sábado, 3 de noviembre de 2012

Interview to @sgenfurecida

Everyone wants to participate in Twitter’s boom; and each person does it in his/her own way. 
Some publish every detail of their daily life; others use it to promote their works and careers; there are also some who give public interest information in a journalistic mood...etc. There is an amazing amount of forms of leaving your trace using just 140 characters!
Today, @sgenfurecida shares with us (by a phone call) their particular usage of this well-known social network.   

     Alba: What made you to create a Twitter account as Segovia Enfurecida is?
Segovia Enfurecida: The truth is that I took time thinking about doing something like this…Other cities had already done it and it has been successful. One afternoon I dared to do it, I wrote some tweets and got impressed on the impact they had!

Alba: How many people are involved on it?
Segovia Enfurecida: We are four to five people. I was the first and only one working on it at the beginning. Later I told to some of my closest friends and they felt happy to work on this idea. They are really interesting people, they think of tweets I would have never imagined if I were working alone.

Alba: So you do brainstorming, don’t you?
Segovia Enfurecida: Yeah, in fact we have a whatsapp group, although it was originally created to speak about our Fridays and Saturdays nights!

Alba: Are all of you young people?
Segovia Enfurecida: Yes, we are. We are the generation that has grown with the chachilibreta, with the camigol  balls, with the Maristas B against Eresma C matches... However, this Twitter account is not only for people who were born in the eighties; it is addressed to much more segovians.  

Alba: Why Twitter?
Segovia Enfurecida: Twitter represents the freedom to send messages like ours; it’s the best option to do what we do.

Alba: You have 2637 followers! When did you create the account?
Segovia Enfurecida: We created it a month ago, on a Friday afternoon…and here we are!

Alba: That’s incredible! It’s clear that you have been well accepted among young segovians. Sure you even know some of your followers, isn’t it hard for you to remain anonymous?
Segovia Enfurecida: Yeah, we know many of them personally, some of them even wonder if we are Segovia Enfurecida…But anonymity is the magic of writing these tweets, and of course, with much more freedom to do it.

Alba: Have you ever been threatened?
Segovia Enfurecida: No, absolutely not. People have treated us kindly and they understand this is a satirical account. We are not afraid, but if we come to a worrying situation we will all agree in finishing with this initiative. Anyway, I believe we won’t never be taken to that extreme!

Alba: Why writing tweets always in capital letters?
Segovia Enfurecida: Because we are really furious!

Alba: Segovian pride is in fashion nowadays. I would like to know what Segovia is for you.
Segovia Enfurecida: For us Segovia is the origin and the destination. Some of us had to move to Madrid or to other cities, but what is clear is that Segovia is our street and we always return. People are really attached to it. There are lots of things that make us different from people of other cities; we believe that in general, we have the characteristics of a small country.

Alba: Could you describe it in a word?
Segovia Enfurecida: Uff..that is so difficult! Yes, as I said before, Segovia is the origin.

Alba: You write about several different topics taking them always with humor. You wrote even about independence, are you trying to be like a segovian Artur Mas or something similar?
Segovia Enfurecida: (Laughs) It is just irony, we make jokes with him, we have even said he is our new autonomous community president! But we are just joking… 
Supposing we get independent in the future, I’m sure it will be different to what the Vasque Country or Cataluña claim for; what we want is to remain inside Spain not out!

Alba: What it’s true is that independence issue became more important when Arahuetes, Segovia’s major, declared that it was not worthy staying in Castilla y León, and that the best thing to do was to become independent. What do you think of his declarations?
Segovia Enfurecida: We respect what he said, in fact, it is true that Castilla y León does not think too much of Segovia; anyway we believe he was just being ironic, as we have also been regarding this issue.

Alba: The #diadasegoviana hastag was one of your most important actions through Twitter. Was it successful? Can you explain to us what was it about?
Segovia Enfurecida: Yes, I think it was really successful. It was a movement that started as a joke, and consisted on wearing a blue scarf to San Frutos’ celebration just as a sign of ‘we are segovians and we are here’, it did not have a vindicative tone at all. We believe this will be bigger as time passes.

