I do which makes the KONY 2012 video unique and important, as well as questions and criticisms of this very crude analysis.  It’ll take less than five minutes to run through the charts, and even the shortest of feedback would be great.

AND PLEASE! If you think people in your network would find this the least bit interesting please SHARE IT on Facebook and Twitter.  If I can get just TWENTY people to share this and they each have networks of 200-1000 (that contain at least a few people who might be interested in this) I might be able to get enough perspectives on the idea, or at least a larger set of data on how this (my) information does or does not get noticed by anybody.  Thank you!

I’ll update ASAP (so many crazy things have happened this week that it’s taking a bit to digest) with larger a better organized comparison chart, data on social networking among the youth as a source of news, as well as continuing to make sense of a seemingly anomalous global dissemination of information from the grassroots level, rather than governments or news corporations.