The Blog — Social Media
Yesterday Facebook announced plans to step up its rivalry with Google by enhancing its messaging service. The new product is about efforts to compete with rivals, but are Facebook engineers also eyeing the social implications of their work? With new groups, friendship pages, and now a messaging center, is Facebook making a concerted effort to foster stronger relationships among its users, and what does this mean for activism?
Personalized online newspapers from paper.li aim to make sense of the links shared on your Twitter stream and organize them into a daily newspaper. The service touts itself as “a social newspaper publishing platform...where everyone is an editor-in-chief.” Does paper.li tackle the information overload on the social web or contribute to it? Sharing your newspaper with others via a tweet may not be the most effective way to spread interesting news, but these “Twitter Dailies” do have the potential to help individual users find news and information from their network they may have overlooked.
It’s no secret that young adults spend hours online every day playing games. But many of these gamers are playing with a purpose and engaging with games for social change. How are online games being used to tackle the real world’s greatest problems? Learn about a number of online games being developed to teach players about current events and social issues.
In 1994, Kevin Keith was convicted of murdering two adult women and a four-year-old girl and wounding a man and two children. Yet substantial evidence, raised at the trial and during appeals, suggested that Mr. Keith did not commit the crime. Four witnesses corroborated Mr. Keith’s alibi, while the photo lineup and subsequent statements in which surviving victims identified Mr. Keith were shown to be deeply flawed.
Yet for more than 16 years, Kevin Keith sat on death row awaiting execution. Keith’s supporters had for years done what they could to disseminate the evidence about Keith’s innocence, but they simply couldn’t reach enough people. A petition asking the governor of Ohio, the state where Keith was imprisoned, to grant him clemency had been created, but signatures were being added slowly and were in short supply.
How could activists working on Keith's behalf gather a critical mass of signatures? One successful tactic lay in targeting a Twitter user with a large and engaged audience, but could this have worked if Keith's advocates hadn't met the social media "whale" in person, at a conference? And how can we know if the growing number of signatures on the petition actually had anything to do with the governor's decision to grant Keith clemency? Read the case study to find out more.
How is social media influencing - and transforming - the election process today in the U.S.?
Enough is Enough, a Coalition of Nigerian Youth Groups, Protesting Government Corruption Nigerian Elections: Will the Benefits of Social Media Outweigh Its Risks?
The date for presidential elections in Nigeria has been repeatedly pushed back, a list of confirmed candidates remained elusive up until last month, and an accurate voter roll is still nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, Nigerian civil society is gearing up to play an important role in the 2011 elections. The prevalence of technology has increased significantly since the 2007 contest, and campaigners plan to use social media—which is used widely both on PCs and mobiles—to its fullest. But in a country with severe divisions along religious and ethnic lines, how can they ensure that their efforts to get out the vote will also promote peaceful elections?
An individual's Twitter account pretended to be representing BP's public relations department, amassing thousands of followers and causing a stir in the media world -- how did he do it?
Last week, Facebook overhauled how groups are created and managed. Now, any Facebook user can create a group on any topic and automatically add other friends to it. With this change, Facebook hoped to tweak the platform so that offline interactions would be better represented online. As digital activism is in large part about using online tools to promote and foster offline actions for social change, it makes sense that this alteration would have consequences for aspiring changemakers.
After surveying more than 50,000 people in 46 countries, a new report claims to have made some definitive and surprising conclusions about the way people around the world are using digital technologies. Their findings suggest that citizens in the developing world are taking to the web (on both PCs and mobiles) in a completely different, and more active, way.
As Read Write Web reports, the study finds that 88 percent of online users in China and 51 percent of those in Brazil have their own blog, as compared to only 32 perecent in the U.S. Ninety-two percent of users in Thailand, 88 percent of users in Malaysia, and 87 percent in Vietnam have uploaded photos to social networks, as compared to only 28 percent of those in Japan.
In Egypt, the strategic use of social media platforms has brought new life to campaigns bringing attention to social and political issues. How are platforms like Facebook and blogs amplifying activists' voices and mobilizing Egyptians to the streets? We've put together an update on protest campaigns in the country.