Sunday, April 18, 2010

Does Privacy Exist in an Online World?

Last week my car was broken into, and of all places, it happened at church! My passenger side window was in a million pieces all over my car, the cement brick was laying sideways on the floor mat and my GPS was stolen out of my glove box. Beyond the deductible, the money for the new GPS, and the hours of vacuuming glass out of my car, what bothered me the most was the feeling of violation. Knowing that somebody took advantage of me and my belongings by altering them without my permission did not sit well with me. I can only imagine the feeling of violation if somebody broke into my home!

So much of our world today takes place outside of the car and the home and takes place inside the virtual world of the intent. Thieves can steel money and electronics, but internet companies can steal personal interests and ideas. The sad thing is many of us don’t even know its happening and we are expected to be the most tech savvy generation of them all. If we don’t have a grip on what the privacy issues are facing our world today, all other generations are doomed!

Let’s talk cookies. Online cookies are little text files created on your computer that contain information left there by the websites you visit. These cookies help internet advertising agencies to study what website you visit, what you purchase, and what your interest are so they can target their adds to your specific demographic. The tricky part is that users have no idea that this transfer of information is even occurring. The privacy issues become even more serious because most organizations engaging in e-commerce have not yet developed policies and codes of conduct to encourage responsible behavior.

Let’s be clear, I am not blaming all privacy issues on large corporations and I don’t feel that they are all entirely responsible for all of the concerns we face today. Google and facebook are two of the largest names on the internet, and two of the largest names on privacy issues.

Google is barely recovering form their run-ins with democracy in China when they were hit with another charge from Italy’s government. Outrage broke out after a video was posted of an autistic teenager cowering as he was attacked by four boys at a school in Turin, Italy. The judge sentenced the three executives to a six-month suspended sentence and absolved them of defamation charges. Google’s lawyers responded by saying it is impossible to regulate the thousands of hours of footage uploaded every day to sites such as Google Video and YouTube.

Facebook has recently changed their privacy guidelines. Your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, friends list, and all the pages you subscribe to are now publicly available information on facebook. This means everyone on the web can see it; it is searchable. Facebook feels that it their obligation to change their privacy standards due to the change in culture. Users are becoming more comfortable sharing more information with more people. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said, “"We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.”

Both of these cases bring up numerous points of interests but there is only so much time. The problem Google is going to face in increasing measures is that everything is seen as offensive to someone, and we are a point in society that makes you pay for freedom. It is impossible to review all data that is uploaded to these sites, and even if it were possible, there would be no data left because it could be considered offensive to somebody. In my opinion, Google has the money and the man power to bite the bullet when charges are brought against them and they should continue to let the people post!

Facebook’s situation gets to the root of online privacy concerns and the future of web control. Less than two years ago, Zuckerberg was internet privacies number one cheerleader saying, "privacy was the vector around which facebook operates." Is facebook changing to meet the needs of culture? Or is culture forced to change to meet the needs of facebook to control the future of the web?

The more information that becomes public, the more that information can be used by other web companies to do what whatever they want with it. The 350 million people that signed up for facebook did so under the assumption that they have control over the amount of privacy they want to have over their page, those 350 million people are now forced to accept the new terms laid out by facebook. It is easy to see the future generation loosing all sense of what privacy is and the important of it. The other side of the coin says that facebook is not forcing you to post anything, or be friends with anyone. It is the person’s responsibly to judge what information they want to share and what information they want to withhold. Is too much of the blame being put on these companies who only provide a domain for people to express themselves?

The problem with privacy is that it can’t be shared. And if it can’t be shared, it limits expression. And limited expression limits the long tail. Internet users are being targeted to ads in which they have already expressed and interests. All my ads may be focused around the things I already enjoy, not new things in which I may come to enjoy. Of all the possibilities that exist in the long tail, I am exposed to the same T.V. show, the same clothing line, the same make-up products, and the same country music. Privacy and democracy are intertwined in the online world. America's ambassador to Italy, David Throne, condemed the Paris coutroom decision saying that freedom of the internet was vital for democracy.In a statement he said: ''This founding principal of internet freedom is vital for democracies which recognise freedom of expression and is safeguarded by all who take this value to heart.”
There is an unlimited amount of possibilities that exist online and the users of the web-world need to be careful and cautious of their freedoms both to express themselves and protect themselves.

