Tag Archive | "facebook"



From David Anthony Hohol…

Social networking tools as they exist today are changing how we think, work, learn and live. As during the last great split from the normative causalities of daily life illustrated during the Industrial Revolution, the entire template for daily living has been scrapped and replaced with a newly forming organic prototype. What is happening today is just the beginning of the new standard that will lead to ways of discovering and interacting with both information and each other in ways never imagined. The fading boundaries of our suddenly very outdated past lives means we are re-writing social rules.  In other words, many of the norms and mores that once were – simply no longer apply.

Supporters look on with excitement, as we are no longer limited to or rely upon people in our neighborhood or the workplace to provide the interaction we crave. Some argue that we have shifted from the role of passive consumer to active participant, getting our news and information by which we establish our morals and social guidelines through a network of our creation. What information we chose to forward to others, the individual super structure for living we acquire, process and re-construct in our own image, tells others about just who we are. Most importantly, the long-reaching facilities to amplify these images, ideals and values has never been allotted to us before. By extension, we are more literate, more engaged and more connected than at any other point in human history.  Above all else, we are more open to generating new relationships, and more aware of the world around us.

Skeptics abound as well. Many describe social networking and dwindling our attention spans to almost zero, as well as drastically eroding our very identities. Some attribute the social networking template to fleeting relationships and a dehumanized sense of community, as our ability to empathize and communicate with our fellow human beings in the non-virtual world quickly becomes an endangered ability. Social skills in general are being damaged beyond repair and people no longer have the ability to simply speak with one another, and share life experiences in way that does not include a blog, a wall, or a 130-character blurb. In short, we are losing the depth of our humanity, our souls a mile wide and an inch deep, shallow and without profundity.

Regardless of one’s stance on social networking, the debate over whether we are being changed for the better or worse is a moot point. It is here and it is shaping our lives. Whether willing or not, we are all participants in quantum shift in human existence the likes of which happens every few hundred years.  Understanding its effects, positive or negative, is all we can attempt to do.

The rest is simply beyond our means of control.


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The Perils of Facebook


From Bangladesh Corespondent Rezwan…

Facebook is becoming a popular social media in Bangladesh like the rest of the world. It is not only limited to interaction between friends but also used as an useful tool to disseminate news and information. More importantly Facebook is also being used to discuss political views.

Bangladeshi Facebook users frequently express their opinions, anger, rights, likes and dislikes and some of them are filled with emotions. Once someone posted this status in a Facebook wall which became viral: “I may be poor, but I have a Status”. Now this slogan also has a separate Facebook page.

But sometime your Facebook status can bring peril. Ruhul Amin recently has been in trouble because of his Facebook status. The recent death of prodigies Tareq Masud and Ashfaque Munier in a road accident has lead many users venting their reactions and anger in Facebook. Ruhul also expressed his strong reactions which led to actions against him as initiated by the Bangladesh High Court.
What was Ruhul’s status? BDNews24blog [bn] quotes from the web news network BDNEWS24.com:

The Highcourt has asked why Ruhul Amin Khondker, a teacher living abroad, won’t be brought to justice because he expressed that the Prime Minister should die.

The blog informs:

Ruhul, a lecturer of The Institute of Information Technology of Jahangirnagar University is now on a study leave in Australia. Ruhul had posted a Facebook status where he expressed “why the prime minister do not die”. This was prompted by the reaction to the death of five persons including internationally renowned filmmaker Tareq Masud and the CEO of the TV channel ATN News Ashfaq (Mishuk) Munier in a road accident near Manikganj. A local newspaper carried the story on the Facebook status of the teacher. The court learned the news and took a Suo motu action.

Mr. Ruhul posted two statuses on his wall. He wrote on Saturday 7.40 pm: “the consequence of issuing driving license without written exam – five dead including Tareque and Mishuk Munier. Everybody dies except the prime minister”. Another status on Sunday morning at 4:59 am read: “Driving License without written exam? Can you imagine this in any civilized society? Where the whole world is becoming strict on issuing driving license, the Hasina government is issuing license without examination.”

The main anger behind the status is the reaction to the news [bn] that the Shipping Minister had requested the Roads and Highways Minister that 21000 applicants (some claim 24000 people) should be provided [bn] driving license without completing all the tests (since many are not literate enough).

The post at BDNews24blog attracted many comments [bn]. Some supported Ruhul and some had other ideas.

Rabbani said:

I also support Ruhul’s status and term the rule of the highcourt as a misuse of power and rule of law and it is agaisnt the human rights of common people. Ruhul with his words has protested against the negligence of the political leaders about the 12000 deaths on the road each year.

