Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Wikileaks: The Bigger Picture

// December 15th, 2010 // 7 Comments » // Technology

I am not a conspiracy theorist. This is not a conspiracy. In this article I would just like to talk about facts. This is not all the facts, because I don’t think anyone has all of the facts. Use your own judgement.

Wikileaks Hour Glass

What is Wikileaks?

WikiLeaks is a non-profit media organization dedicated to bringing important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for independent sources around the world to leak information to our journalists. We publish material of ethical, political and historical significance while keeping the identity of our sources anonymous, thus providing a universal way for the revealing of suppressed and censored injustices. – Wikileaks website

The Problem

For weeks now, there has been more and more press about Wikileaks and “Cablegate” especially the fact that they have been blacklisted by several major companies. Since Wikileaks announced that it was planning to release over two hundred and 50 thousand (>250,000) documents they have experienced the most difficult circumstances the organisation has ever faced. They have been barred or suspended by Amazon, Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, EveryDNS.net and few companies have been willing to do business with them since.

I am not going to get into the politics of it, who is attacking who, or any conspiracy of the sort. I really could write many pages about the Wikileaks case. The point of this article is to show that the battle between Wikileaks, Julian Assange and the US Government is way bigger than releasing secret documents. Let’s go back to 1971, when The New York Times won a Supreme Court case against The U.S. Government allowing it to print classified information:

New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), was a United States Supreme Court per curiam decision. The ruling made it possible for the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers to publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of government censure.

President Richard Nixon had claimed executive authority to force the Times to suspend publication of classified information in its possession. The question before the court was whether the constitutional freedom of the press, guaranteed by the First Amendment, was subordinate to a claimed need of the executive branch of government to maintain the secrecy of information. The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment did protect the right of the New York Times’ to print the materials.

Wikileaks is not based in the U.S. nor does it cater to the U.S. only. My question is, how can a single government take down a website catering to the World?

The internet was designed to be indestructible. The internet however, has exceeded what it was designed for. Since then issues have come up where Governments like China and Australia censor the internet that their citizens can access. To me this goes against civil liberty since the internet is not owned or operated by any one person, government or organisation. However if an elected government decides to censor the internet for their nation for the better well being of it’s citizens, then they have the right to do so (especially for content like child pornography).

What is wrong with the Wikileaks case is that their major service providers (hosting and payment gateway for donations) have ceased working with them. The biggest blow was when everydns.net also ceased providing Domain Name Service which basically erased Wikileaks from the internet. Doing this to any website will cripple it, fortunately Wikileaks is resilient.

When I speak to people about Wikileaks, they have mixed reactions, some say it’s a security risk, others say it just really doesn’t matter. However the fact is, what if Facebook was shut down in the same manner? Not accepting payments, not being found in search engines, their hosts denying traffic? Facebook is now used by 500 Million people and is a huge communication tool. In the same breath I live on the island of Jamaica, could a foreign government deem our internet use illegal and cut our internet connection? What if a major company can lobby a government to block a rival company’s website or service to an entire nation?

We have all become so used to and take for granted the many services provided by the internet. I would go as far as to say that information is the new valuable resource, bigger than any other industry. The scary ting is that it is not renewable, when people don’t get access to information it cannot be used, new things cannot be developed from it, policies cannot be changed because of it. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king, however the internet allows us all to read and type braille.

What will happen

In the coming years, Internet Governance will become a major issue. Currently organisations like Diplo train people and organise workshops to create policies and awareness for a free and open internet. Unfortunately I fear that cases like Wikileaks may re-occur before the necessary international laws are in place to protect online content.

Back in 1999 the first real online media challenge arrived in the form of Napster. Napster was the first popular peer to peer music sharing application and it upset the big record labels, causing it to be the target of many lawsuits which led to its eventual demise. Since then it has led to more sophisticated peer to peer networks, which have resulted in new technology like Bittorrent being created. Bittorrent is virtually impossible to control or limit due to its architecture, many have tried with limited success. In the same way, the censorship of online content will only result in new ways to distribute it. There have been many sites taken down before, even seized.

