Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Ignite, or Quash, a Revolution in 140 Characters or Less: Today at The New America Foundation

How to Ignite, or Quash, a Revolution in 140 Characters or Less: The Promise and Limitations of New Technologies in Spreading Democracy

Watch live stream here.

Do the Internet and social media empower Big Brother or individuals in autocratic regimes, or do they offer a rare level playing field?

This year’s Arab Spring resurrected exuberant claims for the role of new technologies in spreading democracy. At the same time self-proclaimed “cyber-realists” were quick to point out that President Mubarak’s problems seemed to grow after he unplugged the Internet. Now, summer’s deadly stalemate in Syria has given pause to anyone peddling absolute theories about the interplay between new information technologies and revolution.

If not a panacea, how can social media and the Internet be deployed to maximize civic engagement in autocratic societies? Does the U.S. policy of supporting Internet freedom amount to a policy of regime change in some countries? When Big Brother does unplug the Internet, what can, or should, the rest of us do about it?

RSVPs for today's event are closed, as we are over capacity. Please watch the live webcast, which will be available on this page, and join the conversation on Twitter: #140rev

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