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New study quantifies use of social media in Arab Spring

Opportunities

After analyzing more than 3 million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content and thousands of blog posts, a new study finds that social media played a central role in shaping political debates in the Arab Spring.  Conversations about revolution often preceded major events, and social media has carried inspiring stories of protest across international borders.

Impacts

The Futurist Interviews Net Democracy Expert Evgeny Morozov

The “Twitter Revolution” in Moldova, dissident bloggers in Iran, revolution in Egypt organized by social media—democracy activists around the world use social media to gain supporters and to coordinate action. So, however, do authoritarian governments. Evgeny Morozov, a New America Foundation fellow and the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, spoke with Rick Docksai, a staff editor of THE FUTURIST, about how the Internet can both help and harm global struggles for human rights and political freedom.

Future of media and democracy

Dr Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is a post-doctoral research fellow doing cross-national comparative research on the business of journalism and its role in democracy.
He holds a BA and a MA in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen, a MA (with distinction) in Political Theory from the University of Essex, and a PhD (with distinction) in Communications from Columbia University. His dissertation dealt with political campaigns in the United States.
Most of his research deals with political communication, campaign practices, and media institutions and their ongoing transformations, especially at the intersection between old organizations and new technologies. His broader interests include media participation, civic engagement, and social theory. His research has appeared in several journals, including New Media and Society, Journalism, and the Journal of Information Technology and Politics.
His personal website, with more information about ongoing work, publications, and the like, is http://rasmuskleisnielsen.net/.

Video abstract: 
  • Podcast 1 presents Rasmus's vision on media and democracy in 2050 as well as some considerations on policies in this area
  • Podcast 2 explores the theme of citizen empowerment and discusses how (digital) media is changing the way politicians communicate with people
  • Podcast 3 examines the possibility of greater political accountability as a result of future media developments, and imagines how journalism will evolve 

To listen to this interview, please click on the podcasts on the right of this page. A synthesis report is also available for download below.

Leading Picture: 
Name Interviewee: 
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
Foreword: 
In this interview, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen explores the ways in which a richer, faster and more varied media landscape will affect how citizens use and perceive information. He considers the opportunities for greater empowerment, political accountability and participation, counterbalancing this with the challenge of enabling everyone to keep up with the accelerated and increasingly complex conversations through (digital) media. He concludes by focusing on the journalism industry and on how it will evolve in the future.
Interview Record: 
YouTUBE Screenshot: 
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Rule Without Rulers

Visions

Democracy will be reborn. Instead of tying power to entrenched institutions and established rulers, a culture of participation will flourish a century from today. The future belongs to those who are willing to experiment.

Opportunities

Key to creating a future democracy will be to invent new political and social relationships, annd, perhaps most importantly to create subjects who desire democracy. A strong appetite for politics is essential for any truly democratic self-governance.

Questions

A Bad War Rising

And there will come a time, 
you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, 
but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see 
what you find there,
With grace in your heart 
and flowers in your hair.

 

Mumford And Sons: - After the Storm

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Estonia opens up its e-voting system in push for transparency, security

o Visions
Estonia’s Electronic Voting Committee released the entire source code of its voting server software on open-source platform GitHub — a move that not only gives Estonians a glimpse into the workings of their e-voting system, but that also gives them a chance to help toughen it up from a security perspective.

o Opportunities
Other countries can learn from this example.

Beyond the rhetoric of sprawl: storylines and the discursive construction of the sustainable city

This paper is concerned with the way in which the ideal of the 'sustainable city' is currently spoken and written about in Australia. Using the 2003-2005 Australian Federal Government's House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Heritage's Inquiry into Sustainable Cities as a case study the paper employs a discursive approach to analyse the Inquiry documents. The paper argues that use of the word sprawl has powerful metaphorical importance in sustainable city discourse, suggesting alternative stories about the future of cities.

Civil Society and Cyber Society: The Role of the Internet in Community Associations and Democratic Politics

A healthy civil society has long been held as vital to a healthy democracy and there is interest in whether the Internet affects this linkage. This paper explores the relationships between offline and online modes of associational life and also analyzes offline and online interactions with local governments in the US context. Based on our empirical analyses of 1,203 respondents, we show that online participation is not simply an extension of offline participation, but can be distinguished in important ways.

Shall we vote on values, but bet on beliefs

The author poroposes that speculative markets should be used to steer government policy decisions. If endorsed by the market a proposal would be adopted.

How to Humble a Wing Nut

Sunstein's piece explains academic research using experiments which show that extremist reviews among voters abate when they are invited to explain all aspects of a particular policy. More realistic assessment by voters of their own knowledge of a particular policy area leads to more moderate positions.

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