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TECH 621 - Reading Reflection - Week 9

Self-organizing is becoming huge these days, just look at Occupy Wall Street. These articles present ideas in which self-organization has been accomplished and what it took to accomplish it. Below I wrote my reflection pertaining to these articles, instead of a summary which I used to do. Hopefully it’s a little better than the past posts.

Here Comes Everyone

Back when I was growing up, early to mid ninety’s, there was a public out cry about all the ill-advised things going on around the Catholic church, most of which related to child molestation. I really didn’t hear anything about it until I was in high school, and I think to myself, why? This article investigates this exact question.

So why didn’t more people know about this. Simple, barriers. How are you going to tell someone? Phone, email, mail, fliers, etc.? In this day and age email was not yet a thing everyone had. Sending fliers through mail was a daunting task involving photocopying and the usual process of mailing information. This was a deterrent for most people so they didn’t even consider doing it because of the time involved.

What happened in the late 90′s, the Internet started to become what it is today. Physical barriers were removed from the equation, making it easy for anyone to share information with one another. Groups protesting the Catholic church were now able to reach members from other parishes, as well as send mass messages, not only to people in the local area, but individuals across the world. So why did they finally get caught and outed, social media and the Internet.

#iranElection: Quantifying Online Activism

Elections and social media is a new thing, even in the USA, but how do foreign countries use it, like Iran? Well apart from the organizing of people and sharing of information, it is unclear of the role Twitter (social media) played in the Iran election. This paper does an in-depth analysis of this, yet comes up short of how it was used. They need to have further inspection to really understand what is going on.

4chan’s Chaos Theory

The age of Facebook, Twitter, Google , and various other social networks are upon us, I’m sure you know. How do you manage your online identity? Well for starters you use your real name probably. Christopher Poole, founder of 4chan, says this is your first mistake. Why tell people who you are? He says Facebook and Google only allow you to be one person online, when in actuality you are a different person according to the context/situation you are in.

Take for example, 4chan, one of the biggest and oddest social networks on the web today. You don’t have to provide your real name to register, instead you get a handle, or something you can identify yourself with. Although most people post as “Anonymous,” others have dedicated names that they even introduce themselves as in the real world. Why would they want to confine themselves to just one person when they actively participate in many different environments?

Online identity is a huge thing today. The top social networking sites are forcing us, the users, to be only one person. Poole stated at a recent conference, that he used to think developers (he was talking to Facebook) set the bar for identity. He later realized that users do, which I completely agree with.

Along with this article comes the removal of physical boundaries. Anonymous, a “hive-mind,” organizes attacks on many sites around the world, Visa and MasterCard to name two. They are able to do this due to the fact that no physical barriers restrict them, so anyone can help with the attack as long as they download a specific application.

The truth about Twitter, Facebook, and the uprisings in the Arab world

Over the past half decade, many uprisings in the Middle East have been taking place, many of which I had no clue about. Arab Spring is what is used to describe these. But how are people organizing and sharing information? Social Media, more specifically Facebook, and in some countries cases Twitter.

I feel like a broken record saying this, but what helped them the most is the removal of physical barriers. Now, people can get information out quickly and with relative ease. Many individuals living in these countries have smart phones, and when asked, “what are you taking pictures of?” they respond with, “Ourselves, Our Revolution, We put it on Facebook. [...] It’s how we tell the world what’s happening.” This is AWESOME, to say the least. Never before has this be able to happen.

I still find it extremely cool how people in Egypt communicated when the government shut down the internet and cell phone network; hand signals. They would detail when and where to meet the next day using them. Incredible.

I find it interesting that people writing this article didn’t initially think social media played a big role in these situation. They finally figured out they are wrong, which is good, as social media is starting to play a huge role in almost every aspect of news and information sharing.

What is Occupy Wall Street? The history of leaderless movements

Occupy Wall Street recently was a trending topic on Twitter, I haven’t checked in a while, but it may still be. They are protesters commenting that they are part of the 99% who will not stand for the greed and corruption of the 1% (referring to the United States population). Protesters have “occupied” Wall Street and don’t look like they will be moving any time soon.

How was this modern-day sit-in started? Who are the leaders? What do they want?

Social media actually started this gathering, regarding organization, and there are no leaders, everyone is a leader. So how does that work out? Decisions are made by everyone. With the technology today there are many, easy ways to collaborate, even without a computer. They are organizing, protesting, and occupying with no one leading the way. This is baffling to me, but I do understand how they are doing it.

As most of these articles share the same overlying topics, Occupy Wall Street is a great example of how the removal of physical barriers helped a cause. Anyone can see what they are doing, anyone can join, anyone can help make decisions, it’s all up to you. What do you want to do?


I am a life-long learner, adventure seeker, and front-end developer for @ExactTarget