Scooter Reflections on Social Media Plus – the Sequel

June 17, 2009 Leave a comment

First things first! We learned last night that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved the nominations of Bonnie Jenkins as State Department Coordinator of Threat Reduction Programs (an Ambassador level position) and Eric Schwartz as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration. IISC has worked closely with both Bonnie (currently at the Ford Foundation) and Eric (currently at Connect US) for a number of years and send our congratulations! Both are highly qualified and deeply connected to the community of nonprofits working on foreign policy and peace and security. Very good news. Now, onto the full Senate for confirmation!

As for reflections on social media, there’s a new Clay Shirky TED video describing the shifts based on the new forms of media – the ways that new media allows for a whole new many-to-many communication. He gives examples of the ways the Chinese government has tried to maintain control (in new ways). He also talks about the Obama campaign demonstrating a new way of operating – encouraging and allowing for participation on its website even when the views and organizing were going against Obama’s position. Take a look:

As those on the twittersphere know, the last week has been another wild week on Twitter. For those following the tweets about the election in Iran, some hashtags were easily getting 30-40 new tweets per second! While there were reports that the government had shut down many other forms of communication, they hadn’t shut down Twitter – the posts describing what was going on were flying (and being re-tweeted) at an amazing rate. The news was getting out to the whole world. There were also global strategies going on where people were being asked to change the timezone on their twitter accounts to provide more cover for the Iranians who were posting. Will it make a difference in the elections? We don’t know. But it will have an impact. Clay Shirky describes that,

“The Ahmadinejad supporters are going to use the fact of English-speaking and American participation to try to damn the dissidents. But whatever happens from here, the dissidents have seen that large numbers of American people, supposedly part of “the Great Satan,” are actually supporters. Someone tweeted from Tehran today that “the American media may not care, but the American people do.” That’s a sea change.”

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