Friday, September 23, 2011

Twitter and the Arab Spring, Twitter and London

This Idealab story reports on a new study that said that Twitter played a pivotal role in the Arab Spring. Well duh. It isn't the whole story, in my opinion, and I wrote a comment:

It's interesting to know about tweets that went out, but I'm curious about prior restraint and times when tweets do *not* go out. What happened with London? According to the Telegraph via Lauren Dugan's article on Mediabistro, Cameron said, "everyone watching these horrific actions will be [struck] by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them."

Suppose for a minute that I and most everyone I know approves of fighting dictatorships, disapproves of censoring the people who fight dictatorships, disapproves of rioting and looting and would maybe condone prior restraint over tweets that facilitate it. What I'd be interested in reading about is how Twitter behaves with ethically ambiguous middle cases. This is a good article and I like reading about how tech and politics and muck *intersect*. However, it irritates me that there is very little analytical coverage anywhere of Twitter as an editorial entity in its own right. They're in the world. Generally a news story that mentions Twitter takes Twitter as a given and the news is that person X tweeted Y.

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