Friday, April 22, 2011

Twitter Wars in Syria

Syria presents a great example of how controversies can be fought on Twitter. Although these are not solutions based on proving your ideas, they are more like denial of service attacks.

What is happening is that the protesters in Syria are using Twitter to communicate. They created a hashtag #Syriaprotest to send out notices about where they are going to demonstrate and other logistical coordination. The Syrian government wants to interfere with the protests, so what they are doing is spamming the hashtag. They have an automated system that sends thousands of messages containing pro-government propaganda to #Syriaprotest. No one believes the propaganda, but it makes it impossible to find the relevant tweets.

So the protesters have to create a new hashtag, communicate it to each other as secretly as possible, and then they have a few hours before the Syrian government figures it out and starts spamming that one too. Unfortunately, by the time a critical mass of protesters has learned the new hashtag, so has the government. And the cycle starts again.

Have you ever been wrong?

This Ted talk rocks!! Anyone interested in innovation, creativity, and complex decision making will get more out of these 17 minutes than any other I can think of.

The basic message is that if I asked you "what does it feel like to be wrong?" you would think of what it feels like when you REALIZE you're wrong. Not when you are wrong. When you ARE wrong, it actually feels like you are right. Except that there is some fool out there who disagrees with you.

Unless you are always right, please take a few minutes and watch this.