Mohammad Morshed Alam thinks this law is a blow to the freedom of speech. He comments:

Isn’t attack on freedom of speech against democracy? Hasn’t this weakened the trust on our judicial system? Dear judges – please refrain from taking away the hast hope of the citizens. (Friday the 19th of August)

Mohsin Rahman says:

The teacher commented from his personal anger which in fact reflects many citizen’s thoughts. What the teacher couldn’t do was achieved by those judges. The issue has been highlighted and publicized by the media. (Friday the 19th of August)

Hasan says:

I fear to comment on this, if accusations against me are brought for contempt of court! 😛 (Friday the 19th of August)

Ratan Adhikary says these comments are out of line. He says:

This is way out of line. What Part-time lecturer Muhammad Ruhul Amin Khondoker said cannot be supported in any way. We hope Mr. Ruhul and his supporters become aware of their behavior. (Friday the 19th of August)

Netpoka says:

This type of comment is very indecent. But on what basis is this against the law, can anyone tell? (Friday the 19th of August)

Anik Iqbal is a blogger. He posted in a group mail of the students of Jahangir Nagar University (published with permission):

I am interested to see whether government can really strongly build the case and justify their argument. but if they decide to go for it, a lot will be at stake. the government’s character as the protector of its citizens’ personal rights will be in question. again, their attitude might be termed as oppression and silencing people’s opinions by force. whether or not they win the case, chances are that it will damage their image, which is already in jeopardy.

Ruhul Amin gave an interview via email to Bangla News [bn] where he provided the context of his statements:

Dear brothers and sisters:

I should not reiterate what we have lost in the tragic death of Tareq Masud and Mishuk Munier. The day they died I was reading online versions of Bangladeshi newspapers. I also tried to find other news items on this. I was moved by the hundreds of comments left on those news items. I was so full of emotion, I compiled some of the quotes and posted in my status.

He added:

I say without any hesitation that I do not have any personal grudge against the Prime Minister and do not pose any threat against her by my status in any manner. I just wanted to share with my friends the reactions of common people on that road accident. So by terming this statement as completely my own statement is against the truth. I have trust on my Prime Minister, especially as a teacher of an independent university. Moreover, if that status hurt others feeling I am truly sorry for that.

Ruhul ends with this:

The misinterpretation of the status has lead to unwanted consequences. I hope the unfortunate matter will end here.

Anik conludes:

I am keenly following the developments. this case, at the least, will decide the future of the flourishing of electronic media and define people’s right to share their opinions over this very modern and powerful medium.


This post was originally written in Bangla by Bijoy in GV Bangla.


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Unblocking The Future


From James O’Hearn…

There’s a well known eLearning advocate I follow, named Scott McLeod (no relation to the comic book scholar…as far as I know!) who writes a blog called Dangerously Irrelevant. Scott has spoken at Tedx conferences, and regularly presents on eLearning related topics, and one of his main pet peeves, that I have noticed, is the tendency of administrators to try to restrict and block access to technologies and services they see as disruptive, like Facebook, or You Tube.

Today he put up a post expressing his sense of frustration with this sort of of behaviour.

Yesterday it was Facebook. Today it’s YouTube. Here’s an email exchange between two district technology coordinators…

TC1: I have recently completely blocked youtube in our network. Does everyone block youtube? As soon as I blocked it, teachers started complaining. What other websites can they go to that will serve the same purpose as youtube?

TC2: It is blocked here as well!!! I know there is some good to it BUT it is my responsibility to monitor, block, etc. I do not have time to monitor students all day long every day of every week. We have a product called LanSchool and it is awesome. You can view every student that is logged on at any given time and can take over their computer and shut it down as well BUT I cannot do that every day all day long. The teachers have the same capable to monitor as well BUT they are hired to teach. I will not take the responsibility for what they CAN GET IN TO THAT THEY DO NOT NEED TO!!!

It is very disheartening to read this stuff. The federal government is not asking us to do these sorts of things. So we could trust our teaching staff (and – gasp! – our students) but instead we resort to draconian measures that penalize everyone for the potential actions of a few. As I said three years ago, we need to view school organizations like these as ones that are desperately and inappropriately blocking the future

While normally I agree with a lot of what McLeod says, I found my demurring today, and posted this comment in response (I couldn’t embed links in my response on his blog, but I have adde them below).

The school system I work for in Dubai also has this restriction, primarily for socio-cultural reasons. Personally, however, I don’t mind this restriction, because it doesn’t affect my ability to bring streaming video into the classroom. Administrators and IT departments are going to want to restrict access to technologies and services that they feel pose a possible liability risk. It’s just their nature. My view is, instead of railing against that, it is better to find another way to accomplish your objectives.  

