Cute Cats and the Arab Spring: When Social Media Meet Social Change
Activists around the world are turning to social media tools usually used for more pedestrian purposes: the sharing of family videos and videos of cats flushing toilets. But these tools can be extremely powerful in the hands of activists, as they are pervasive, easy to use and difficult for governments to censor.
In this second annual Vancouver Human Rights Lecture, Ethan Zuckerman looks at "the cute cat theory" of internet activism, as it helps explain the Arab Spring protests, aggressive internet censorship in countries like China and Vietnam, and the challenges for the corporate owners of social media platforms in an era of online speech.
Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT. His research focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new media, the use of technology for international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. Ethan is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces (see ethanzuckerman.com).
Gordon Grdina, a protege of jazz great Gary Peacock, will open the evening with a performance on solo Oud. Gord's sound is a mix of mainstream jazz, free-form improvisation and Arabic classical music.
Vancouver Human Rights Lecture is hosted by Paul Kennedy and recorded for future broadcast on the CBC Radio One program Ideas.
The 2011 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture is presented by the Laurier Institution, Yahoo!, UBC Continuing Studies and CBC Radio One.