links for 2011-06-24
In 1848, every country in Europe had a revolution. And they happened very quickly one upon the other. People were riding on horses with broadsides to the next town. It’s not like social contagion is a brand new thing. And I’m not saying that to minimize the significance of the new things, but just to put them into context to appreciate what they enable us to do and what they do not.
'There is a violent uprising happening now here. In the city center of Dakar, in the suburbs and in the provincial areas. A lot of demonstrations and riots are happening,' writes Tidiane KassÃ©, as Senegalese people take to the streets to oppose a new law being discussed in parliament, which would allow a presidential candidate to take power with just 25% of the vote. Meanwhile, as a Yellitaare statement calls on the Senegalese government to ensure the safety of human rights activist Alioune Tine, reports from Dakar suggest that Tine is 'seriously wounded', after being hit on the head by attackers alleged to be the body guards of a minister close to President Abdoulaye Wade.
My hope is that understanding who speaks, who amplifies and who listens will help us address the second question I’m obsessed with: “How do we help marginal and rarely-heard voices find an audience?” While the promise of digital media is that everyone can share their story, we’re a long way from realizing that potential. Projects like Charlie deTar’s Between the Bars, which invites the roughly 1% of Americans who are incarcerated to blog by sending paper letters which are scanned and posted online, or Sasha Costanza-Chock’s VozMob, which allows immigrant and low wage workers to blog from mobile phones, invite us to pay attention to communities we rarely encounter in new or old media. Bringing people into the conversation sometimes requires new tools, like Leo Burd’s VoIPDrupal, which brings the power of Voice over IP — critical to reaching populations who don’t have regular internet access — into the participatory media conversation.