Something is happening, Mr. Jones

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 16•11

It is not that I think I will see world peace in my lifetime because of Twitter. I may be an idealist (semi-closeted) but I am not a complete idiot.  I do think something very interesting is happening though.

egyptinfluencenetworkthmbA man named Kovas Boguta has devised a really wonderful graphic showing the influences English speaking and Arabic speaking Twitter users have on each other. Or at least so it is assumed by the fact that they follow each other, I believe. ( I asked my friend Tom to explain to me how that would work mathematically, he is good at things like that. He finally said he’d need more information so I got no satisfaction on that question.) The graphic is a very high resolution image. My rapidly aging eyes did not see at first the names in the spheres of influence but they are all named as you’ll see if you zoom in on it.

Mr. Boguta says:

Experts say Egypt is the crystal ball in which the Arab world sees its future. Now that Mubarak has stepped down, I can share the work I’ve done making that metaphor tangible, and visualizing the pro-democracy movement in Egypt and across the Middle East. It is based on their Twitter activity, capturing the freedom of expression and association that is possible in that medium, and which is representative of a new collective consciousness taking form.

I don’t think Mr. Boguta goes quite far enough though.

Here’s the thing. My cousin Stephanie and I are about as far apart on the political spectrum as two people could be, as different just personally as two people could be in every possible way. But certainly politically. I guess I’d call her a far right wing Zionist if I had to call her anything. I would rather just call her my cousin Stephie.

Me and my cousin

Stephie's got the crown and that's me with the shield

We have a personal relationship.  That’s what’s happening with this method of communication, personal relationships and they are happening across the globe irregardless of distance. It doesn’t have to be Twitter. Twitter’s the medium at the moment, that’s all.

I’ve learned more about Egypt through individual Egyptians in the last four days than I had ever learned in any other way. Now I’m learning about other countries in that area too, through looking at photo albums from people like Mosa’ab Elshamy or listening to one of the mix tapes that was popular in Tehrir. Which I did not like much to be honest, but hey I know the kids like rap. It helps, of course that people in other countries know more english than Americans like myself generally know other languages. Google translate is a help at getting the gist of things. I’ve pretty much learned to recognize the difference between Arabic and Persian I will say that.

If this can happen to me it can happen to anyone, and it seems to me it’s happening to an awful lot of people. Maybe not a new global consciousness, but something.

There is even more to it than that. Communication between nations is bypassing governments. Because it’s so unwieldy to get governments together to talk about anything. You’ve got to arrange staff and tickets and red carpets and dinners and then all the staff and so forth all have to have the perks and the arrangements. Everyone’s got to have whatever the State Department equivalent of the bowl of blue M & Ms in the dressing room is. It all takes so long and then the two governments might end up having a fifteen minute conversation.

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