Category Archives: technology

[Lim’s lecture] Social Media and Urban Activism from the Arab Spring to Hong Kong

On November 6th, 2014, I delivered the Canada Research Chair public inaugural lecture entitled: “Roots, Routes & Routers: Social Media and Urban Activism from the Arab Spring to Hong Kong”.

I managed to merge the actual recording of my lecture and the slideshow I prepared for and had shown during the lecture. So, here it is (the prezi is accessible through this link, but it’s also embedded below). Click “start prezi” button and then click the  button on the left corner to listen to the audio.

Unlike this light 10 minutes speech of mine, this one is based on years of comprehensive research and rather long.

Continue reading [Lim’s lecture] Social Media and Urban Activism from the Arab Spring to Hong Kong

An Outsized Role for Social Media in the Indonesian Election

An excerpt of my interview with The Asia Digital Life (original link is here)

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by: Patrick Sharbaugh (@psharbaugh)

Social media and digital platforms played a massive role in Indonesia’s historic presidential election earlier this month. With the official result still out, I talked to Asian Internet scholar Merlyna Lim about how Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and innovative open-sourced platforms for crowdsourcing election monitoring and the vote count made this election unique.

A few highlights of our conversation:

Of 255 million citizens in Indonesia (which makes it the world’s third largest democracy) there are over 77 million citizens online — and 50 million of those are eligible to vote. There’s a very active social media landscape in Indonesia, and the social media activism community there is particularly vibrant. Continue reading An Outsized Role for Social Media in the Indonesian Election

[Publication] Life Is Local in the Imagined Global Community

“… In grappling with multiple identities and multiple realities, the reality of everyday life is experienced as reality par excellence.  Micro narratives that are closer to the everyday life experience are embraced more openly, resulting in the plurality of voices, allowing for differences, nuances, and even counter-hegemonic voices. The closer to home the issue resonates, the more conversations take place. Life is local, even in the global blogosphere.” Continue reading [Publication] Life Is Local in the Imagined Global Community

Slate.com: Tahrir Square Was a Foreseeable Surprise?

Slate Magazine asked me to provide a short essay on the social media and Egypt revolt as part of my forthcoming talk in DC, so I did, here it is: http://www.slate.com/id/2298948/.

Meanwhile, please find below the longer version — unedited one.

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The emergence of online collective actions has driven much attention and recently made headlines based on what has transpired politically in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. However, there is very little research devoted to deepen our understanding of this phenomenon. Our knowledge on these kinds of observable facts mostly relies on quick, short-term, often journalistic observations and post-event visualization of social media mapping. The tendency to either over-emphasize or under-emphasize the role of social media without any knowledge on the actual usage of these media and perceiving these uprisings as being ‘unexpected’ and ‘surprising’ indicates a lack of in-depth studies in this area. Looking from a scientific lens, what gets labeled as ‘surprise’ can also be a product of phenomenological impediments or epistemological oversight.  A deeper investigation on these movements, especially those in Egypt, shows that the historical moment happened in Tahrir square was actually an ‘imaginable surprise.’* Not that we knew when the day/date of the event or how it’d happen, but by looking closely the ongoing consolidation of oppositional actors and expansion of on/offline collective action networks over time, we could clearly see that over years there had been a tremendous growth of oppositional networks against the Mubarak regime in the country and thus could envision the outcomes that might come out of this growth. To fully understand phenomena such as the Tahrir revolt, we need to rigorously look beyond the Tahrir days, beyond the usage of Facebook and Twitter, but mostly on how the oppositional networks emerged, expanded, and were translated into a momentous mass movement, and how the Internet and social media were entangled in these processes. Continue reading Slate.com: Tahrir Square Was a Foreseeable Surprise?

[Research note] Revolution 2.0?

This is not an in-depth analysis. Just a rant for now.

The day Mubarak fell, NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel Tweeted the photo below, telling the world about an Egyptian protester holding a sign that said, “Thank you, Facebook.” The photo has been viral since then and has become a powerful symbol prompting the causal-effect of social media for democracy.

Continue reading [Research note] Revolution 2.0?