Pictures were made possible through google image search and
Websites that were used in the creation of this blog:

The Journey of the Television...Has it Reached a Dead End?

Before we begin, take everything you know about your favorite T.V. you spend many lonely nights with and throw it out the window because there is a new television revolution happening right in front of our eyes. For the past 50 years viewers have been under control of the T.V. and cable companies. Many people plan their days around what is going to be on T.V. They submit to what shows each channel has to offer at certain times on certain days. The viewer interacts with the T.V. by allowing its content to fit into the context of the persons needs. We, as viewers, don’t think too much about this television phenomenon that we experience everyday but it has taught us to be under its control.

Enter in that technological masterpiece of internet and the story begins to change. There is now a new way of getting information and being entertained. As it grows and changes we now have the most important sphere of our lives, the internet. The internet has given us an unlimited amount of data that allows us to interact with it more than a T.V. allows. But, none the less, the computer and the T.V. are two different products with two different purposes…but are they?

The video below describe how sites like Hulu are changing the way television is viewed.

Increasingly, the T.V. is transitioning into the computer screen. With websites like Hulu that provide hundreds of cable network shows for free, viewers are wondering why they pay so much for their cable bill. With cable bills raising, the craziness of peoples schedules, and their computer savvy skills, televisions just get in the way. It is not without its disadvantages. Although sites like Hulu are great, it takes time for the episodes to be uploaded on the site. Due to advertising benefits, most sports and premium channels are not available on any website; even if they were, nobody wants to watch the Super Bowl on a 12” computer screen. Social media can also be a problem when the results from last night’s American Idol or the crazy fight the room mates had on the Real World are viral and word travels fast! The solution to these problems is in the works, the temporary solution is to hook up your laptop to your T.V. In essence, you T.V. acts as a giant monitor that you control with your mouse and key board.

The entire focus of the television industry is changing with the online capabilities. The major networks and cable companies are no longer able to limit the viewer on what they can watch, or what they can produce. It is a two sided coin that benefits both the view and the producer and allows for an unlimited selection of content. Spend a minute thinking about television and the journey it has taken from its creation to the place we are now. There are five “C’s” of the Post Network –Era and many of them overlap but are equally important reasons for while the television is changing.


Past – Since the creation of the television, choice went from one channel, to three, to seven, all the way up to a couple hundred with a satellite dish.
Present – We are seeing an emergence of new and creative viewing options. With an online market, any “show” can be posted and viewed by the masses. It goes beyond the couple hundred via a satellite to a couple thousand via a webpage.
Future – The viewer can determine the who, what, when, where, why and how of their television programming.


Past – There was no remote control because there was only one option. The TV was the one with the control, the viewer had to submit to its authority.
Present – Viewers can choose which shows to watch and which ones to ignore, if they want to watch it live, or on-demand, or DVR it, if they want to watch the commercials or fast forward through them. They can manipulate the shows that are available almost anyway they wish.
Future – Control goes beyond unlimited manipulation of shows that exist to creating the shows that don’t exist. Instead of being forced by cable networks to watch what they have provided, you can search for what you want to watch online and if it doesn’t exist, you can create it!


Past – If you were home and free during the time a TV show was on, you could watch it; otherwise you were out of luck.
Present – The number one convenience booster in today’s market is the DVR. The click of a button is much easier than finding a VCR tape, manually putting in the necessary information and then not being able to watch the TV for the next hour. Sometimes you have to wait for the show to be available online, and if you wait too long they take it off.
Future – Going shopping with you iPad propped on the cart watching “The Office” from a streaming online network as your laptop at home is recording “Lost” without commercials.