Where I work, we created a linked system of blogs using Google’s Blogger platform. And while Blogger is sure to be seen as a bit boring and old fashioned by some, I see it as being like the Ford F-150 of blogging services – a dependable tool that is surprisingly flexible, and comes with an amazing support network.  

First, when we want to use video in the classroom, we will embed video in a post that contains all the elements of the lesson instruction, practice activities, and an assessment. That one post is then used by all the teachers in the same grade and subject for that specific lesson. (Shares the load, promotes equality of instruction).  

Since the nature of blogs is dynamic, and not all students or staff have the patience or the knowhow to poke into the blog archive, we also create static pages where videos are collected and embedded, and create links to those pages at the top of a blog.  

This system has proven really versatile and useful for all our stakeholders. There’s a place for student podcasts which includes student made tech help videos, a place for eLearning resources for staff, and the system is simple enough that even the most tech averse teachers can grasp the basics of how to use it, and in a short time feel comfortable enough to use it in their everyday teaching practice.


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Making Love Feared – Disturbing Undertows Of The Norway Massacre


From Dr. Kazi Kearse…

The recent massacre in Norway has exposed something for me that is even more vile and atrocious then the atrocities of the innocent blood spilt that day. It’s become clear to me that what is happening to us, as a planet is that we are being walked down a dark path. We are being told there is light at the end of the tunnel, by those in power, but it is really a dead end. At the end of that road there is a really bad man, with really bad intentions for us. We are being lied to, and told that up is down, and down is up. By making love feared, they hope we will lose our way, and all sight of the light…


Many of you will remember a time when most things seemed right in the world? They weren’t, but the evil or darkness, always managed to stay below the surface. We grew up hearing that the government wants to help us, and the world, and that our leaders wanted what was best for us. We were taught that there was two separate political parties in the United States, and that the Fed, IRS, UN, NATO, and all the fortune 500 corporations, were independent entities, with no hidden agendas. Instead we find today that they are all owned by the same individuals, and are colluding for their own interest…aka.. Bilderberg, Bohemian Grove, G20…etc

The Norway Massacres:   The New Oklahoma City

Some will say that the Norwegian gunman acted alone … Some will say that he had help…. Some will say that he is part of a larger organized effort to control the entire world…  Let’s take a look at some of the facts that we do know at this time:


1.  Anders Behring Breivik was captured on Utoya Islandwhile shooting helpless

young summer campers, there on a political retreat. Oddly, police called him by

name ( before they arrested him ) to put down his weapon ….and he did…

2.  Police take 90 minutes to reach the island…which should have taken 20 minutes.

3.  Norway was to:           –  Recognize Palestineas acountry.

–  Withdraw military forces from Libya.

–  Withdraw from European Union.

4.   The children on the island were from the families of the current lawmakers.

By killing the children, and not the law makers, you allow for government

to seamlessly continue on the surface, but yield to your control or manipulation,

behind the scene.

5.   Breivik’s facebook sight was changed ( by somebody else ) AFTER he was taken

into custody. It was altered, and typed in English so that he listed himself as

Christian, among other things. The new version was completely slanted to reflect

the storyline that the media would pump out in the coming days.

6.   Breivik “says” there are two more cells.

7.   Breivik has known Zionist connections:

“According to his own statements, Anders Behring Breivik previously operated the blog ‘Fjordman’, and later wrote for many years under the pseudonym Fjordman for the anti-Muslim and Zionist blogs Gates of Vienna and Jihad Watch.”

8.   Zionist’s were VERY unhappy with Norway:

a) The Norwegian “Oslo Accords” would recognize a UN resolution for a Palestinian state… Including a visit planned by Palestinian Ambassador.

b) The camp that was attacked was “ground zero” for the boycott Israel movement in Norway.

9.    Script seems “set to go” for a world wide investigation and censoring of any anti

government speech. No longer will it be “just” Muslim Terrorist suspects

that will be kept on “No Fly – No Buy – No Ride – No Gun” Lists.


INTERPOL Plans To Investigate ALL Right Wing Political Groups


In the wake of Norway’s terrorist attack, the European police agency is setting up a task force of more than 50 experts to help northern European countries investigate non-Islamic terror threats, its spokesman told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Soeren Pedersen said the group, which is based in The Hague, hopes to help Norway and nearby countries in their investigations in the coming weeks.

This “investigation” was announced within hours of the massacre…. They even have the headquarters all picked out, and a list of 50 “experts”!

We Are The Real Targets

The real target of the Norway massacre is becoming clear. It is not just the slain victims in Norway, but also free speech, and political decent. WE ARE THE TARGETS. If you study how the media is spinning this it is to shut us up, or “stopping vile online propaganda”. They are flipping it so that calling for peace or stopping atrocities will be labeled “hate speech” and they will have an excuse to shut it down. In other words, to legally quench decent….

