In 2016, let’s focus on compassion, not on paranoia

Causes of Death in the US #2

Dear all,

More people in the US die because they don’t have health care coverage than because of terrorism (in fact, 206 times more or 20,600% more). We need a more compassionate society, not a more paranoid one.

What we don’t control scares us more, but often this is not what hurt us most. For 2016, my biggest wish is for all of us to focus on the things that really hurt our society and that we can and need to change. Fight for health care for all. Fight for a more sustainable economic model. Fight for a more compassionate society. Fight for fewer things, more happiness, a better future. Yes? Please?

With love and gratitude, wishing a better 2016 for all.


[Also on Medium]

New media, social ties, and revolution

Will the revolution be tweeted?

In a recent New Yorker’s article, “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted,” Malcolm Gladwell discusses the role of new media in social movements. Gladwell writes that new social media are a bad fit for civil resistance movements, especially those that involve personal high risk and long-term commitment. New media are a good tool for weak-tie, loosely organized networks while social revolutions require centralized and tightly organized  groups.

In an insightful post on his blog iRevolution, Patrick Meier, director of Ushahidi (and much more) replies with a yes and yes: yes, new digital technologies don’t work without understanding the practices of civil resistance, and yes, they can be very effective in making the practices of civil resistance more efficient and in increasing their reach. New media may not be the most effective way to recruit people into high-risk social movements, but they are a very good tool when it comes to sharing and disseminating information.

I agree with Patrick Meier: new digital media are essential to social movements. But something else in Gladwell’s article has caught my attention: the role of strong-ties in creating and maintaining powerful civil resistance movements and the inadequacy of new social media in creating and maintaining strong social ties.

Read more…