Clay Shirky on social media and revolution (my SXSW notes)


photo by andjohan on Flickr

For those who couldn’t be there, below are my notes and some audio I recorded of Clay Shirky‘s presentation at this week’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference. Feel free to leave a comment. More SXSW notes to come. (please note: I tried to capture as many points as possible, hence the shorthand and occasional misspelled word. Also, the audio is not the best quality)

Keynote: “Why Would We Think Social Media Is Revolutionary?” by Clay Shirky

Twitter hash tag: #TalkingCure

Soc media tools give ppl the ability to get more things done in shorter time

In 20th century media companies was abt creating and distributing widely

New media allows amateurs to create and distribute and talking back

Access to conversation matters more than access to info

Governments  aren’t afraid of informed ppl, they’re afraid of synchronized movements

Social media allows citizen to synchronize coordinate and document

Gaddafi wasn’t afraid of soccer when he banned it, he was afraid of ppl gathering at stadium

Social media allows generations tools to demand change

Disciplined non-violence movement in Egypt started from Kafia movement

Kafia movement allowed ppl to agree that everyone wants Mubarak out

Movement was years of getting ppl to trust each other so they can unite to get Mubarak out

In the West there’s a tendency to ask if countries are democratic or not

Ppl in middle east are not abt democracy, but abt getting govt to take responsibility

Million signature campaign in Iran was a feminism campaign to push govt responsibility. Campaign for Equality

Jacob Groshek’s (Iowa State) democratic effects of the internet graph

Read Digital origins of dictatorship and democracy by Phil Howard

There r no examples of autocracies becoming more successful after internet and mobile phone uses

The Dictator’s dilema

Someone in Bahrain used Google earth to document presidential luxuries like F1 track in backyard

Bahrain govt tried to stop google earth, and only made it more popular

Era of mobile phone influence is here now

No smartphone needed only SMS

Egyptian govt sent guys with guns to ISPs to shut off internet, only making internet more popular. Dictators dilemma

DDOS attacks don’t have effect on political system

Retweeting open proxies don’t help digital revolutions

They allow govts to pinpoint channels

@JustAmira and @Acarvin are great retweeters

When u ask if govts are upset abt media, not just soc media, u see that it’s yet

Govts don’t want soc media bc they want to stop spread of news

We can all volunteer remotely to help soc media efforts

Pick a country and find user group you can collaborate with

Kenyan crisis mapping tool Ushahidi spawned iHub, a Kenyan meeting place, and influenced UN crisis mapping efforts

If u have tech skills to volunteer with projects, u can help plug holes and see what works

All politics is local

If u want to help Muslims in other countries, help stifle local anti-Muslim radicalism in USA

Ethan Zuckerman (Global Voices) is working on book abt xenophobia

Picipedia is being developed in Egypt to aggregate photos of govt officials

Project was taken down by Flickr/Yahoo

China will suffer not from Tibetans, but from radicalized Han community

Google “china is not the middle east” and see how Chinese govt is worried abt effects

Chinese govt banned “Egypt” word from Ren Ren and QQ  social networks to stop Jasmine revolution talk

Ppl started talking abt “the pharaoh” and “the Nile” instead