Already Wikileaks has created opportunity for others, Openleaks.org has been created to share similar content and a new payment service flattr, has since become popular for still supporting the site. This is the type of growth to be expected in the coming years as new opportunites present themselves. The internet is a snowball that seems to have no end.

I hope to continue to enjoy a free and open internet, where I can share content without censorship. -Dmitri

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A Campaign Like No Other – Developing Jamaica through Social Media

// October 10th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Social Media Marketing, Technology, Vision 2030 Campaign

Recently I blogged about a recent discussion about Information Communication and Technology development in Jamaica. I found the discussion so remarkable, that there were so many people who were passionate about the cause. The fact is, just talking about it doesn’t help we need greater awareness and action. The more people who know about the plan, the more people discuss it creating a ripple effect for the cause across society. The aim is to create awareness via social media, have it spread to standard social interactions and media to create change. Once the campaign reaches the decision makers: politicans, business leaders, voters, customers, people can demand and expect change. If people don’t know the possibilities or plans in place how can they be executed? This is way bigger than the government, this is about the way society operates. Society needs to adjust their views to the economy, environment, government, ICT use, media etc. The only reason why people settle for the current state of Jamaica, is because they think they cannot change it. One can change it, when we all work together!

Vision 2030 Campaign

The first stage is to create awareness. This is a call to all the bloggers, twitter users, Facebook users. Share the Vision 2030 campaign online and talk about it with your friends, family and coworkers in person. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, many of your suggestions are already outlined in the National Development Plan prepared by the Planning Institute of Jamaica. You can view the development plan at the following locations:

On this blog: http://dmitridawkins.com/2010/10/jamaicas-vision-2030-national-development-plan/

On Scribd : http://www.scribd.com/doc/39056939/Vision-2030-Jamaica-NDP-Full

On Jamaica’s Vision 2030 website: http://www.vision2030.gov.jm/NationalDevelopmentPlan/tabid/73/Default.aspx

Ask your online social community to at least read the outline, send links to it as an email to all of your address book. The aim is that people can make decisions in accordance with the 2030 plan. This is not just a government venture, as individuals we all need to promote the development of our country. Share the link once a week, or even just once a month. It will help.

Corporate and Organisation Support

Every business and organisation has a core and followers. We need to spread the Vision 2030 plan to all involved, not just creating awareness but also making decisions according to it’s contents. Let employees and members know that they are responsible for executing the plan, that they each need to be a leader of change.

Greater Social Responsibility

As leaders of change for our nation, we need to hold companies and the government responsible for not following the plan. If a company’s business practices are not in line with the plan then support a competitor who is. If a government office or official is making decisions contrary to the plan then petition them, “loud it up”, or don’t re-elect them based on their policies. The only person in control is you.

Remember this is a people driven change, it starts with you, read the relevant sections to you and decide how you can make changes in your home and office. For this to work it has to be an effort from all involved.

I will write another post about this soon, please subscribe to my blog or just keep checking this category : http://dmitridawkins.com/category/making-jamaica-a-developed-country-by-2030/ for information related to the campaign.

This is a call to action for YOU to make a difference.

Thank you,

Dmitri Dawkins and future generations.

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Brands, People and Social Media

// September 27th, 2010 // 3 Comments » // Technology

Facebook Logo

More and more brands are jumping on to Social Media. Overall this has been received very well in Jamaica and the rest of the world. The idea of a brand using Social Media is to be interactive with customers, get better feedback and to be real time As brands log on to the web I think they should also help promote the medium they are using for their new campaigns.

Foursquare Logo

In a developing country like Jamaica or other Caribbean Countries, it is essential to also promote social networks in order to increase the user base. After-all the more people using these social media networks is the larger your user-base to interact with. As more brands come on board the ratio of brands to people will become distorted, making the opt-in nature of social media feel more like advertising. The point of social media is to interact with friends to share content. Brands are supposed to follow this trend by providing content for fans to interact with. By advertising social media more people will sign up, enhancing the networking aspect of social media. The more people use social media is the greater the opportunity for brands to interact with customers, whether existing or prospective.

