The biggest barrier to policing social media is language. Based on a draft LIRNEasia white paper on neural language processing. Published in Foreign Policy.
I saw a response to an RTI request from the Department of Meteorology on Twitter and did not adequately check its veracity. As a result, I unfairly described the forecasting capabilities of the Department in at least one occasion at a meeting attended by influential officials and also polluted Twitterspace. I am sorry. Interesting contrast between 50 mm < forecast & actual rainfall https://t.co/zGwl4KOnDl https://t.
We at LIRNEasia have been more interested in the outcomes of new forms of communication, especially by those hitherto excluded, than on the modalities of communication. But that does not mean we’re uninterested. Why we post looks informative. TO SOME, Facebook, Twitter and similar social-media platforms are the acme of communication—better, even, than face-to-face conversations, since more people can be involved. Others think of them more as acne, a rash that fosters narcissism, threatens privacy and reduces intelligent discourse to the exchange of flippant memes.
In a fascinating piece of writing that seamlessly moves between the “real” world of the news and the “real” world of television drama, Maureen Dowd picks up and expands upon, a stray comment from President Obama: The murderous melee that ensues is redolent of President Obama’s provocative remark at a Democratic Party fund-raiser in New York, talking about the alarming aggressions flaring up around the world and alluding to the sulfurous videos of the social-media savvy ISIS fiends beheading American journalists. “If you watch the nightly news,” the president said, “it feels like the world is falling apart.” Trying to reassure Americans who feel frightened and helpless, he posited that “the truth of the matter is that the world has always been messy. In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.” Now this is a fascinating research subject.
The attention economy requires that major investments be made to acquire the attention base and then to monetize it. Although the attention economy has been around at least since 1830, people are still not used to the model. They may be right about the business model – in which case Twitter becomes a perfect case study in the economics of information goods. The key to success in cyberspace is to harness the power of Metcalfe’s Law, which says that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of its users. In layman’s terms this means that the faster you can acquire users the quicker you reach the point of becoming the winner who takes all.
The New York Times carried a story on “big data for development” that featured Global Pulse, the UN initiative seeking to harness the potential of data to address development questions, much like what we are doing in our current research. The efforts by Global Pulse and a growing collection of scientists at universities, companies and nonprofit groups have been given the label “Big Data for development.” It is a field of great opportunity and challenge. The goal, the scientists involved agree, is to bring real-time monitoring and prediction to development and aid programs. Projects and policies, they say, can move faster, adapt to changing circumstances and be more effective, helping to lift more communities out of poverty and even save lives.
Many Americans would have been surprised that Jakarta was the largest contributor of tweets, a city. I was not. It is a large city (10 million), phones with QWERTY interfaces are all the rage, and Bahasa Indonesia uses the Roman characters. What surprised me was Riyadh. It is not an extraordinarily large city (4.
People in Sri Lanka felt the tremors from the April 11, 2012 tsunamigenic earthquake. Reports indicate that, before the Government of Sri Lanka could issue any kind of bulletin, within 10-15 minutes of the tremors, people were receiving tweets of the event. Samarajiva wrote – “Tweets kept flying. I and several others active in social media kept emphasizing that only a “watch” existed, that people should be alert and not do anything for now”; see full article in LBO. However, does twitter reach all Sri Lankans?
It seems like overkill when there are only 50 subscribers to Twitter in the whole country, but the Cameroon President seems ultra insecure. He should be, perhaps. He has been in the same job since 1982, a West African Ben Ali. And predictably, the Minister of Communication has equated the President’s security with that of the Nation. What next?
Did China shut down the telecom system during the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989? There was no Internet to shut down back then. This time around, they seem to be adopting a gradualist response, according to NYT: The words “Jasmine Revolution,” borrowed from the successful Tunisian revolt, were blocked on sites similar to Twitter and on Internet search engines, while cellphone users were unable to send out text messages to multiple recipients. A heavy police presence was reported in several Chinese cities. In recent days, more than a dozen lawyers and rights activists have been rounded up, and more than 80 dissidents have reportedly been placed under varying forms of house arrest.
Looks like it’s not enough to shut down the Internet. You got to shut down all the mobile networks too. Unedited, raw, anonymous and emotional, Egyptian voices are trickling out through a new service that evades attempts by the authorities to suppress them by cutting Internet services. There is still some cellphone service, so a new social-media link that marries Google, Twitter and SayNow, a voice-based social media platform, gives Egyptians three phone numbers to call and leave a message, which is then posted on the Internet as a recorded Twitter message. The messages are at twitter.
You meet new people. You add them in facebook. You chat with them, tag them in pictures, comment on their status updates and share information. Some of us even have our twitter account in our business card. So people may follow you and you may follow anyone whom you think is interesting and/or is informative.
Internet brings people closer, gives more opportunities and it is a sea, with different kinds of fish. Indi Samarajiva wrote in The Sunday Leader, about few Sri Lankans making a living, without actually going to a conventional office. But simply login in to internet to use Twitter, Skype, Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and so on and make a living, as well as LIVE it. Indi introduces Fahim Farook, Navin Weeraratne and Monalee Suranimala, as tech savvy fishermen in this different kind of sea. All of these characters launch their metaphorical boats from the island of Sri Lanka, off the southern coast of India, recently emerged from years of war but blessed with many English speaking, IT literate people, functional Internet infrastructure and a low cost of living.
An assumption underlying our work is that ICTs are good, at least that the choice being available is good. We are therefore not inclined to side with Nicholas Carr in the Internet versus debate. But we like evidence and think the debate is a worthwhile one to have. A favorite columnist weighs in: Recently, Internet mavens got some bad news. Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd of Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy examined computer use among a half-million 5th through 8th graders in North Carolina.
One of the things I always have to pause and explain when talking about our Teleuse@BOP work is why 100% of Filipinos at the BOP use SMS and some never use the mobiles to make a call. Now we find the Americans are beginning to emulate the Pinoys. Liza Colburn uses her cellphone constantly. She taps out her grocery lists, records voice memos, listens to music at the gym, tracks her caloric intake and posts frequent updates to her Twitter and Facebook accounts. The one thing she doesn’t use her cellphone for?
“Press control has really moved to the center of the agenda,” said David Bandurski, an analyst at the China Media Project of the University of Hong Kong. “The Internet is the decisive factor there. It’s the medium that is changing the game in press control, and the party leaders know this.” Today, China censors everything from the traditional print press to domestic and foreign Internet sites; from cellphone text messages to social networking services; from online chat rooms to blogs, films and e-mail. It even censors online games.