Past – Custom television? What is that?
Present – Televisions can do nice things like alert you when your favorite TV show is coming on, give you a show summary, allow you to pause and rewind if you missed anything important, and see your favorite sports teams in high-def.
Future – Viewers want the same search options for their television that they find on the internet. TV’s will have search options for shows and programming that is custom to the viewers specific need. The TV would be replaced by viewer determined content in a customized television experience.


Past – Communities bonded as they discussed the topics or dramas of the hit TV shows.
Present – TV shows have websites, facebook pages, twitter accounts, fan clubs, blogs, and a variety of other online exchange and social media. This creates an opportunity for viewers to participate with the show and with other viewers.
Future – Viewers will participate with television shows in a new way. A family might create a television show about what is happening in their life and out-of-state family and friends can watch their show. TV shows will ask for the input of the views and incorporate the feedback into their next program. Events will be posted, promoted, and broadcasts through social media sites.

This revolution is not taking place alone, the internet has been in the process of changing the world since its creation some 20 years ago. From a customized M&M to a plane ticket across the Atlantic, the internet has its hand in almost every institution, world-wide. The scope of the online world itself has evidence of a long tail. More specifically the long tail can be seen in broadband television by the limitless amount of options that are becoming available to the user. Working along side of that idea is creative commons which provides a way for producers to publish their content so viewers have more specific options. The sheer volume and capability of the internet allows it to be an all encompassing industry of opportunity. It provides an opportunity for the viewer, the producer, the writer, the editor, the actor, and advertiser, the purchaser, the analyst, and the investor to use and share their resources in a way that benefits all parties involved.

Online television can also be used as a tool for democracy. News is a major source of information. News stations from cities and countries all around the world can be accessed through online stations. This allows people to be informed on their special area of interest. Beyond the news, democracy is found in personal interests to advocate change.

Greenovation TV is an excellent example of the push toward a change in democracy that is lacking in the traditional TV network system.

Go. Watch. Live. Don’t let anyone hold you back!

Picturs and videos for post were made possible through google image search, and

Other links that were used in the creation of this blog:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Media Talks: paper v. website

As we all know, especially in Detroit, the news market has changed and shifted to an online market as opposed to the physical market. Opening your door to find your morning newspaper doesn’t happen as much as it used, or doesn’t happen at all! The picture above is now a picutre of the past. Today, many of us see this (picture below)on a daily basis.
Go online and you have an entirely different situation, blogs. Thousands if not millions of blogs are ready for the reading with just a click of a button. These blogs have become the center of what his now called, “citizen journalism”. The power of news information does not exist in the hands of a couple key reporters at hot newspaper companies, the news information exists in the citizens that live it out in their daily lives and now these citizens are starting to write about it.

A hot spot of citizen journalism close to home is Ann Arbor, Michigan. After their over 170 year newspaper empire, the Ann Arbor news closed its doors on publishing last year. Although the collapse of such a strong empire is sad, the tech savvy Ann Arbor citizens are embracing the new possibilities of online newspapers. and have both embraced community involvement through local bloggers. The video below explains the opportunity that Ann Arbor has utilized in more detail.

There exists an amount of controversy on the way news should be handled and if online news is truly the best option. There is no doubt that journalism is changing, the question is if it is for the better or the worse. The pages below outline the pros and cons of citizen journalism and online news.

The idea of the Long Tail is exemplified in the blogger community. The power of information exists in everyone’s hands that have the internet. With the traditional newspaper industry, you had about 3 options, 3 perspectives, and 3 understandings of what happened in your city or community. With blogs and online newspapers, there can be more targeted sites with specific news, and more opinions and inputs on general news. This creates an endless amount of options for the reader.

Obviously, using the internet as a tool for democracy was not something that delivered newspapers could do because it was not thier market. Now, online newspapers and blogs publish and report on hundreds of causes that need support and advocacy. There is some danger in that possibility, because it is easier for them to post facts that aren’t correct or information that is taken out of context. When you are fighting for democracy, you want to make sure you have all the accurate information.

