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    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    Fascinating Developments in Freedom

    Two major stories broke today: China has indefinitely postponed their Green Dam Censorship Software initiative, and coverage of the Iran Election on Twitter has exceeded 2 million Tweets.

    It's cliche to say that current technology is changing the way we interact at a basic level but this is evidence that it really is. These are political movements in traditionally repressive countries that were fueled by technology. In the case of Green Dam, traditionally apathetic youth were galvanized to protest when their technology was being tampered with. Without the massive coverage on Twitter we would have very little knowledge of the size and extent of protests in Iran, and no knowledge of the protests from the average people involved.

    We've seen for years how technology evolves too quickly to be squashed by the powers that be (the U.S. music industry), and we're seeing that same power applied to the political sphere. It's exciting to see technology improving lives in such positive ways and becoming a tool for political change in the world.


    SnrIncognito said...

    i sent you this but i though i'd post it here, as it's relevant.

    i think its interesting to consider that the same social factors that encourage discrimination of one group from another, i.e. what information is presented and how, is just as present online as it is in physical life. what i think is neat, though, is that it's designable, controllable.

    i haven't given this much thought, but i'd ask how online space can be made more inclusive and can encourage a general sense of tolerance and social exploration?

    Fred said...

    Thanks for that article, it was very interesting. I've certainly seen things like that happening but didn't really understand it (I no longer use MySpace outside of contacting my brother who has made a Facebook account but didn't get into it at all).

    I think the trend towards open standards and the movement of conversations from sites to platforms and mobile devices will be very beneficial in addressing some of this divide. We're nearly at that point where you can get updates from all the sites you use on either a central desktop program or even on your mobile device, like the iPhone. Just like programs such as Trillian and Pidgin eliminated the headaches in keeping in touch with friends across multiple IM programs, programs like TweetDeck that incorporate both Twitter and Facebook updates, and the universal login initiatives from Facebook, MySpace, and Google are breaking down the barriers to keeping up on multiple networks.

    That being said, the author is right that this is not a problem that will go away with new technology. It will get easier to combat with new technology but we still must make an effort to adjust our behavior accordingly and reach across the aisle to those outside of our comfort zone.

    Anonymous said...

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: We live in the future.

    And that future is very, very loud.