The revolution was televised, you were just watching the wrong channel.

One of the reasons I decided to post about this was this article on TechCrunch: The #Tunisian Revolution Wasn’t Televized, But You Could Follow It On Twitter

The first tweet that show’s up on the page is really the point behind this post.

The revolution was televised, you were just watching the wrong channel.

There is a lot to say about the role Social Media played in this, I do think that a lot of people seem to be missing the point on what exactly Social Media can and does do in shaping events. Think back to the Iran Elections and how the lack of context really sent many main stream media organisations down the wrong path on how to cover an event using stories from social networks. If my memory serves me correctly, at one point during the IranElections we had over 250,000 tweets using the tag #iranelections – I wonder how many tweets came out about #sidibouzid?

In Tunisia, it was not about mobilising people through Social Media, it was about broadcasting what was going on to those who chose to listen. Without the tweets, facebook posts or YouTube videos we would not have known about the initial protests… or would we? Only once mainstream media picks up on a story and decides what importance it should have, do people really notice what is going on (Iran Elecations case in point). Tunisia has been developing for the past 29 days – but only now do people seem to really notice it, once they’ve seen the news on their local television station. People still turn to mainstream media to get their information. The challenge is in what mainstream media would consider to be important news… The techcrunch article has a couple of other good tweets discussing what other media organisations in the US were talking about during the events earlier in Tunisia.

Evgeny Morozov has a great post on the this topic and it is well worth a read.

If you only found out about the events in Tunisa in the past 24hours, perhaps its time for you reconsider who you get your news from? A good start would be to check out the amazing coverage our web team has been working on since the events started almost a month ago over here.

And if you dont want to miss the next big story because your twitter trends didn’t tell you about it, you may want to set Al Jazeera as your homepage, or follow us on twitter or follow us on facebook.


#media140 Sydney – Presentation

My presentation at #media140 in Sydney – Al Jazeera’s online coverage of the #gaza war… which also earned me a pretty cool blog post from the guys at the conference:

You can watch the case study on #Gaza here: (I’ll post a direct shorter link once its online)

The session I presented on Iran can be watched here.

You can also find my comments regarding the importance of context in #iranelection here.

Congrats to the media140 team for putting on a great show.

Collaborative Education

Over the past few months I’ve been having discussions with a couple of people in the education field. The concept of “open education” came up and seemed to be great idea that could allow institutions, teachers, pupils and the community to share and start discussing their thoughts & challenges. The concept was to allow schools to use online tools (possible wiki concept) as a means to start sharing their syllabi and best practices. The natural challenge is to first get a school to buy into the concept… I was successful in convincing two principals in South Africa to buy into it, unfortunately my trip to SA came to end prior to having a chance to actually implement the idea. I’ve now got some friends on board, hopefully they can take it over and run with it… I’m sure this is already happening elsewhere in the world- need to do some serious research to find success cases…

A friend forwarded this link through to me, the “Social Media Classroom” – I haven’t had a chance to go through it in much detail, but the concept is fantastic. Seems like something def. worth having a play around with… Technology is always just a tool for us, and if used correctly it can really bring about constructive change.

The Social Media Classroom (we’ll call it SMC) includes a free and open-source (Drupal-based) web service that provides teachers and learners with an integrated set of social media that each course can use for its own purposes—integrated forum, blog, comment, wiki, chat, social bookmarking, RSS, microblogging, widgets , and video commenting are the first set of tools. The Classroom also includes curricular material: syllabi, lesson plans, resource repositories, screencasts and videos.