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WeGov

New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 16 2014

A screenshot of the amateur video capturing Neda Agha-Soltan's death. The video won a prestigious Polk award.

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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WeGov

Burson-Marsteller Releases Annual Twiplomacy Study

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 25 2014

"What you tweet is what you get." Finnish PM @AlexStubb

The Spanish King's abdication, Narendra Modi's win, the loss of Malaysia airlines and an Olympic bet were just a few topics of the most popular tweets by world leaders this year. Each garnered more than 24,000 retweets, according to the 2014 Burson-Marsteller's Twiplomacy Study, which captures an annual snapshot of the power, influence and relationships of world leaders and diplomats on Twitter.

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WeGov

How ISIS Wins At Twitter

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 17 2014

The ISIS flag. (Wikipedia)

These days everyone, even (or especially) vicious terrorists groups, is all about social media optimization.

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WeGov

92% of Pakistanis Encounter Online Hate Speech, Survey Finds

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 9 2014

Malala Yousafzai meets with President Obama (Photo: Pete Souza/White House)

In 2012, just after then 14-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by masked Taliban gunmen, the Pakistani cyberspace was briefly united—as pro-women and pro-education—but not for long. Soon a counter-narrative emerged, depicting Yousafzai as a pawn of the United States, or even a willing operative, and obscured the facts of her attack. Even a journalist who claims to support Yousafzai's cause, the universal right to education, has dismissed her as a “good native” that the West is using to act out their “savior complex,” which one could argue illustrates the “warped mindset” that the pro-Taliban narrative has spread amongst Pakistanis, and the potential real-world effects of hate speech.

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Understanding Hashtag Activism

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 6 2014

An illustration of how high up hashtag activism can go. (Wikipedia)

Kimberly Ellis opened the break out session on “Understanding Hashtag Activism” by addressing the trend of bashing hashtag activism (not to be confused with a bashtag). “In many ways,” she said, “hashtag activism is more positive than negative.”

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WeGov

From Memes to Movements

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, June 5 2014

Tweets about the #PDF14 break-out sessions on using memes to launch and build movements Read More

WeGov

Hashtag Activism Has Profound Psychological Effects On Movement Creators & Participants

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, June 5 2014

Screenshot of a #NotYourTigerLily tweet

It has become quite trendy these days to downplay or mock hashtag activism, or what many dismiss as “slacktivism.” The takeaway from the Thursday morning session on “The Internet's Double-Edged Sword” at Personal Democracy Forum, however, was that even seemingly small actions play an important role in movement building, especially on the psychological level.

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WeGov

Remembering to Forget: A Snapshot of Censorship in China on the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 4 2014

A quarter of a century has passed since the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989, but the Chinese government is working as hard as ever to suppress memories and mentions of the event. This year: verbally blasting Google and other American technology companies through state media outlets, LinkedIn's capitulation to censorship demands, even outside mainland China, and more than 64 Tiananmen-related words blocked from online searches today, including the word “today.”

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WeGov

The Trolls on Putin's Payroll

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 3 2014

Self-explanatory (Wikipedia)

“If it looks like Kremlin shit, smells like Kremlin shit, and tastes like Kremlin shit too — then it’s Kremlin shit,” says Moscow-based writer and columnist Leonid Bershidsky, about Internet trolls-for-hire who have been paid to post laudatory comments about Putin and Russia on English-language news articles. Buzzfeed's Max Seddon reports on the leaks that reveal Russia's offensive strategy to win friends and influence people abroad.

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WeGov

Face Off in Chile: Net Neutrality v. Human Right to Facebook & Wikipedia

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 2 2014

Photo: Wikipedia

Is Internet access a human right, as important as access to education, healthcare and housing? Mark Zuckerberg thinks so, and it inspired him to launch internet.org, an initiative to connect “the next five billion.” So does the United Nations, which declared Internet access a human right in 2011, one that should not be denied even in times of conflict as a means of quelling unrest. And yet the latest blow to cheap and easy access to the Internet (and by the Internet we mean Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia) comes not from an authoritarian state cracking down on an unruly population, but from a government playing by the rules of net neutrality.

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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