Creative commons was also something that the traditional newspaper did not incorporate because it had no need to. People are beginning to use more creativity in their reporting. That creativity can be shared and/or protected by the discernment of the artist. Creative commons is the perfect tool for those who incorporate and encourage creativity in news and reporting.

In ten years I see the internet and journalism reaching a balance. There will be an unlimited amount of good, quality news. Journalists are now being trained in school on how to write for online newspapers or journals. The ethics and approaches shift somewhat when it comes to online reporting and we will have journalist who are trained and who are experts in doing just that. With introductions of products like the iPad, online reading is going to become more pleasant and acceptable to the common person. Who knows, the pendulum may swing back and there could be thriving traditional newspapers out there. I believe a combination of both is what satisfies the American people, but time will tell.

The websites below were referenced in the writing of this blog
photos made possible by Google Image Searh and Flickr through CC

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Power of Convergence

Digital convergence sounds like a mouth full of confusing technological jargon but its concept is simple. First, take any tool that holds information and make that information digital. Second, take all the tools that hold digital information and put them into one place, one product. More formally digital convergence refers to the convergence of four industries into one conglomerate, ITTCE (Information Technologies, Telecommunication, Consumer Electronics, and Entertainment). It makes itself known today in products like the iPhone.

Apple has gone to the next level with their product capabilities and in their efforts to save journalism, they have created a new product, the iPad. After remaking the business of the music industry and re-inventing the mobile phone, Steve Jobs is up for something new, and journalism has got his attention. The New York Times quoted an internal source: "Steve believes in old media companies and wants them to do well. He believes democracy is hinged on a free press and that depends on there being a professional press."

The hands-on and portable tablet is moving digital products in the right direction. It creates that intimate experience that is often times lacking in today's digital world. The iPad has more features besides being able to view newspaper articles. The list of features is at least 15 deep: photo, iBook, notes, calender, contacts, iPod and much more! It capitalizes on the idea of taking all the little daily necessities of work and personal life and storing them in one place.

Harry Strasser, former CTO of Siemens, had it right when he said, "digital convergence will substantially impact people's lifestyle and work style”. And that it should. These technologies have existed for many years, companies are just now beginning to utilize them in a way that is desirable and marketable. It is the world we live in today and instead of putting up resistance, people need to embrace the change and benefit from it! It will take time to learn the new systems but it will be well worth it in the end.

The tools that are used to create and promote digital convergence products relate to many of the topics we have discussed during this class. The unlimited amount of options that are available on new technologies like the iPad provide an opportunity and host for the unlimited amount of options in music, art, writing, acting and producing. It is a partnership that promotes the individual and their creativity. The interactions that are possible through new media also yields to the law of the long tail. For example, it is possible to post an unlimited amount of facebook updates, without running out of room, money, or memory. These interactions can take a vast amount of time but they do have financial pay-offs. The “Rock of Ages” facebook page has 300 to 600 interactions every week — but facebook is one of the show’s top sources of new ticket sales.

Digital convergence also provides space for creative commons to flourish. With new technology that can accommodate the variety of features that the iPad can, there are more outlets of creative expression. It is becoming easier and more common place to access music, videos, all at one time with the touch of a button or the tap of a finger. The opportunity to access and share the creative work with others can happen 24-7 instead of just a couple hours at work or at home.

Using the internet as a tool for democracy has proved itself to be a successful. The more access a person has to the internet, the more powerful the message will be for them. Digital convergence technology provides that opportunity of being constantly updated and reminded on the issues of democracy.

I found an article that explained the reasons and future of digital convergence better than I ever could. It claimed there were three reasons for the certainly and success of digital convergence
First, bits—the 1s and 0s that computers understand—are incredibly cheap. The cost that is saved on materials, manufacturing, and shipping takes the sale of a book, CD or movie and makes the cost almost non existent
The second major reason why digital convergence is not simply a possibility for the future but a certainty is the quality of digital materials. The difference in sound and image quality is improved with the bandwidth on certain technology.
The third major reason why digital convergence will happen is that technology is rapidly approaching the stage where high-bandwidth transmission of digital information between any two places is possible. Two companies—Teledesic and Motorola—are planning, for the first decade of the twenty-first century, a system of low-orbit satellites that will make wireless global networking available to the entire globe.

