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IEET > Security > Cyber > Vision > Futurism > Contributors > Annalee Newitz

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Further evidence that Twitter will not liberate the world

Annalee Newitz
By Annalee Newitz

Posted: Feb 20, 2012

Though optimistic pundits have declared Twitter largely responsible for social uprisings like Arab Spring, the microblogging network is hardly going to usher in a more liberated future. It’s a business, after all, and it bends to the law like every other business does.

Over at Foreign Policy’s Passport, Uri Friedman counts the ways that Twitter looks more like a tool of the present than a harbinger of better tomorrows.

He writes that people who “threaten violence” on Twitter have been arrested:

Earlier this week, DHS agents detained Irish traveler Leigh Van Bryan and a friend at Los Angeles International Airport and sent them back to Europe after Bryan tweeted that he was going to “destroy America” and dig up Marilyn Monroe during his trip — references, he later told officials, to partying and the comedy show Family Guy, respectively (the incident conjured up memories of other jokes gone awry, such as when the Onion enraged the U.S. Capitol Police by tweeting, “BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building”). In 2009, FBI agents arrested an Oklahoma City man named Daniel Knight Hayden for threatening on Twitter to kill police officers during a Tea Party tax protest. Hayden was sentenced to eight months in prison.

(to read the rest of the article, click HERE)

Annalee Newitz is an American journalist who covers the cultural impact of science and technology. She is the editor-in-chief of io9, which named in 2010 as one of the top 30 science blogs by The Times. Her work has been published in Popular Science, Wired,, New Scientist, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and AlterNet, and she is a regular lecturer at colleges and conferences.
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Aww schucks! You mean to say I’ve been wasting my time on Twitter all along?

Of course Twitter is constrained by it’s own business ethics, politics, and is now used and scrutinised by authorities, and it was noted that not once was #Occupy or #OWS trending even during the peak of protests? .. Something that was also brought to the attentions of Twitter.

Guess wot? We all need to be careful what we say in the public and global domain, else we open ourselves to litigation for libel and slander. Yet the art is to aim to deliver world change despite these constraints?

It is amazing how quickly the Twitterati do become socially aware of protocol and diplomacy, even with no moderation. In fact, I’d say that the social benefit of this ethos and increased awareness for etiquette alone, is worthy of praise, and has established a new era in communications and global unity?

People help change the world, Twitter is merely another “very effective tool” for inciting social change.

Now if we could only entice those millions of Self indulgent Facebook users away from staring at pics of themselves and do something really useful?

Only kidding! (or am I?)


Where is Adam Baldwin?

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