One year after the Arab Spring, protestors in Syria are uploading videos and images of the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown of the opposition. The use of new technologies to spread messages and unify resistance against authoritarian regimes is by now familiar. Five centuries before demonstrators tweeted from public squares in the middle-east, an obscure minister and theologian named Martin Luther exploited the social media of his time to challenge entrenched power. We know, at least, how that revolution fared.
As comedian John Fugelsang recalls, all in life was dandy until one fateful day, at age 6, he noticed an odd motif in some photos: "In every family picture ... my mother was wearing a habit."
Last August, he tweeted his parents' unusual love story — with photos — on the first anniversary of his father's death. In a series of blurbs 140 characters or less, he tells it better than I ever could:
This satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, taken in 2010, shows the Yongbyon nuclear complex in North Korea. The Institute for Science and International Security monitors satellite images for updates to nuclear facilities.
Credit DigtialGlobe / AP
New START negotiator Rose Gottemoeller speaks to reporters in 2010 in Washington, D.C. The acting undersecretary of state for arms control is looking into ways social media tools can help regulate nuclear weapons.
Credit Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images
This satellite image of Sudan was made available by the Satellite Sentinel Project in 2011. It appears to be a mass grave, offering the first aerial photographs from a conflict zone that outside observers can't access.
Here are two things you don't often hear mentioned in the same sentence: social media and nuclear weapons.
Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state for arms control, quickly links those two unlikely partners in conversation. She's behind a campaign to discover how new communications tools can help rid the world of some of the dangers of nuclear weapons.
Crowdsourcing Nuclear Problems
Gottemoeller is an avid user of Twitter, and it made her wonder how Twitter and other methods of crowdsourcing a problem can help her in her work.
When a company files to go public it has to lay out in black and white the biggest risks that face the firm. What could kill it? What could undermine its business? Wipe out all its investors' money? Executives are required to reveal this by law.
If you're sitting on the couch alone watching an event like the State of the Union, you can feel less alone if you follow its hashtag on Twitter, a lot less alone. It’s your choice, really, whether you want to join the conversation, and I (as Word of Mouth) didn’t necessarily plan to last night, but it can be kind of hard not to tweet about what we might say if we were on the air at that moment.
NHPR’s resident web trawler and afternoon host Brady Carlson is here plays Nostradamus for our Word of Mouth Futurama Edition, making some educated guesses as to where the social media explosion that’s figured so profoundly in our public and private lives in recent years will go going next.
The latest attempt to predict the future: scientists use digital data from Twitter, traffic webcams, and bazillion other places to create a model that can foresee epidemics, social upheaval, and more. That' the theory anyway. Much like the weather, you can't always count on the forecast. Sharon Weinberger writes for Nature. She tell us more about the project.
What makes someone a true friend? We use the term friend in so many different ways to refer to so many different kinds of relationships and people: we friend hundreds of people on Facebook; spouses, children, parents are all supposed to be our friends now; we have bffs, friends with benefits, and frenemies. On the one hand, when we use the term so widely we risk emptying it of all meaning. On the other hand, we use it so widely because we value friendship so highly. How can we cut through all the confusion and find our real friends? What does genuine friendship entail? Can we foster g