Alba: You even appeared in the press! El Norte de Castilla, Acueducto.com…you must be really proud of giving voice to segovians!
Segovia Enfurecida: We speak about things most segovians have lived or thought at least once, and which in many cases feel ashamed to tell! 
For us it was a surprise to appear in local newspapers, it was amazing. We hope that this keeps on, that we get more followers and that we continue making jokes. It is a good thing not only for Segovia, but also for us.

lunes, 15 de octubre de 2012

A year without Ruth and Jose

October marks a year since Ruth, aged 6, and Jose, aged 2, were allegedly killed and burnt in Las Quemadillas farm, by his father, José Bretón. The children used to visit his father only on weekends, as he had started divorce proceedings with his wife, Ruth Ortiz. 
According to Bretón's version, after having lunch in the farm, around 18,00 pm, they went to Cruz Conde park (Córdoba) where he 'lost sight of the children'. He alerted Emergency Services first, and reported the disappearance in the police station later. 

                                                                         Ruth and Jose

Today, Bretón is on remand, accused of the double murder of the children and simulation of crime. Also, he has pending trial for the alleged mistreatment of his son Jose months before the disappearance. 

                                                                                                           José Bretón

However, the case has had its lights and shadows. It suffered a extremely important internal transformation, due to a mistake in a key analysis: the bones found in Las Quemadillas days after Ruth and Jose disappeared.  It was stated that the osseous rests belonged to a dog. But they were not. After more than 10 useless searchs of the farm and surroundings and combing Guadalquivir river, the maternal family was not satisfied. They asked Francisco Etxeberria, a well known forensic scientist, to analyze the bones, which he quickly confirmed were unequivocally human. 

                                                                                 Francisco Etxeberria

It seems that Bretón built a home-made incinerator oven that reached until 800 degrees, to 'materialize his revenge against his still wife', according to the examining magistrate of the case, Rodríguez Lainz.

People's reactions were not late to one of the most media covered cases ever seen in Spain. Everybody wanted to participate and support the family, and specially Ruth Ortiz, in greatly diverse ways, such as sharing opinions through social networks, lighting candles in Las Quemadillas, or even singing.  

                                                                                                              Ruth Ortiz

Chronology of the case

October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
From January to May
From June to October 2012

viernes, 25 de marzo de 2011

To censor or not to censor, that's the question.

It is commonly believed that the E-politics -exercising power through the net- phenomenon made its first appearance on 2007 -that is, during Obama's campaign in the United States.
E-politics works thanks to these three fields: outreach, fundraising and mobilization and engagement. Let's see how some of them (specifically outreach and fundraising) were applied to Obama's successful campaign.

Outreach means going where the audience is. In other words, using social networks and blogs. Obama did well on Facebook and Twitter, having up to 18 million and 7 million followers respectively. This made him look closer to the population. And that is quite important in a world in which the community concept is increasingly relevant.

Well, Spanish, years after -like in everything- did the same, as we can see, for example with La Moncloa's twitter.

Fundraising means getting money to finance something (in this case, the electoral campaign). As Obama declined using taxpayers' money -that's public money-, his campaign relied on donors, specially those ones who donated through the Internet ( http://my.barackobama.com/page/outreach/login/main).
(Click here if you want to see some interesting stats about donors).
Donating online has many advantages: it's quick, cheap and far less intimidating for political novices than writing a big check. But, in my opinion, I guess that wouldn't be enough to encourage Spanish voters as Americans were. Just because Spanish people are much more passive than Americans, we feel kind of indifference to what concerns politics. But, who knows, maybe in 10 years it happens, taking into account were are -Spanish- always late for everything...

