Tag Archive for 'advocacy'

Free Burma

Free Burma!

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More on Myanmar…

It only took a day after I wrote my last post before the ruling junta in Myanmar shut down the internet and disabled several cell phone networks to prevent the free-flow of messages, video, and photographs streaming out of the country.

According to the Guardian:

The Burmese government apparently cut internet access today in an attempt to staunch the flow of pictures and messages from protesters reaching the outside world.

An official told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the internet “is not working because the underwater cable is damaged”.

In Bangkok, in neighbouring Thailand, an official at a telecommunications firm that provides satellite services to Burma said some internet service inside the country had been cut.

The London-based blogger Ko Htike said: “I sadly announce that the Burmese military junta has cut off the internet connection throughout the country. I therefore would not be able to feed in pictures of the brutality by the brutal Burmese military junta.”

Mr Htike said he would try his best to feed the Burmese junta’s “demonic appetite of fear and paranoia by posting any pictures that I receive though other means … I will continue to live with the motto that ‘if there is a will there is a way’.”…

But people are still talking about Burma - probably even more now that most of these message channels have been disabled. Webpages are plastered with articles, videos fill up pages on youTube, and several of my colleagues and friends are wearing red shirts in support of the Burmese dissidents.

Empowering Myanmar, one blog at a time

In 2002 when I was in graduate school, I did research on “hactivism” in Myanmar - the expanding practice of using internet channels to promote political ideology in opposition to the ruling totalitarian regime. You can download this paper if you want to read more.

Back then, the focus was on getting information into Myanmar through peer-to-peer networks - using connections to bases like Napster to transmit controversial and banned information on the state of the country, including international reaction. Burmese expatriates the world over secretly gathered in chat rooms to determine their messaging, and then used creative technology to educate and empower those activists in Myanmar who were quietly and secretly waiting for signs that the regime was growing weaker or for a specific call to action.
Continue reading ‘Empowering Myanmar, one blog at a time’

Facebook revolt impacts university branding

This story about Middlebury has been out for a little less than two weeks, but I just discovered it this morning when a colleague passed it along. It has special relevance to my organization, as we’re currently going through a huge re-branding process and have been overly diligent in including various stakeholders. However, we aren’t doing a lot of testing with student audiences because our organization stands for so many different things and getting internal buy-in alone was a process that dragged on much longer than it should have. The majority of folks that are affiliated with us already is for cause-based reasons vs. image, and we’re counting on that as we move forward - the brand is just a new way to represent the great things we already and will continue to do. That said, I do think it’s important to reach-out to these student audiences a bit before we do the formal roll-out, to let them know what’s going on, and re-frame the branding process in terms of actual cause-based outcomes, such as a new focus on global citizenship and public events that focus on these initiatives.

I also don’t agree with the way that Middlebury backed down from their new branding. They obviously invested a lot of time and money in the process, and although the voices of their constituency matter, a Facebook petition shouldn’t have so much impact over their decisions, especially in such a short amount of time. Their reaction definitely sets a precedent and I imagine it will be harder and a much more arduous process to make any changes to their brand or the way they do business in the future as they’ll want to get buy-in from EVERYONE.

Facebook Petition Sinks Revamped Logo

“The College’s roll-out and subsequent retraction of its new logo this summer brought administrators face-to-face with a growing reality - the speed and power of Facebook as an organizing medium among college students.

Armed only with their computers and disdain for the “Middlebury Leaf,” Sarah Franco ‘08 and Alex Benepe ‘09 brought more than 700 students together in their group “Just Say No to the Middlebury Logo” within days of the College’s announcement of its new graphic identity to accompany a $500 million capital campaign…”