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Journal: Egypt, Facebook, and Wisconsin

Journal by Mab_Mass

For the past week, there have been large protests in Madison, WI, and today 60,000 people gathered in the streets. I have been taking part in these protests, and I am starting to really understand how Facebook helped play a role in Egypt's story through how it is helping this story to unfold.

Simply put, every single thing I see on Facebook these past couple of days has been related to the protests. I do not assume that this is typical for the nation, but I am thinking that it is typical for my friends. After all, people tend to associate with other people who share similar values and who live in the same geographic area, which means that a large number of my friends on Facebook are fired up about what's happening as I am.

Almost moment by moment, I am learning about what is events across the wide range of the protest. News of these events is more immediate and comprehensive than I am seeing on any single news source. Instead, what is typical is that I will see first a link to a video on you tube or to an announcement by some political official or some other primary source. Sometimes, a fantastic photo pops up on Facebook itself, sometimes from a surprising source.

Then, perhaps a few hours later, I will start to see the same story linked on a local news website. Then, perhaps even later, I will see the story picked up by a major news outlet.

In other words, thanks to these media, the news is going viral, and small, important details of what is happening are able to be brought to public light much more easily. Because the primary sources of information are shared, the news media has a much easier time to pick up on major events.

Additionally, since all of the news pages are being shared so quickly, the hit rates on these stories are starting to rise. The more and more stories are viewed, they trickle to the top and become listed in the top stories for a given paper, which helps boost the stories high enough to be picked up by a larger news outlet.

In this sense, social media is helping the news makes itself.

Meanwhile, any petition that comes out has a very good chance of going viral. Suddenly, the letter writing campaign becomes a powerful tool to generate a lot of traffic very, very quickly.

These events are all unfolding quickly, and I'm sure that in the next few days, I am going to continue to split my time between the streets and Facebook.

User Journal

Journal: Idle Friends Purge 6

Journal by bill_mcgonigle

I'm removing non-fan friends who haven't posted in two years since I'm at my limit and I use friends to game the scoring system to see more interesting posts.

Any of you who have been discontinued - send me a note if you start posting again and I'd be happy to re-friend you.

User Journal

Journal: The ultimate in military training environments 5

Journal by BWJones

I had checked out... The environment was so complete that for a discrete moment I had completely forgotten that we were still in the continental United States. Perhaps it was the smell of kebabs cooking or the sound of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan playing from the electronics shop that also sold pirated Western DVDs or the afternoon call to prayer coming from the tops of the minarets in the local mosque. It could have been the women selling bread, fruits or flowers by the side of the road or the Arabic men playing backgammon in the cafe with shisha pipes. Toyota trucks or bicycles being repaired in the roadside repair shops under Iraqi flags added to the realism along with a tangle of wires on poles carrying telephone and electricity around town with satellite dishes for television on rooftops were added elements. But the thing that completed it was the sound of Baghdadi Arabic from a gentleman greeting us as we drove through town.

Read all about it here. Medina Wasl with the 3rd Special Forces Group

User Journal

Journal: Sundance New Frontier 2010 and a Banksy sighting

Journal by BWJones

New JonesBlog update. Sundance New Frontier 2010 and a Banksy sighting

I ran up to Park City for the Sundance Festival and to photograph an art installation, the Cloud Mirror by Eric Gradman. The point of the Cloud Mirror is to search out information on the Internet about visitors and merge that information with a real time image of the person on an LCD screen in front of them using computer vision to augment reality. You see yourself reflected back live, in person on the LCD screen in front of you with a thought bubble out of a comic book superimposed next to your head displaying all sorts of information that can be dug up through the Internet. The Cloud Mirror searches Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, IMDB, sex offenders databases and displays activities, relationship status, your favorite movies, books, music, any status updates you post etc...etc...etc... along with snarky comments.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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