There are two worlds: open and closed. In the closed world, “you can know only what you’re permitted to know.”
China, Turkey, and North Korea are closed worlds. The news is state-run, recast as edited real life.
Meanwhile, open information systems suffer from hack journalism. Excess information confounds true and fake news. Consequently, no one knows what’s going on. They fall prey to an incompetent demagogue that condemns them to “exciting times.”
Both open and closed systems shroud the data, either by default or with intention. Everyone knows everything and nothing; none of it adds up to actuality.
TV is too slow. Facebook’s algorithm takes at least a dozen hours to build up steam. It’s too hard to tell what’s live, archival, owned, and merely sourced on Instagram. Instagram also restricts rebloggability so the best-real time content never goes viral. It’s quite clear that the default tool for breaking and keeping up with news as evidenced Ferguson is Twitter.
Twitter thrives off breaking news. It’s the quickest microphone for people to spread awareness. Protestors in Turkey and Egypt turned to Twitter first to get the word about government corruption. So did the people in Ferguson in complaining about the local police, which appeared to represent the American military more than everyday police officers.
So as much as tech pundits slam Twitter for it’s torpid user growth, it’s still the best way to peek inside the lives of those on the ground. Sometimes the best social media is local.
Social media is good at rallying initial support but poor at sustaining and energizing it. While some of this can be blamed on Internet users’ short-attention spans in the age of digital distraction, most of the capitulation occurs because protective governments turn the social media platforms completely off as Turkey did yesterday in shutting down Twitter.
Social media is the epitome of democracy, a public microphone that enables anyone to say what they want, when they want. Naturally, social media gets noisy, as people abuse it to share useless status updates or scurrilous rumors just to see who’s listening. False information can spread quickly but the truth always seems to ends up on top.
The best that governments can do to protect against social media is let it be rather than trying to control it and generating further opposition. There will always be ways around the great firewalls.
People ultimately decide if a social media rally is worth pursuing. As professor Zeynep Tufekci points out, protests require great leadership and management since the most forceful efforts really have to be mobilized offline.
Twitter is a barometer for testing true democracies. It turns out that some quasi-democracies like Turkey and Russia still prefer censorship.
Internet penetration in Turkey is nearly 50 percent, and it’s even higher within the dominant urban segments of the Turkish society. In fact, Turkey ranks among the top five countries with the highest social media usage.
According to a recent survey of eMarketer, “the country with the top Twitter penetration rate is Turkey, with 31 percent”; it is followed by Japan and Netherlands. There are about 11 million Twitter users in the country in total.
Turkey joins China and Iran to restrict Internet access. Shame.
Every week I compile my favorite reads from across the web. While the articles typically fall into the areas of creativity and life hacks, they also show what’s happening across the world.
Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline. Creativity is a mindset, a desire to problem solve and think different about everyday things. Everyone is creative but not everyone likes to turns on their creativity gene, probably because it involves possibilities rather than absolute certainty. What we know today could be extinct tomorrow. Creativity begets innovation which begets progress.
Life is a game. This is your strategy guide. You won’t go anywhere in life without a lot of focus, willpower, and grit. Today’s technologies disrupt pursuit of the remarkable. Maybe we should do the hardest things first, and last.
‘Don’t get bigger, get weirder’: Things I’ve learnt from 5 years of The Story. Side projects are always fun, a strategy for keeping life personal, challenging, and rewarding. This blog started as a side project. So did my books, my music, and pretty much anything I’ve ever done including sports. But once you start, you can’t stop. Be consistent. You started it for a reason after all.
What Is The Point Of A Website In 2014?. Your website should be your first touch point, simple enough to explain who you are and what you embody. It should aggregate only the fine points, unless of course you’re a retailer with heaps of product, then it should focus on E-commerce. Own your voice. Start by owning the content on your own domain.
Talent Is Persistence: What It Takes To Be An Independent Creative. The best part about the Internet is showing your work as it’s produced; this means showing your shitty rough drafts but also displaying your finished product. People want to be taken along a journey, to see your flaws and corrections. The story is in the work.
Whose Turkey Is It?. I’ve visited Turkey twice in the last two years; sure, some of it is backward but a lot of the people are modern and forward-looking. Prime Minister Erdogan is just a power-hungry politician, looking to grow the country under religious, traditional values. The Gezi Park protestors checked that power last summer. Church and state are separate for a reason. True democracies take more pragmatic approaches over time.
Tim Berners-Lee: we need to re-decentralise the web. The inventor of the World Wide Web criticizes the Balkanization of the web, the tendency for governments to create intranets that allow them to censure Internet activity. China is not the only country controlling what its people see in the web. An Internet for nation-states is antithesis to the democratization of information Berners-Lee created the Internet for.
Gone are the days when we could follow a charismatic leader on an ends-justify-the-means journey toward a clear goal. A person like Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t be able to rally people to realize his great dream today. He would be as desperate for hourly retweets as the rest of us, gathering “likes” from followers on Facebook as a substitute for marching with them. Imagine John F. Kennedy attempting to rally national support for a decade-long race to the moon? The extreme present is not an environment conducive to building lasting movements.
We’ll said but social media is one hell of a mobilizer.
Americans get bored too easily, especially males.
But this tidbit is more interesting:
“On a global scale, social media is rated important (top-2 box) by the highest proportion of respondents in Turkey (64%), Brazil (63%), Indonesia (62%), China (61%) and Saudi Arabia (59%). By comparison, social is important to the smallest proportion of respondents in France (17%) and Japan (24%).”
Social media is more important in emerging countries where the governments shun civil rights.
“If you don’t act, the danger becomes stronger.” – Ai Weiwei
We should go on vacation more often. Here’s why:
1. Break up the Routine
We should go on vacation primarily to relax but we should also go to step away from the monotony of the daily grind. Doing the same thing every day creates a life of boredom and automation. Stepping away allows you to reevaluate the things you do and ask yourself why you do them in the first place.
“Will you live to work or will you work to live?” — Roots Manuva
2. Examine Your Own Language
Take a vacation abroad if you can. By doing so, you’ll challenge yourself to a game of communication. You’ll realize that while English is the world’s language, millions of people still don’t speak it and you may have to use your hands. You also won’t have the luxury of Google Maps since you won’t have a 3G or 4G connection which means you’ll have to ask for directions face to face, with a real map. Google Translate won’t be there to save you either.
3. Embrace Different Cultures
The point of travel is to embrace the local culture and to note the things you like and dislike. You can’t possibly know what you like until you try to discover it all.
4. Escape the Internet
If you travel abroad, you certainly won’t have the luxury of ubiquitous Internet access like you do at home. This is a chance for you to rewire your brain and connect neurons instead of external bytes. You still need to use your own brain to think. You also need to look people in the eye and show emotion.
While going Internet-less can be frustrating at times because you want to instantly share the cool things you capture, it forces you to share only the things that matter. The more content you have to play with, the more you selective you can be in only sharing the worthiest highlights.
5. Enjoy More
You have more time on vacation to do more stuff. You can drink more, sleep more, work out more, read more, learn more, and think more. You can catch up on side projects and explore your intuition. You can free your mind from the stressful restraints of a schedule.
Vacation is a chance to freshen up and reprioritize the work that matters. Most importantly, vacation gives us a chance to live life at random, as we once did when we were kids.
Some random selects from my final days in Turkey.
Images appear from cities in the following order: Kemer, Konya, Aspendos, and Eregli.
On the VSCO Grid.
Photoset: Konya, Turkey
On the VSCO Grid.
Photoset: Olympus, Turkey
On the VSCO Grid.