In the future, almost every device will be a network device. Some of these devices will be large and immobile, like movie or television screens. Others will be small and portable, like wallets, watches, or cellular phones. All will be hooked up to the global network. Within a few years, breakthroughs in display technology will make extremely high-resolution monitors commonplace. People will be able to carry their computers or even to wear them as clothing and will be able to use these computers, in any place and at any time, to send telephone, mail, video, or fax messages; to do their shopping or banking; or to receive news and entertainment. At home, the telephone, the personal computer, the mail box, newspapers, newsletters, magazines, the tape deck, and the CD player will be replaced by one or more all-purpose devices, and one will be able to interact with these devices using ordinary speech commands.

One place that I see this convergence taking place is in automobiles. Some cars do have GPS devices and wireless communication connections for cell phones. These technologies will continue to be improved upon by providing a pinpoint location of each car on the road. Going beyond capabilities in the car itself, the car would be able to tap into the larger network to turn the sprinklers on, turn the heat off, and turn hallway lights on. A computer in the car would allow you to shop online while you are in traffic or do any form of online baking. With all of these networks converging, it would make it possible for you to run many of your home duties from you car, making traveling less stressful and easier adaptable to everyday life. Who doesn't want that?

Videos and Pictures made possible by Google Image search and under the creative commons licence.

Other sites that I used in the creation of this blog:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Social Media..Social Revolution

If one thing is changing the world as we know it today it’s either President Obama or social media. For the purpose of the assignment I will leave my political beliefs aside on focus on this viral, world-changing phenomenon we have come to know as social media. Communication will never be the same. Facebook found a way to incorporate all areas communication into one site, and one page. All of the applications on facebook could be done the traditional way but it would take more time, more money, and more energy – things that nobody has room to spare these days. I could put together a photo album, bring it to your house, and show it to you. I could mail you an invitation to my party. I could write you a letter, call you on the phone, grow a farm, be part of the mafia, give you a thumbs up, send a gift, wear flare, and make new friends in person, but that has become too time consuming, too expensive and way too much work in today’s culture. Although I see the esteemed value in facebook, I can’t fully support it without addressing that it does have some negative side effects. People are too comfortable with these informal methods of communication that they are losing important interpersonal communication skills. Ok there I said it now we can move on! First, check out the video below...if you know anything about facebook the song will make a lot sense.

I find facebook to be my preferred social media site. I am truly astounded at the options and capabilities that facebook has both for the user and the advertiser. The basic idea, though, is that once you're in Facebook, you'll stay there -- to communicate with people, get information, post photos and videos, play games, maybe even consume music and videos, or shop. With a newly powerful search engine and other tools, users may not want or need to open a new browser to search in Google or Yahoo or go to a Web site for whatever news and information they seek.

Facebook provides advertisers to have an unprecedented amount of control over their targets and their ads. The profiles that all facebook users fill out help advertisers deliver messages to specific demographic slices. As you create an ad, you can add demographic criteria and keywords and see how many Facebook users fall into your target audience and modify it accordingly to get the most bang for your buck. Advertisers can elect to pay per impression or per click, set maximum budgets and schedule the ad to run on specific dates. Two examples I found of this really blew me away!

Chris Meyer a wedding photographer targeted women 22-28 who listed their marital status as engaged. The $300 he spent on his facebook ad has yielded a profit of over $60,000 and three quarters of his clients come to him through facebook. A San Francisco coffee shop can display ads only to local people whose profiles or group affiliations suggest they like coffee. Ads can also be aimed at people based on social exchange, such as a message or status update. “We can help you find customers before they even think about searching for you, “Tim Kendall said. “We’re very, very well positioned to generate demand, based on the fact that we know a tremendous amount about the user.” The reason that facebook and all social media are effective is because it is less about selling and more about interacting. The more the customer or supporter feels connected with the company or organization the more likely they will be to buy or donate. But it doesn’t stop there, social media allows content to be passed on by the audience, and that has real credibility.

