Monthly Archives: March 2011

In search of the public

A public is an aggregation of individuals and groups behaving to some purpose outside institutional structures.  Thus no company, however large, and no government, however democratic, can constitute a public. The public in a private capacity achieves a social impact.  … Continue reading

Posted in the public | 1 Comment

The New York Times hits a wall

I don’t want to add to the noise surrounding the New York Times’ decision to move most of its content behind a paywall, and charge as much as $455 yearly for access.  The paper tried before to wall off its … Continue reading

Posted in death of news, newspaperss | Leave a comment

Looking for Facebook in the Arab world

The dispute around the political influence of social media is over.  Social media won.  Fused symbiotically with satellite TV, it played and continues to play a decisive part in the Arab uprising.  Maybe these weren’t “Facebook revolutions” – in the … Continue reading

Posted in cataclysm | Leave a comment

Libya the lab rat

If the Middle East has become a huge laboratory of information effects, Libya’s part in the experiment is the most difficult and uncertain:  that of control animal. From the perspective of information flows, Libya resembles Cuba more than Tunisia or … Continue reading

Posted in narratives, web | Leave a comment

Red lines over China

Because authoritarian regimes respect the power of moral persuasion, they invest heavily in trying to impose a master narrative on the population.  Such master narratives come in many variations, but in all of them the rulers play the part of … Continue reading

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The Shirky-Marazov social media dispute turns ugly

An increasingly tedious dispute has sputtered on for months in books and articles over the effects of social media.  This dispute has two sides but three perspectives. Social media optimists believe platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter will have powerful, … Continue reading

Posted in web | 3 Comments

A man on fire: pictures from the revolution

Abdesslem Trimech, a Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire in the provincial town of Monastir to protest the government.  That was March 3, 2010.  Trimech died, mourned no doubt by his family, but otherwise obscure and inconsequential. On December … Continue reading

Posted in visual persuasion | 2 Comments