You can “take it to the bank” ( pardon the pun ), that this is all a big beta test for how they will control decent here in the United States. For, everything that happens in Egypt or Greece, etc…eventually shows up on our shores. This is no different. The bankers know that we are their main opposition. We have been since 1776… Since then it’s been “those pesky American’s”…who just won’t roll over… The following is from a London newspaper, just prior to President Lincoln being assassinated:

“if that mischievous financial policy, which had its origin in the North American Republic, should become indurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will payoff debts and be without a debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous beyond precedent and the history of the civilized governments of the world. The brains and the wealth of all countries will go to North America. That government must be destroyed, or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe.

  – The Times of London 1862


 The last real obstacle for the elite is to remove the United States as a world power. By buying off politicians they have been putting through legislation that has slowly been destroying our republic:

– Act of 1871: Returns America to control by the bankers and the monarchy.

– Federal Reserve Act 1913: Gives them control of the money supply.

– Emergency Banking Act of 1933:  Dissolved the United States of America, it’s sovereign authority, and all of it’s governmental bodies. From that day on, the United States of America would exist in name only. Authority was turned over to the International Monetary Fund.

Sounds hard to believe, right? We have been lied to for so long that the truth sounds “crazy”, and the people who speak the truth are called conspiracy theorists. But once you begin to do your own research you find out that we have been being played all along. Look at this speech that David Rockefeller gave:

“We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, and

other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and

respected the promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been

impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to

the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more

sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The

supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely

preferable to the National auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

– David Rockefeller (1991 Speech to the Trilateral Commission)


Today’s Banksters and Oligarchs:

The Rothschilds…. TheRockefellers…George Soros… Queen Of England…etc

It is estimated that 8 -13 families run the world. They own the major banks, Fortune 500 corporations, Media sources, and governments covertly, if not overtly. It is also said that 400 people in America have more combined wealth than the bottom 50% of people, or over 150 million Americans.

The real wages of people in the United States and around the world are increasingly declining. As comedian George Carlin said, “It’s a club, and you and I ain’t in it”!

If they have their way, telling the truth will become a crime, instead of an act of love from one human being to another. They will have succeeded in flipping LOVE to HATE. A speech about love and peace, and stopping war or atrocities, like in for example Palestine, becomes hate speech, and something our ears should fear.

I do not fear love. I will not fear speaking out when I see something is wrong. I invite you to join me. I believe we still have time. I believe that this war is fought in each of our hearts and minds, one mind, and one heart at a time. They only win if they can conscript you, dominate you, or make you helpless. They need your consent.


That is what this is all about. Do you take the red pill or the blue pill?

If you join me, I think we’ve won a battle today…



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Seeing Is Not Believing


From Filipino Congressman Mong Palatino…

To see is no longer to believe.

There was a time when people had to look up into the sky to search for answers about the mysteries of life. We raise our eyes to the heavens looking for clues about our existence. Astronomers and astrologers gaze at the stars and planets to discover their meaning in relation to our own planetary system.

We are curious creatures. We are explorers of the world. We are adventurers.

To understand the realities of the globe, we only had to open our eyes. We use our eyes to probe the riddles of humanity. Often, after seeing something interesting or extraordinary, we are pushed into action. We are motivated to deepen our knowledge about this enigmatic thing. In short, the first step towards the affirmation of truth and the need for change is to see.

The problem today is that we no longer gaze at the stars. We no longer want to touch the fleshy, spongy, rough surface of the planet. We have lost the patience to look for answers by peering into the distance. We are refusing to open our eyes to the ugly realities of our society.

Yes, we are still using our eyes to see the world but we no longer go out to experience reality. We are satisfied “to see” in the comfort of our homes. It seems our eyes couldn’t resist the glare of our TV sets, computer screens, cell phones, ipods and other gaming devices. Truth is validated if it appears in front of our computer windows. Emile Zola once wrote that “you cannot claim to have really seen something until you have photographed it.” Using Zola’s words, we can say today that you cannot claim to have really seen something until you have seen it in the Internet.

What is worse than refusing to see? Paul Virilio warned that “our contemporaries no longer want to see, they want to be seen by all.” The best example is our facebooking activities. We want to be seen by everybody on Facebook. We are exhibitionists. We upload our photos and videos on Facebook. We have redefined the meaning of privacy. Suddenly, the lives of everybody are now an open (face)book. Susan Sontag’s term of self-surveillance is appropriate in describing our Internet habits.

So we have two issues: 1) we refuse to see; 2) we only want to be seen.

What is the problem of refusing to see? We can’t solve the problems of man if we do not open our eyes. Or worse, if we only use our eyes to observe others or if we continually compare ourselves with others. Or if we end up as cyber voyeurs. Virilio wrote that the information revolution is really a revolution of generalized snooping. Think of webcams and camera phones.

