by Anka Lee and David Wertime, The Atlantic, March 6, 2013
…In order to craft an appealing diplomatic message that reaches beyond the heights of Chinese bureaucracy, Secretary Kerry must elevate the role of China’s vibrant social media within the mix of American policy-making information. It must, at minimum, lie on equal footing with official meetings, intelligence assessments, “Track 2” dialogues, and academic exchanges. Only then can American officials begin to take a reliable reading of the Chinese public’s temperature on Beijing’s role in the world, China’s relationship with the United States, and Chinese peoples’ conceptions of their own rights and duties as citizens. …
For full text of this article, visit Why John Kerry Must Listen to China’s Social Web – Anka Lee and David Wertime – The Atlantic.
February 27, 2013
The Commons Lab just released a new policy memo analyzing the increased potential of social media to exacerbate conflict situations and create cybersecurity threats – a potential “gamechanger” as the United States seeks to ramp up its cybersecurity efforts. The brief is the first in the program’s Policy Memo Series. Author: Dr. Rebecca Goolsby.
Summary: Social media is responsible for much positive change in the world. But these new tools can be used by bad actors to foment strife and undermine stability, as seen during violent incidents in the Assam state of northeast India in July 2012. Cybersecurity efforts must take into account the growing potential for cyber-attack using social media, where hoax messages are incorporated into a stream of otherwise legitimate messages, and understand how quickly mobile apps and text services can disseminate false information. Authorities and volunteers must develop a healthy skepticism about information derived from these systems and new research and tools are needed to facilitate the self-policing of social media.
To download a copy of the report On Cybersecurity, Crowdsourcing, and Social Cyber-Attack (PDF), go to the Commons Lab Reports Collection on Scribd.
- Using Social Media for Global Security (365.rsaconference.com)
- This Week in Cybersecurity – Headlines & Highlights (impermium.com)
- Obama’s Cybersecurity Action Reaches Too Far (forbes.com)
- Finally, a Step Forward in Cybersecurity (infosecurity-magazine.com)
“… it would be a mistake to “over-learn” the lessons that the Arab revolutions have taught about information, technology, and power. While the information revolution could, in principle, reduce large states’ power and increase that of small states and non-state actors, politics and power are more complex than such technological determinism implies.
In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that computers and new means of communications would create the kind of central governmental control dramatized in George Orwell’s 1984. And, indeed, authoritarian governments in China, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere have used the new technologies to try to control information. Ironically for cyber-utopians, the electronic trails created by social networks like Twitter and Facebook sometimes make the job of the secret police easier.”
For full text of this thought provoking article, please visit The Information Revolution Gets Political by Joseph S. Nye – Project Syndicate.
The Global Social Media Research Symposium on March 23, 2012, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at American University, Washington, DC, will explore current research on the worldwide use of social media for societal reform and cultural-political transformation. The symposium will feature representatives from major technology companies, policy experts, journalists, researchers, and research groups. Panel sessions will be devoted to social media technologies and innovation along with their application across national borders, the role of government in promoting access to these technologies, and recent research findings on social media reform movements worldwide.
The Global Social Media Research Symposium will take place in the new School of International Service building Abramson Family Founders Room on the main campus of American University. Refreshments during session breaks and reception at the conclusion of the Symposium at 5 p.m. are provided. For information, contact Prof. Shalini Venturelli, School of International Service: firstname.lastname@example.org and Jason Smith, Symposium Director: email@example.com.
- Promise and Concern: The Future of Social Media and Real-Time Awareness (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
By Jared Keller, The Atlantic, November 4, 2011
How stable is China? What are people discussing and thinking in Pakistan? To answer these sorts of question, the U.S. government has turned to a rich source: social media. … The intelligence analysts at the [CIA] agency’s Open Source Center, who other agents refer to as “vengeful librarians,” are tasked with sifting through millions of tweets, Facebook messages, online chat logs, and other public data on the World Wide Web to glean insights into the collective moods of regions or groups abroad. …
For full text of this article, visit How The CIA Uses Social Media to Track How People Feel – Jared Keller – Technology – The Atlantic.
John F Moore, Government in the Lab, July 23, 2011
Throwing out President Hosni Mubarak was the easy part. Building a democracy is the hard one. Egypt will have its first post-revolution parliamentary election in September, and political activists are finding new methods to engage voters. These include social media and crowdsourcing tools utilized to raise discussions about the new constitution. Egyptians hope that technology will help them build a better nation.
For full text of the article, via Government In The Lab | Blog | Crowdsourcing Democracy in Egypt.
This is Just a Start
Future historians will long puzzle over how the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in protest over the confiscation of his fruit stand, managed to trigger popular uprisings across the Arab/Muslim world. We know the big causes — tyranny, rising food prices, youth unemployment and social media. But since being in Egypt, I’ve been putting together my own back-of-the-envelope guess list of what I’d call the “not-so-obvious forces” that fed this mass revolt. Here it is: …
For full text of the article, visit This Is Just The Start – NYTimes.com.
Dr. Lea Shanley is the founder and former co-Chair of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a vibrant community of 200 federal employees from more than 35 agencies. She is also a co-founding member of the Citizen Science Association. Dr. Shanley recently served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, where she helped to foster a culture of open innovation. Prior to this, she founded and directed the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, served in the US Senate as a Congressional Science Fellow, and worked with local and tribal communities to develop GIS-based decision support systems for city planning, natural resource management, coastal management, and disaster response through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog of links to relevant news, events, and reports, provided for educational purposes only. The opinions and views contained therein are those only of the authors of the original articles. These opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the editor of this blog or or associated organizations.
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