The International Journal of Communication has a new study that explores “information flow” during the Arab Spring. In particular, it looks at how Twitter promulgated information from Tunisia and Egypt to and among journalists, activists, mainstream media outlets and other interested parties.
The evolution of what media theorist Jeff Jarvis and others have called “networked journalism” has made the business of news much more chaotic, since it now consists of thousands of voices instead of just a few prominent ones who happen to have the tools to make themselves heard. If there is a growth area in media, it is in the field of “curated news,” where real-time filters like NPR’s Andy Carvin or the BBC’s user-generated-content desk verify and re-distribute the news that comes in from tens of thousands of sources, and use tools like Storify to present a coherent picture of what is happening on the ground.
The study makes the point that mainstream media outlets play a key role in the dissemination of news during such events (and also notes that journalists tend to retweet other journalists more often than they do non-mainstream sources), but it also makes it obvious that prominent bloggers and activists are crucial information conduits as well.
Humanistic Journalism exists! This is the best thing I’ve seen online in a long time, and kind of a dream come true for the online future I’m so sure we can build: An incredible new story-telling tool, Cowbird calls itself a public library of human experience, and it really is. It combines the best social media tools out there into clean, beautiful design to create a new, human, crowd-sourced community.
What can you do?
Document “sagas,” that is, big events going on the world, through collaborative journalism.
Contribute to a public library of simple human stories.
It was developed by a fantastic team including Jonathan Harris. He writes: “We are focused on a slower kind of storytelling than the frantic world of tweets and social networks. We use these tools (they are part of our consciousness now) but we also feel a craving for a longer-lasting kind of self-expression, so we have designed a space for self-reflection and deeper connection — a place for personal stories. Stories allow us to untangle experience, make sense of our lives, and find meaning. They are containers for wisdom and lifeboats for memory — helping us not to forget, and then later, not to be forgotten.”
And why is it called Cowbird? Best explanation ever: “We chose the name Cowbird to express the combined qualities of a cow and a bird. Cows are slow, steady, and grounded, while birds are fast, free, and full of joy. Most of the Internet — including websites like Facebook and Twitter — are all bird and no cow, while more traditional formats like novels and operas are all cow and no bird. Cowbird combines these two extremes to form a new kind of storytelling medium — mixing the slow, deeply rooted, contemplative idea of a cow with the fast, efficient, playful idea of a bird.”
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The Republican Governor’s Association met this week in Florida to give GOP state executives a chance to rejuvenate, strategize and team-build. But during a plenary session on Wednesday, one question kept coming up: How can Republicans do a better job of talking about Occupy Wall Street?
1. Don’t say ‘capitalism.’
2. Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, tell them that the government ‘takes from the rich.’
3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers.
4. Don’t talk about ‘jobs.’ Talk about ‘careers.’
5. Don’t say ‘government spending.’ Call it ‘waste.’
6. Don’t ever say you’re willing to ‘compromise.’
7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: ‘I get it.’
8. Out: ‘Entrepreneur.’ In: ‘Job creator.’
9. Don’t ever ask anyone you want them to ‘sacrifice.’
10. Always blame Washington.
Please click over to Yahoo! to read this article. And throughout the course of the year, I suggest revisiting it to see how Republicans follow through. Great lesson in messaging.