Switching gears to another social media that I am beginning to embrace – twitter. The thing that makes twitter unique is that it can reach an unknown audience. Twitter pages are simple and direct with their message; you get a list of all the updates in one location. According to twitip and many other sources there are 5 main benefits to twittering:
1. Research Tool
2. Branding
3. Collaboration and Networking
4. Socialization
5. Direct Traffic

I have a friend, Jared, that had an internship at Henry Ford and he changed my previous negative perspective on twitter to a positive one. At The Henry Ford (Museum, Greenfield Village etc) the Media and Film Relations staff used Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter to inform people of events and exhibits and to engage fans and followers about topics they were interested in. The multimedia content that can be posted on those pages, coupled with the traditional forms of communication provide a well-rounded outreach to audiences of all ages. Sometimes museums have a hard time attracting college-aged visitors, but an intriguing YouTube video or blog post just might be the right thing to help them see the value of history.
So how do I get more followers? Provide engaging content and be interactive. It is not rocket science, it just takes work and thought. One helpful tip Jared gave me to help created interesting posts is to,” follow people who are smarter than you are so you can learn something.” Although there is much value in twitter for businesses and organizations, there is not always a value in twitter. Think before you tweet. Tweeting too many pointles and useless tweets will discredit your profile.

Relating social media to the topics discussed previously adds even more value to its industry. Facebook does not require all users to have a certain amount of friends, or post a certain amount of updates. They do not discriminate against anyone based on income, skill level, education, or popularity. Sure, many celebrities and sports stars have facebook and twitter accounts but the percentage of them are small compared to the rest of the accounts. Social media provides an opportunity for everyone to share their voice and an opportunity for everyone's voice to be heard. These themes correlate strongly with the idea of “The Long Tail” and the power that exists in the “non-hit” world. The freedom that is available for all people to search and find what they truly want, not just what they are given.
Social media also works as a force of democracy. Through group invitations, fan pages, and re-tweets, a message can be shared with millions of people though the click of a button. The internet has created advocacy messages that have become more interactive and engaging, which prompts more people to take action. The action that is taken can be monitored and shared throughout the entire world.
Creative work can be posted and shared with other individuals using social media. A virtual portfolio can be created in your profile. You can post music, art, photography, poetry and any other type of creative work. Through the use of creative commons, that work can be spread across state lines, oceans, languages, and cultures and used in ways you never thought possible!

Links I used in the creation of my blog. Check them out for more info..

Pictures and video:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

cc: sharing breeds creativity

Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof. Individuals both own their copyright ans share it with others.

Although that sounds like a nice idea, copyright issues have dramatic effects on creativity and profit. Law suits and million dollar court cases have proven that point to be true. A professor at University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne does not agree with the legal charges but explains that, “we teach our students that illegally downloading music is a threat to creativity. The work of an artist has monetary value. Being a musician is not a hobby.” A more bull-headed voice to the importance of copyright is Mark Helprin argues that, “copyright is important because it is one of the guarantors of the rights of authorship, and the rights of authorship are important because without them the individual voice would be subsumed in an indistinguishable and instantly malleable mass.”

In his quote he stresses the importance of an individual voice but with rigid copyright laws there are a limited amount of voices that can be heard. Greg Kot — a music critic at The Chicago Tribune since 1990 — contends that peer-to-peer file sharing and CD burning has empowered music consumers, while providing musicians with more “opportunities to be heard.” Creative commons allows there to be more of a voice, more of an impact, and more creativity surrounding music, art, and education. Film makers, artists, musicians, and CEO’s alike all agree on the benefits of creative commons not only for creativity, but also for revolutionary change. Evan Prodromou, a supporter of creative commons said, “I truly believe that within a generation we can open the world’s knowledge to all of its inhabitants and reduce or eliminate the misery caused by lack of access to information, and creative commons is a crucial part of the cultural compact that makes that revolution possible.” Indivual voice is extreamly important but we have been suffering a lack of it. The long tail is a testimonty to the limitless selection that we now have available at our finger tips.