What is the problem of only wanting to be seen? We can’t be good neighbors if we are satisfied with looking in the mirror everyday. How can we feel the pain of others if we are obsessed with our Facebook profile? The world does not evolve around us. The center of the earth is not us. There are more important things on this planet other than our puny concern about an unflattering picture on Facebook which was tagged by one of our friends.

It is wrong to think and assert that providing instant and real-time information to everybody will inspire people into action. The reverse might happen. Over-communication might actually prevent people from doing something. And it is already happening.

For example, pictures of poverty are re-tweeted on Twitter, shared on FB walls, liked by FB friends, re-posted in blogs to the point that they were seen by everybody in our online network many times over. This is the “obscenity of ubiquity.” And there is no guarantee that viral blasting the images would provoke people to do something concrete about what they have just seen. Why? Sontag reminds us that “pseudo familiarity with the horrible reinforces alienation, making one less able to react in real life.” She adds that the “feeling of being exempt from calamity stimulates interest in looking at painful pictures, and looking at them suggests and strengthens the feeling that one is exempt.”

But it is not just overexposure to the real that discourages people to act. The “art of seeing” itself is gone. Moholy-Nagy mentioned eight distinct varieties of seeing – abstract, exact, rapid, slow, intensified, penetrative, simultaneous, and distorted. Meanwhile, Alvin Langdon Coburn wrote that the camera is an instrument of ‘fast seeing’. Sontag wrote about us having a photographing eye used for photographic seeing. Today, we have Internet eyes which are used not to see but to consume vast amounts of information in real-time. We don’t even blink anymore. We are too overwhelmed with the power of the cyberspace that we refuse to reduce our intake of data believing that doing so would deprive us of the chance to access the great truths of our time.

Surfing the web is not a sightseeing activity where we can experience and witness the marvels of the world. Most of the time, it is only a glorified and eye-stress inducing celebration of the trivial, inconsequential and boring information tidbits about ourselves and our neighbors. But because we believe that Internet data is the truth and web surfing is the modern and safe way of seeing, we proudly share our new knowledge with the less informed others. Sharing of Internet-sourced knowledge becomes the preferred mode of political action of the 21st century man.

The challenge then is to restore the radical power of seeing. The truth is not located in our RSS and twitter feeds. It is out there.


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Generation Lost


From Filipino Congressman Mong Palatino…

The Philippine-American War claimed the lives of one million Filipinos and nearly wiped out the country’s carabaos (we had to import water buffaloes from Indonesia after the war). In Balangiga, Samar Province, no adults were allowed to survive. Those who died in the anti-colonial struggle were veterans of the 1896 Revolution. They were young and brave Filipinos who fought and defeated the Spanish colonizers. They belonged to a generation that was ready to fight for the dignity, honor, and independence of the new nation. This lost generation, unfortunately, was replaced by sons and daughters of ilustrados whose preferred political tactic was to peacefully collaborate with the American colonial masters. So instead of building a nation based on the blueprint designed by the revolutionary leaders of Katipunan, the prominent Filipinos leaders in the 1920s and 1930s were scions of landlord politicians whose idea of radical politics was to beg for bureaucratic reforms in the American civil government.

Another war, the Second World War, led to one million deaths in the Philippines. In Bataan peninsula alone, the adult population was almost wiped out during the Japanese invasion. Those who survived the war are known as the country’s war veterans but we should also remember those who perished in the war especially members of the communist-led Huk army. These young idealist Filipinos could have provided an alternative politics after the war – politics that embodies the yearning of Filipinos for genuine emancipation from colonial bondage. But this generation, the generation of Huk fighters, was again replaced by ilustrados who were loyal subjects of the American and even Japanese masters. The revolutionary project was torpedoed once more by pro-US dynasties and oligarchs.

The next flashpoint in Philippine mainstream history was the 20-year Marcos dictatorship. During the Martial Law years, thousands of freedom-loving young Filipinos joined the anti-Marcos struggle. Some of them came from affluent families but have decided to risk everything, even their lives, to fight the fascist dictator. This generation produced the country’s new heroes in the postwar era. The loss is immense; these martyrs could have succeeded in parliamentary politics and could have provided a more patriotic type of leadership after the downfall of Marcos. Sadly, the vacuum was filled by showbiz politicians like Erap, trapos like Arroyo, and returning oligarchs like Noy.

