Monthly Archives: October 2010

Political football

Evo Morales playing football. Image: kk+ on Flickr / Some rights reserved

Brilliant story in today’s Guardian: Low blow Morales: Bolivian president knees football opponent in groin [with images of the offending knee]

The friendly match started when, wearing a No 10 green jersey, Morales, a football fanatic and Bolivia’s first indigenous president, led his team of bodyguards and officials on to the artificial pitch.

The yellow team was led by Luis Revilla, mayor of La Paz and a political ally turned foe of the president. After smiles and handshakes the game began. Within five minutes Daniel Gustavo Cartagena, in the No 2 jersey for the mayor’s team, scythed into the president after he passed the ball, gashing his right leg.
Continue reading

Is social media a placebo for armchair protesters?


Image composite: deepsignal & webtreats / Some rights reserved

Malcolm Gladwell’s latest piece in the New Yorker begins with a lengthy introduction on the genesis of the Greensboro sit-ins, an event that triggered hundreds of similar protests in the early 60s and proved a crucial turning point in the Civil Rights movement. After four paragraphs, he gets to the point:

These events in the early sixties became a civil-rights war that engulfed the South for the rest of the decade—and it happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter.

He goes on…

The evangelists of social media… seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960. “Social networks are particularly effective at increasing motivation,” Aaker and Smith write. But that’s not true. Social networks are effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires.

Continue reading