Monthly Archives: November 2007

Really taking advantage of New Media for Democracy

I just found this in the NYT: several experts discussing how new and old media can be used to improve debates.

I haven’t read all, but two stood out (Teachout’s and Rasiej and Sifry’s) .  They centered and participation, inetractivity,a nd asynchrony of new media.  Like, having candidates provide answers of any length on questions.  Having candidates debate each o ther one v one and leave each hour on a site for public to browse as they like.  Having public vote on questions.  Instead of CNN planting questions.

Bev may want to see this.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, participatory technology, Politics, Power, Activism

Army Social Scientists Calm Afghanistan, Make Enemies at Home

Tanks again to Valdis Krebs for pushing this out to SOCNET.

Army Social Scientists Calm Afghanistan, Make Enemies at Home
Each team is getting a half-dozen laptops, a satellite dish and software for social network analysis, so they can diagram how all of the important players in an area are connected. Digital timelines will mark key cultural and political events. Mapmaking programs will plot out the economic, ethnic and tribal landscape.

I wonder what this history of the US military is in terms of using social scientists.  I remember one of my grad school professors, Steve Nock, talked about how some of the early advance in statistics and social surveys grew out of studies of morale in WWII.  What happened in Viet Nam?  Were their cultural or social scientists there?  Why is the military resistant to this kind of expertise?  Because it may humanize potential enemies?  But don’t effective commanders at the ground level become amateur social scientists anyway?

What are the ethical concerns about using this technology for war making?  I recall the American Psychological Associations’s controversy over the role of psychologists in detainees, interrogation, and torture.  For story, here.  For APA controversy, here.


Filed under ethics, Military, national security, policy, Social Networks, Torture

Social Networks Trendy Again

Thanks to Valdis Krebs for pushing this out over the SOCNET listserv.

Apparently, Social Network Analysis and its every-alluring eye candy graphs are super trendy again.  As only the cognoscenti of Silicon Valley could anoint, of course.   Not that I am complaining too much.  It has been very helpful to me and establishing my unique contributions that networks an network science are seen as got-to-have knowledge.

When Zuckerberg . of Facebook fame, showed off the new open, platform-oriented Facebok, the widget was a social graph producer.

A NEW fad is sweeping across Silicon Valley, causing excitement, confusion and hyperbole not seen since the dotcom bubble. It began in May, when Mark Zuckerberg, ten days after turning 23, took the stage in a San Francisco warehouse and announced that he was opening up Facebook, the social network he founded at Harvard University, to outside programmers. Anyone can now build little programs, or “widgets”, into the network. To illustrate his idea, Mr Zuckerberg projected onto the wall behind him a “social graph”—a pattern of nodes representing Facebook users and the links among them.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Network Visuals, Social Network Sites, Social Networks

Isaeli Army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons

I guess geeks and dorks can’t be trusted with state secrets.   Do they ask them if they read novels, do musical theater, or attend religious services that suppose a mystical and intangible diety with the ability to control weather and make planets?

Army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons – Israel News, Ynetnews
Does the Israel Defense Forces believe incoming recruits and soldiers who play Dungeons and Dragons are unfit for elite units? Ynet has learned that 18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance.

“They’re detached from reality and suscepitble to influence,” the army says.


Filed under Gaming, intelligence-services, Military, policy, Politics, Power, Activism

Research Ideas for My Students

Hello folks. This is by no means a comprehensive set of resources. It more reflects sources that seemed to be of interest to two or more of you AND that I thought might not jump out at you as pertinent. It is a mix of search terms, blogs, or alternative media.

EVERYONE should make an appointment with a Bucknell research librarian.

Mob Mentality

□ See Swarm intelligence as a search term. Also this book and tool.

□ See Smart Mobs as a search term. Also, this site and book.

How context shapes roles

Stanford Prison Experiment

How social network effects company

□ Work by Rob Cross

David Krackhardt

David Obstfeld

How brekatoroughs happen…

□ Blogs: Search them for your topics.






Saddam Hussein and his network

RAND corporation



Experts on torture

A historian of torture

Overview of news on detainees

Financial Bubbles…

Bill Moyers with Kuttner

Interviews with Greenspan

Greespan debate Naomi Klein, a critic (bubbles and feds role comes up)
Fanatic communities


Org theory post

Size of communties

Gore-Tex maker


No logo– a critical assessment of advertising and capitalism.

Viral garden blog



Cobra II

Assassin’s Gate

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Filed under activism, Books, digital culture, economic sociology, higher education, Living Web, management, Marketing, national security, Network Dynamics, Org Design, organization studies, pedagogy, Resistance, Social Networks, Terrorism, Viral Marketing

MySpace falls prey to viral phishing

This is the kind of thing that would make any purveyor of SNS software feel his blood start to boil.  If a vibe of authentic, albeit shallow, connecting and socilaizing is ost, then a SNS will die like so many poorly thought through businesses.  E-toy anyone? – Phishers Infiltrate MySpace With Bogus Macy’s Gift Scheme
Social networking giant MySpace stumbled to its knees at the hands of a cyber superbug recently, falling ill to a severe phishing epidemic that is plaguing a vast and vulnerable segment of its membership, in New York reported Friday.

I have long thought that one of the keys to Facebook’s success was its initial limited availability to those with a .edu domain name in e-mail address.  And the way they grouped people by affiliations.  Spelman college. Check.  Dartmouth.  Check.  Basically Zuckerberg et al leveraged the legitimacy univeristies confer to build their site.  So, myspace should have been very worried about this.  If a SNS is seen as nothing more than a way to get around people’ already very well executed advertisement avoidance strategies, then no matter the quality of content overall, the sense of community will wither and die.

So, Google, myspaces new corporate masters, should be very worried about the barbarian hordes outside their gate.

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Filed under digital culture, Information and Communication Technology, Living Web, Marketing

Viral Marketing and Activism

Forward Track purports to be a tool to use viral amrketing techniques to track and promote online activism.

One of my classes, “The Rise of the Network Society” will look at later this week.  I am using this to better understand this whole viral marketing thing.

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Filed under activism, Marketing, pedagogy, Viral Marketing