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Glen Pearson

Posts from the “The New Internationalism” Category

Two Tales of a City

Posted on January 9, 2019

Actually, Charlottesville, Virginia is more like a large town.  But over two days in August 2017, that community became the focal point for tens of millions of viewers.  What happened over that 48-hour period showed social platforms at their best and at their very worst.  It remains an informative case study. For a number of months prior to that August period, racist supremacist groups had used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to quietly organize and recruit supporters for an important event that became the Charlottesville riots.  Jason Kessler, a white supremacist leader, had been using a Facebook page as a rallying call for months.  To be sure, the leaders of the movement attempted to put the best face forward on social media, while they worked away behind the scenes at…

Rewiring People

Posted on January 7, 2019

Eight years ago next month, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg sat down and wrote a letter to his shareholders. In language that seemed so natural, so human, he laid out what Facebook had done for the world. “We believe we have created a greater number of stronger relationships between people, and that it helps people to get exposed to a great number of diverse perspectives.  By helping people form those connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information.” It all seemed to suit the times – an era when social media and emerging applications would bring communities and the world together.  Zuckerberg had made the commitment that Facebook would never grow into a company obsessed with revenue and profits.   None of this turned out to…

2018 Wish – Real Democracy

Posted on December 31, 2018

If democracy is rife with anything, it’s opinions.  Social media has only added to that intensity.  Studies reveal that citizens not only hold more opinions but that they are increasingly reticent to change them.  That’s why we’ve been hearing so much in recent years about how it’s growing increasingly impossible to change the minds of others, even when research and real evidence shows they’re wrong. – people just refuse to open the doors and windows to their minds.  Part of that is because social media places us within filter bubbles that only send to us what we agree with.  Another part is our inability to see the broader implications of our views. Politicians are totally flummoxed by this growing reality, unsure of the political terrain and how to remain…

Christmas On The Ground

Posted on December 24, 2018

Christmas not only endures, but frequently transcends the times in which it finds itself.  In Christian tradition, that first Christmas story should have been over before it started.  A pregnant unwed mother has to travel many miles on a donkey, alongside an obscure carpenter that would soon be her husband.  The great political machine decided it was time to take a census and forced thousands of people back to their home villages to be accounted for. To make it worse, they are poor and there is no place for the mother to have her child, other than a small stable for animals. And yet it worked to an astounding degree – just like all the great inspirational stories over the centuries.  Whether they were real or not ends up…