The Marcos years hastened the maturity of young Filipinos in the 1970s. Activist teenagers were forced to act as adults to avoid incarceration or death. For example, the duties and tasks performed by college undergrads for the revolutionary movement were difficult and extensive like building organs of red power in provinces throughout the country. On the other hand, those who were imprisoned and tortured were deprived of the chance to interact with the rest of society. It is interesting to probe if the Martial Law political prisoners became older or younger during those years. Case in point: Satur Ocampo is 71 years old today but he was in prison for 9 years during the Marcos regime. Does this mean he is only 62 years old? But the torture marks on his body have also weakened him. Satur’s mind and willpower may be younger and stronger but his body could be older than 71.

In Japan, the concept of lost generation is related to the economic crisis in the 1990s which produced a generation of young Japanese with no full-time employment. Using the economy as a yardstick, we can describe migrant Filipinos (from OCW to OFW) as belonging to the lost generation. They are talented Filipinos who are forced to wander in other countries to pursue their dreams. Can the dollar remittances compensate for the loss of our skilled human resources?

The labor export policy also created another lost generation – the children of OFWs. They grew up while their parents are far away. Parenting in these modern times is accomplished through letters, telephone conversations, and internet chat. Often, OFW parents shower their children with consumer goods to ease the guilt of leaving their families. What is worse is that children of OFWs will grow old thinking that earning money and fulfilling a dream can only be realized by migrating to distant shores. Isn’t it tragic that a generation of Filipinos is holding on to a believable fiction that life is always better in other countries?

It is not only wars and economic difficulties that destroy the future of a generation. Today there is a real danger of “losing” the attention and support of young Filipino internet users. It is alarming to see young people who are withdrawing from the social because they are too enamored with their virtual lives. It is even more distressing to read and hear impassioned statements that young Filipinos are ready to fight for justice and democracy in the safety of their online communities. They want to change the world by blogging and tweeting about it. They are satisfied with facebook debates. Are we the lost generation of the early 21st century Philippines?


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Facebook Banned


From Indonesia Correspondent Rezwan…

Bangladesh has become the second country in Asia after Pakistan to block the entire Facebook domain. On 28th May, 2010 Friday at around 8:30 the ban was executed on charges of malicious propaganda against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and hurting religious feelings reports [bn] blogger and journalist Biplob Rahman at MuktoMona blogging platform. However the site was still accessible via mobile (m.facebook.com).

Newspapers soon confirmedquoting high officials of Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) that Facebook was temporarily blocked.

Earlier, the BTRC had directed internet data service handlers Mango Telecom and Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd to find a way to block antisocial contents posted by Facebookers.

But the two companies failed to fix the problem, which prompted the government to block the entire prophet, said the official, asking not to be named. The Daily Star

According to Facebook there are around 900,000 Facebook users in Bangladesh and 60% of them are aged between 18-24 years. Many netizens, like Sukanta Rai at Prothom Alo Blog had this question in mind:

What did Facebook do can anybody tell me?
S. M. Mahbub Morshed at Sachalayatan

After publishing perverted imagesof Hasina and Khaleda (The Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition) in the second most popular site in Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (RAB – a special force) arresteda youth named Mahbub Alam Rodin. Bangladeshis could not access Facebook soon after that.

Chitpotang at Unheard Voices blog wonders whether a threat from some religious parties prompted the government to take this decision:

That’s the “official” eyewash. What’s the real reason? Hmm, could it have something to do with Naya Diganta and Khatme Nabuwwat, Amini, et al’s return in the form of exportingPakistan’s Facebook ban for the Mohammed Cartoon Contest? The threats to hold a rally the day after BNP’s June rally that will be even bigger? As usual AL (Awami League) responds in only way it knows to an Islamist/Rightist threat, cave in immediately.

However Aminul Islam Sajib at Life with technology says:

Although the BTRC is saying that the site has been blocked for hosting anti-religious and pornographic contents, I feel that the site is blocked mainly for the reason that caricatures of two political leaders were shared on the site. The government could take necessary steps to remove those contents. Instead they are blocking us for their own interest and trying to make us understand that the reason is something else (anti-religious stuffs). Don’t they know that there are over hundreds of proxies such as hidemyass.com, redfish.tk (giving you the links so that you can still access the network) to gain access to Facebook. So, why ban Facebook? Banning Facebook does not block people’s access to the site. It’s like a showdown that we have banned Facebook on grounds of being abused.

The Bangladeshi netizens are astonished and outraged by all these drama. Bloggers like and https Shahriar at Cadet College Blog are explaining how to easily circumvent the ban by using https and other web proxies. However, Aranya Anam at Amar Blog warns[bn] netizens to be cautious about using proxy sites and provides some useful links.

Haseeb at Sachalayatan names the ban[bn] as “commerce of sentiments”.

Arup Rahee at Somewherein comments:

The Facebook ban is not a solution. If somebody criticizes, caricatures or opines against somebody/something, banning the media is not a solution against that – it is being proven across history.