Twitter Logo

I think brands should develop programs to help increase internet and social media use in Jamaica, thereby increasing literacy and reducing the barrier of computer illiteracy. A person may not be willing to take a computer class, but by using Facebook or Twitter more often they can develop typing and communication skills. Other benefits of increased internet usage are more exposure to world culture, new technology, business opportunities, better English skills and more. I don’t see any negative factors compared to the current trend of education in the majority of Jamaican schools. Exposure is key, let’s get more people exposed in order to help boost business, the economy and education.

Youtube Logo

How can a brand help? Sponsor wifi for a rural community, computers at a local school, computer literacy classes at community centers, help to get more internet kiosks around the island. Brands can also help sponsor free internet access at local restaurants and cafe’s, as well as giving away old internet capable PC’s from the office to staff or members of the public. Additionally we can lobby the Government to make IT mandatory in high schools. This is not an overnight project, it will take years to develop. However the return on investment will be huge, never before has technology been so influential, people will only use it more as time progresses. Let’s not leave Jamaica and the Caribbean behind, let’s get ahead of the curve. Act now.

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#FNOJa Success According To Social Media

// September 13th, 2010 // 5 Comments » // Cool Stuff, Social Media Marketing, Technology

Fashion’s Night Out, a sale event hosted by The Jamaica Observer on September 10, 2010 was a huge conversation piece last week on Twitter. The event which was heavily promoted on Twitter, caused quite a stir as over 1600 tweets were made using the hashtag #FNOJa.

Fashion Night Out Jamaica Metrics

I am not much of a fashion person myself, but on Tuesday I realised the importance of this event since we could use a common hashtag to track the influence of this event on Twitter and across the web. By Wednesday I had already messaged the Jamaica Observer to have them encourage all participants of Fashion’s Night Out to use the #FNOJa in their promotional tweets. I also encouraged friends to use the hashtag and shared it via several twitter accounts. Soon most Fashion’s Night Out related tweets were using the hashtag. I must say thanks to The Jamaica Observer for realising the need to track the hashtag and promoting it so well.


@jamaicaobserver Can everyone please use the #fnoja hashtag so we can establish Jamaican users vs. rest of the world? Thanksless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

So what did we learn from this? There were 1683 tweets about #FNOJa from 416 unique authors. 130 web links were shared in those 1683 tweets from 24 distinct domains. You can see more below:

#fnoja twitter stats

416 unique authors may not seem like alot, but those 416 authors had a potential impact of 152,000 views. Additionally this hashtag was specific to Jamaica, most of those 152,000 views were Jamaican. Additionally these views are better than any flier, because it is buzz, people talking to people about the event, creating greater online presence and awareness directly.

Using Hashtags is an awesome tool to help promote a cause, brand, or for tracking. Hashtags organise data to make it usable and easily found. I personally use hashtags to keep up on news on specific topics such as the #JamaicanBlogger hashtag that Jamaicans use when they release a new blog post, content from that hashtag is also retweeted by @JamaicanBlogger. Tweets using the #Jamaica Hashtag are also aggregated daily for an online newspaper using a platform called Paper.li (Thanks @brukins).

On September 10 we made our mark on Twitter with a truly local hashtag, let’s continue to use them as we organise and comment on more things using social media, to let Jamaica’s presence be known worldwide!

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Facebook, The Next Big Search Engine?

// September 9th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Technology

Recently while searching on Facebook I realised that they now show links that have been shared on Facebook.

Facebook Search Example

Facebook Search Showing shared links

This is interesting since so many websites are now integrated with Facebook Like buttons which shares content on a user’s wall. All Facebook has published correspondence with Facebook outlining that the links shown in the search is only content that friends have liked or shared, not a global list. This is very cutting edge, no other social network has done this before and it could further push Google in their social media efforts. Could Facebook be the next big search engine? After all direct recommendations from friends trumps search engine ranking. However please note the search brought up pages with keywords in the title or URL and not keywords in the content. Never the less Facebook may be on to something here….

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