CREATIVE video about creative commons:

Creative commons is being used by some of the most powerful names in today’s culture. To start with the big one, The White House, followed by Yahoo, Google, Best Buy, Wikipedia, Ebay, Flickr and Greenovation TV. Creative commons is not a “wishful idea” that sounds good on paper but would never work, it is an idea that has grown to have support by the middle aged auto worker who plays acoustic guitar is his garage, the top ranked CEO at a Communications Industry from the United States to New Zeeland.

There are understandable reasons for protecting copyright laws and shunning anything that challenges then, like creative commons. Millions of dollars are lost to record companies due to file sharing and internet downloads. This is true for television and educational companies as well. They see things like creative commons as a problem, not as an opportunity. The fact is, this is the future for these industries and it is time for them to deal with it. Charles Nesson, a Harvard law professor illustrates it this way, “If you are selling water in the desert and it starts to rain, what do you do? Go to the government and get them to ban rain, or do you sell something else?”

The following sites provide more information and were used in the creation of this blog:

Photo Credit:
Free to to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work.
Video Credit: Creative Commons alternative to Copyright

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The revolution is in the palm of you hand

The long tail does not just apply to media outlets; it is also becoming one of the most popular outlets for political expression and democracy. The access and flow of information has never been more critical, and in governments where censorship is encouraged, crucial information is being blocked from the public. In China the government put blocks and censorships and search engines and in Iran the government drastically reduces the speed of the internet and interrupts the cell phone signal-different approaches but the same result, limits, limits, limits. These governments are trying to chop off the long tail right were a free flow of information occurs. The problem is that the internet, despite government regulations has a way of pushing the long tail further and further away from the central message.

The video link below provides a summary of the situation in China with Google.

Google has done it all it can do to stand up for freedom of speech in China. It is now up to technologists and policymakers to build the tools and to apply the political, economic and cultural pressure to allow citizens in repressive regimes to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through an uncensored Net and maintain their access to the collective knowledge of humanity that it makes possible.

But is that really possilbe? The thing that China, and all other repressive coutnries have in their favor is the universality and unity of the internet. John Zittleman, a professor at Harvard Law School, explains that language is not longer a barrier of communication. “When the world’s peoples can speak fluently with one another, whether in blog comments, Wikipedia entries, tweets or instant messages, regardless of their native languages, that will be a quantum advance in the circulation of ideas.” Sorry China, good luck stopping the long tail of ideas that you didn’t even know existed.

The people of Iran also have a powerful fight against governmental restrains. According to a status report just updated by the OpenNet Initiative, the Internet censorship system in Iran has become one of the most comprehensive and sophisticated in the world.
As the public uprising over politcal leadership has intensified, so has the government's attempt to control the flow of information. Internet speed is reduced and cellphone service interrupted. Despite their best efforts some Internet users in Iran report having found ways to post to services such as Twitter via proxy servers. California-based Twitter postponed Monday maintenance until Tuesday so it wouldn't disrupt Iranian Twitter users who have managed to bypass blocks. The democracy of tweets has had a world-wide response.

It is not only tweets that are having an impact on the Iranians but also blogs.
The Persian blogosphere has been heralded as one of the largest and most active in the world. The number of active Persian blogs is estimated to be approximately 60,000—a formidable number of independent voices for a country accustomed to tightly controlling the press.
The picture below is a visual representation of the power of blogs in Iran.

Evan Williams from Twitter said boldly, “We are partially blocked in China and other places and we were in Iran as well. The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about.’ Williams said Twitter had an advantage in evading government censors over a singular website as its streams are distributed through a number of outlets, including syndicating sites and mobile applications.”

It that true? What does Twitter have to loose by making statements like that? What can the United States learn from countries like China and Iran about democracy and the sharing of ideas using the internet?

Follow the links I used on in my blog for more information:

Follow the links below for further information:

pictures from:

Thanks for reading..