Samir Kumar Ghosh says:

Before banning Facebook. If the government issued some alerts and some warnings – it would have been more effective.

However there were some opinions supporting the ban. Guru Bhai at Somewherein says:

When these youths should have been spending their time playing in the field or doing their home work, they spoil their time doing virtual dating (or similar things) using social networking – which is shameful for a sovereign country.

Twitter users are also expressing their reactions:

taslimanasreen: Is banning contagious !! Pakistan banned facebook ! Now Bangladesh !

julu_vai:govt. in bangladesh, by closing facebook for their own personal anger, are causing needless pain to millions. Where is my Freedom of speech?

kowsheek: Finally govt realised that facebook is injurious for pm’s health. #bangladesh

DarthShayan:People from #Bangladesh need to make a stand. We always let the political ppl dominate us. Is Bangladesh not a democracy with freedom?

A Facebook group named Withdraw the ban on Facebook in Bangladesh has been created. Kajal Abdullah at Somewherein reports that offline protests are also materializing.

Protests have been started already. Some students of Dhaka University (DU) have arranged a large protest in front of the Raju monument at midnight. They have warned that if Facebook ban is not withdrawn soon the students of DU will take up human chain and other form of protests.

Nazrul Islam at Sachalayatan says:

We want a democratic government which allows freedom of speech – ensures everybody’s freedom of expression. This government has come into power promising a digital Bangladesh. But we are witnessing that it knows nothing about the term ‘digital’. Our government does not know that these bans are not effective – there is nothing sillier than these in today’s world. If anybody wants he/she can access Facebook or everything on the internet. Still the government goes for another ban.

They will perhaps be forced to withdraw this ban within a few days. But this will remain as a bad mark in the government’s tenure.

First Published in Global Voices Online


Posted in Home Page, Simply RezwanComments (7)

Getting All A-Twitter


ohearnFrom James O’Hearn…

Twitter is a dichotomy. On the one hand it is the most vapid, pointless extrapolation of the useless small talk paradigm ever put into concrete form. On the other hand, it is the most powerful collaboration tool, and passive information retrieval system ever devised.


Say wha?


Simply put, if you are on your computer or your mobile phone, whatever device, you can tap out a small message of up to 140 characters and send it. That is your “Tweet.” Your Tweet goes out there into the world, and finds it’s place on your little online Tweet page. But, it can also go elsewhere.

Say you have a circle of friends who like to keep in touch or want to know what’s up with you, they can follow you on Facebook by adding you as a friend, and/or they can follow you on Twitter. If they choose the latter, then every time you send a Tweet out into the universe, it will pop up on their computer, or phone, or whatever they use, letting them read what you have said.

Basically you broadcast some trivial thought out to the universe, and certain people who are tuned into that station will hear it.

“I just had some great coffee!”

“Gosh I hate being late to work!”

“These jeans make me look fat.”

“Our plane is crashing into the Hudson river!…Wait. Sorry, False alarm. Sweet landing, though.”

You get the idea.

So what’s the big deal? It all sounds so stupid, really. Like, who would care to tap into the stream of consciousness of gads of people? Well, young people for one. Young people really love it, just as they love SMS. In some countries, Japan for instance, the ratio of SMSs to actual calls is higher than 1000:1. It’s like passing notes in class, and eternal activity for youth.But then, if that is what it is, why would adults, or the Guardian (please note the exclusion from the latter group) take this stuff seriously?

Because of the dichotomous nature of the service, and the sudden, overwhelming ubiquity of data rich portable devices like the iPhone, the Blackberry, and Palm’s new Treo. Jeez, even the new Nintendo DSi can get in on this action.

On the part of the Guardian, it is an incredibly cheap and effective way of driving up page views. A small tweet with a clever headline and link can drive a lot of traffic to a specific page. On the reader’s part, it’s like a mobile news wire, so that you get word of a new story the instant it is up. On the part of the newspaper, they can sell ad space linked with stories carried out by this wire at a premium price since the consumer data being returned is so rich. Think about it like a marketer… say you want adults between 30 – 49 earning $75K+. How do you know those people are reading the Guardian (They’re not…but this is just for pretend purposes here)? Normally you don’t, since dead tree media doesn’t tell any tales. Even a home IP won’t give them much because there is no identifying demographic information of much use. But, since Twitter is optimized for mobile media usage, people who click on a link in a Tweet to go to a story, will leave behind a very remarkable footprint. First and foremost, The Guardian will be able to tell what type of device was used, and barring that, what OS or browser, which works out to the same thing. Did 60% of the page views come from Blackberries? Well, the correlation between Blackberries and high income earners is very high, so the Guardian can go to the advertisers and jack up ad rates for this service, with this very specific, concrete demographic detail.

But what about for adults?

