The following was originally published at http://www.el-oso.net and is part of a series of posts commemorating Global Voices’ fifth anniversary and supporting of Global Voices’ 2009-10 online fundraising campaign. If you would like to support our work, please visit our Donate page. Thank you!
Five years ago I boarded a flight from San Diego to Boston to attend the 2004 Internet & Society conference at the Berkman Center. This was just a month after George Bush won the 2004 election and so there was an element of group therapy to many of the panel discussions. 2004 was the year when, according to Wired Magazine, the Internet invented Howard Dean. Dean’s campaign was supposed to be the harbinger of a new era of net politics where the progressive grassroots took advantage of online tools like blogs and Meetup.com (this was before YouTube even existed) to bring about more enlightened, representative governance. Instead, according to the ever-snarky Register, “organized religion, not net religion, won it for Bush.”
My Global Voices colleagues have been taking time at the end this year to reflect on the past five years of our joint project. I’ve been rather busy with another joint project, my new son Drew, who is a month old today, and haven’t been particularly reflective. (Moments for reflection are generally spent asleep these days.)
Talking with an old friend today gave me the opportunity to step back and reflect a bit. My friend works for a foundation that supports social entrepreneurs and he’s interested in ways that the projects he’s supporting could work together. How could a set of cool, worthwhile organizations supported financially by the same funder somehow become a coherent movement, working together and learning from each other?
One of the best uses of Facebook is to catch your cheating spouse! According to one law firm, over 20 percent of new divorce petitions contain references to Facebook. Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said “The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.” While I’m not sure how people get caught having inappropriate private chats with others, the technical details were not described by the law firm.
from Mashable! by Mark Ghuneim
A parent learns to blog on East Lothian’s eduBuzz blogging-for-learning platform, alongside her daughter at Humbie Primary School. Pic: David Gilmour
Today, in a world of social networks young people have never written or read so much. And now, a new more robust survey in the UK shows conclusively that social networking, blogging and generally publishing writing online does improve students’ attitudes to writing by about a sixth. I’d add that, in the hands of a good teacher’s structured approach, the quality of that writing itself should be seen to improve, too.
Moroccan blogger Bashir Hazzam was arrested on December 7th after taking part in a student protest and posting about it on his blog. The Free Bashir site is up now at www.freebashir.org. These types of sites are getting more and more sophisticated.
I’ve been blogging a little about a huge question: the Internet and global cultural diversity. I’m thinking one possible route into this mingbogglingly complex issue could be a comparative study of Internet practices in different national cultures. I realise this notion of ‘national cultures’ is dubious, but for now I can think of no better term to refer to the unique web of cultural practices that we find in sovereign (and quasi-sovereign) states such as Brazil, East Timor, Taiwan, China, Madagascar, Canada or Spain.
Beyond talking about how fast it was growing, one of the hottest topics surrounding Twitter in 2009 was “how does it make money?” Perhaps that was the wrong question to be asking, though, because as it turns out, Twitter already makes money.
According to Bloomberg, the microblogging service will make a small profit this year off of $25 million in revenue, thanks to the search deals it completed with Google and Microsoft, which were reportedly worth $15 and $10 million, respectively. Those deals pay Twitter for access to tweets that are in turn included in real-time search results on each property.
Last week I sent an email to Googlers about the meaning of “open” as it relates to the Internet, Google, and our users. In the spirit of openness, I thought it would be appropriate to share these thoughts with those outside of Google as well.
At Google we believe that open systems win. They lead to more innovation, value, and freedom of choice for consumers, and a vibrant, profitable, and competitive ecosystem for businesses. Many companies will claim roughly the same thing since they know that declaring themselves to be open is both good for their brand and completely without risk. After all, in our industry there is no clear definition of what open really means. It is a Rashomon-like term: highly subjective and vitally important.