Philippa Thomas Online

Occasional thoughts about life, books and news.


1 Comment

The Shape of Revolutions?

How much do we mistake the technology for the story?

I’m always fascinated by the way in which social media networks connect activists and amplify their voices. But plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – how about this observation by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik ?

“Twitter, spitting out its brief public messages, is given credit for making revolutions – and certainly, throughout the Arab Spring and the Ukrainian and Iranian near-Springs the instant news shared by its tweets raced around the crowds and helped order its actions. But in truth, every popular social revolution since at least the French one has followed (I think) the same pattern – a government weakened by war or financial crisis or both meets popular resistance, which for the first time takes in members of the elite and the masses. They find a meeting space – it could be Tahrir Square or a French real tennis court – and occupy it. Then, in the crucial moment, the army, called on to disperse the mob, identifies with the cause and refuses. The government is forced to surrender. Then, time after time, the best organised of the militant minorities takes over – and then, in 18th Century France or 21st Century Egypt, there is a contest to see if the militant minority can dominate the army or if the army will destroy the militant minority. Whether texted and twittered or papered and pamphleted, the shape of revolution is about the same.”

It’s part of his BBC essay this week – on why HE doesn’t tweet.

 

 


5 Comments

When it’s not good to be followed

I love talking on Twitter. I love being followed on Twitter. But I’m realising that more doesn’t always mean better.  Which is why I’ve just cut my numbers.  

Am I behind the curve here? I wonder how many of you already act to filter out fake follows.  

I noticed on Tuesday that something odd was going on. Continue reading


5 Comments

#Trials on #Twitter – the #Stephenlawrence case

I’m not a legal expert. I’m not even a regular court reporter. But I was one of the BBC team assigned to cover the Stephen Lawrence murder trial at the Old Bailey in November.

I am also the BBC broadcaster who used Twitter to present “breaking news” programmes about the verdicts and sentences given to  Stephen Lawrence’s killers this week.

This is not a polished article. It’s my attempt to reflect on the uses – and perils – of using Twitter in our courts. Thank you for your comments on the issue; do keep the feedback coming!

A little about me first. I love using Twitter as @PhilippaNews. It keeps me in touch with stories & contacts around the world, and I enjoy what we’ve come to call the curation of news – sharing links on everything from London life to Arab Spring politics to the US election campaign.

But this was the first time I’d used the social media channel as another form of broadcasting. Continue reading


5 Comments

Send the BBC your views today on “Technology – the pace of change”

Hi there – I’m very excited to be a first time presenter on the fantastic World Service radio programme “World Have Your Say” at 1800BST today. It’s a programme that belongs to the audience, and I’m asking YOU to give me insights that I can read on air.

Here’s the idea. Can you imagine living in a world without the iPod? Using a computer without Google? Sorting out your social life without Facebook? Or your news without Twitter?
Or imagine a world where you didn’t have to hear about them all the time?

Well it’s not long ago that none of us had heard these names. Today marks a number of BIRTHDAYS – ten years since the iPod was unveiled, thirteen years since the launch of Google. And it seems every day brings us a new product launch – Amazon’s Kindlefire? – or a social media makeover – like the new look Facebook.

SO I’m using the moment to ask how this whirl of invention has changed YOUR life. What does it make you think about the way we communicate, the way we share, how our behaviour has changed

Are you excited about living in a world where it seems every day brings us a new product launch or a social media makeover?
Is it a lifestyle you aspire to?
Or is the world of Apple and Google and Amazon unreal and irrelevant – or one that makes you excluded and frustrated?

You can comment here – or tweet to @PhilippaNews or @BBC_WHYS – I’ll try to get as many of your thoughts as we can into our hour on air.


1 Comment

Talking to Brian Lehrer TV

I’ve given an interview about this blog – and what happened after my post about Bradley Manning & P J Crowley. It’s part of a programme with New York TV host Brian Lehrer called “Citizens cover the Uprisings”. I apologise in advance for alarming any viewers by being scarily close up to the camera on Skype, and gosh do I really have such a terribly British accent?