Here, here is where Twitter gets good. And I mean, really good.

I’m going to tell a little story here. It’s a true story, but a longish one. I just wanted to give fair warning…

I was at a conference two weeks ago attending a presentation on the educational uses of Twitter in tertiary institutes. Nice presenter, decent slides, but what she had stumbled upon just blew my mind.

I say stumbled upon because while the presenter was in EdTech, she had only learned of Twitter half a year earlier. But the incredible impact it had had on her teaching practice and professional development was extraordinary.

The way she put it was thus…

With Facebook, you connect with people you know. With Twitter, you connect with people you want to know.

Think about that for a moment. Imagine being that proverbial fly on the wall, and tapping into Einstein’s thoughts? Or Hemingway’s? Honestly…what would you give for that?

With Twitter this is possible because it’s a stream of consciousness service. It’s useful only for short messages, and so easy to use anyone can use it almost anywhere. Following someone’s Twitter feed is almost like tapping into their stream of consciousness.

There are amazingly brilliant people out there that you or I will never be close to, will never have a chance to get to know, and would never be able to stand next to for long enough to learn the tiniest fraction about what they think. But with Twitter, you can.

This presenter had identified 50 or more colleagues or authorities in the same field who were at the top of their form. They did stellar work, and were well respected, for good reason. Also, they were all on Twitter. So instead of going to a yearly conference to learn the new and amazing things these scholars dug up, she attended a virtual conference every day. A Tweet would pop up on something mind blowing, and would be incorporated into the next day’s lesson plan. What’s more, by sending a direct message to the poster of a particular Tweet, she was often able to arrange for an impromptu video conference (via Skype) where the researcher could expand on their finding for her class.

Using this paradigm, she was able to transform her whole program, and make it effective in a way that had never happened before. At first she set her graduate students into research groups using Twitter as their key collaborative tool. But it also became the key to getting them to write. To understand this, I’ll give a little background.

Her students are from an area where students do not learn how to write in their own language. They learn grammar, sure, and the mechanics of writing, but not “how” to write. That is, in the Arabic world, writing isn’t something students really do. They never write any essays, book reports, or what have you, because that has never been a part of the educational model here. In English class they are expected to write, but with no experience at it whatsoever, in their native tongue, attempts at it in a second language are almost always very poor. I face it every day with my students who had never written anything longer than 100 words before going to high school. The presenter I met faced the same problem, and just was not able to drag any substantive writing out of her students. 3000 words? Forget. Even 500? Not a chance! They just wouldn’t do it, and school authorities would back the students up on that. So what to do?

It was obvious to her that her students did write, and wrote a heck of a great deal. In fact, her students, as mine are, are inveterate communicators. They are forever posting on bulletin boards, sending IMs, SMSs, emails, and more. Via writing, they communicate more, I daresay, than any generation in human history. But they don’t think of it as writing. This is why Twitter was the key.

A limit of 140 characters is not much. Two sentences, three max. She got her students to buy into posting messages to a group Tweet, and responding to posts. As the project wore on, from what she said, it sounded like these students had tapped more words through that one collaboration than at any other point in their career. They were posting gads of messages each day. Back and forth. Posting, commenting on posts, commenting on comments. Every time someone found an interesting link, they posted it, which set off a flurry of other Tweets as the group looked into the information.

The experiment succeeded beyond any of her expectations.

Which leaves us back at the beginning of this post.

Like with Xerox or the VCR, there are good uses and bad uses. Twitter can be trite, but it can also be transformative. Part of the hype around Twitter right now is that many have sensed just how powerful this tool could be. As newspapers die, and media models crumble, there is a mad scramble for the next model, whatever will arise out of the ashes, and Twitter is in very good shape to make a run at that. During the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the world learned through Twitter long before Reuters got wind of it. When that plane went down on the Hudson, word of it was on Twitter even before anyone walking by as it was happening had thought to take notice. Major news wires have reacted by hiring staff who only monitor Twitter, and pick off breaking stories from there.

For writers , I would say that Twitter is a tool we can all use. Most of us share thoughts, findings, and ask questions of each other here, in the spirit of true colleagues. When we graduate, that will be over for us, but it doesn’t have to be. The ability to collaborate with talented people in your field, who you respect and admire, is a precious and valuable thing. Even just to be able to get glimpses of what they are thinking and doing can be informative or inspirational. I’ve learned a great deal in the short time I’ve been allowed to frequent these boards, and I am sure that in the next few years as I stretch my time in the program to the allowable limit (you know…budget constraints), I will continue to do so. But hopefully, using some other method like Twitter or what replaces it, I’ll be able to continue to do so.





Posted in Home Page, The O'Hearn FactorComments (3)


Picturing RELATIVITY- see all photos


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