(If you want to continue reading posts about Obama, just go to FairPlay blog)

It seems that Internet is a tool for democracy, equality, freedom and good things in general. But it isn't.
It's enough to mention “China” to demonstrate things aren't going well in the net. Just because Chinese government is taking advantage of the Internet as a tool for repression. Unfortunately, it isn't the only one: Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Tunisia or Vietnam, among others, are also controlling -and censoring- the net.
This map shows cyber censorship in the world:

As the Internet Enemies report says, “under the pretext of protecting morals, national security, religion and ethnic minorities, even the “spiritual cultural and scientific potential of the country”, many countries resort to filtering the Web in order to block some content”.
It really caught my attention the Cuban case we studied in class last Tuesday. As our teacher spend some years there (read this article if you are interested in her experiences), she could tell us some ways in which the government hides or disguises its censorship, with practices such as:
  1. High price connections to the Internet. Connections they can't afford due to their minimal salaries.
  2. Having slow Internet pages that can even take 36 hours to open! Of course, these slow pages are the ones that they didn't want to be read or seen.
  3. Put obstacles to international companies.
  4. Search result removals.
  5. Harass. This makes Internet users censor themselves, because they are afraid of the consequences their actions could bring. They were continuously threatened.
En Cuba hay programas espía instalados en los ordenadores de los cibercafés. Cuando un internauta tiene la desgracia de teclear palabras prohibidas en un e-mail, como por ejemplo el nombre de un conocido disidente, recibe un mensaje de aviso indicándole que su texto se considera una “amenaza para la seguridad del Estado”. Pocos segundos después, su navegador de Web se cierra automáticamente...” (Reporteros sin fronteras)

What's happening? Is is so difficult to let everybody express freely? I guess they have forgotten something really important: freedom of expression is a HUMAN RIGHT, it isn't something they can play or commerce with!

Just to finish, I let you here a video, in order to make you think and meditate even more.
I'm looking forward to reading your opinions!

P.S: By the way, in CPCR's last class we also studied a little bit of culture jamming -taking a popular icon and modify him/her. Here you have an example, he is Tiger Woods (the golf player). Just to make you laugh a little after this "protest post".

sábado, 19 de marzo de 2011

Misunderstanding the use of hastags.

On 11th March, Japan was shaken by the worst earthquake of its history. The seism, of magnitude 9.0 in the Ritcher's Scale, caused a huge tsunami that devastated the northeast coast of the archipelago. But it wasn't enough with that. It wasn't enough with thousands of deaths and injuries, villages that have completely disappear, and debris everywhere. They are also suffering a nuclear crisis. The shakes lead to great damage in the nuclear power stations, which can involve a radioactive explosion, similar to the one in Chernobil in 1986.
It's impossible to pretend that nothing has happened. Even when we are 10.000 km away from them. I don't know the rest, but I can't.
Watch this videos, impotence is the least you can feel.

That's why people try to do their best, they try to help in what they can, however minimal it is. Se trata de poner nuestro pequeño granito de arena. It was enough with spending 10 minutes on twitter (read it, it's quite interesting: http://www.europapress.es/portaltic/internet/noticia-save-the-children-convoca-10-minutos-twitter-japon-20110317130518.html ) or just using hastags.

Hastags are used to highlight key words or topics in a tweet. They were created originally by the users of Twitter as a way to categorize messages.
If you add a hastag to you tweet and you have a public account, anyone doing a search for that hastag will find your tweet.
Of course the disaster in Japan had one hastag: #Pray4Japan. It was used by thousands of people, even famous. Today we are going to talk about one of its users, David Bisbal.

After being riddled with jokes because of his peculiar tweet about the situation in Egypt (http://www.lavanguardia.es/gente/20110201/54109141123/un-desafortunado-tweet-de-bisbal-sobre-egipto-inspira-una-hilarante-etiqueta-de-chistes.html ), the Spanish singer is again the center of attention: he added the hastag of Japan at the end of his tweets about his concerts and his appearance in the recent released Spanish film Torrente 4.

It may have just be an error because of lack of knowledge of using twitter (why not? Let's give him the benefit of the doubt), but many have interpreted it as a way to be publicized, because this hastag -which is a world wide trending topic- gives much more visibility to the publication of Bisbal than the one that wouldn't be given without it, just because it would only be visible for those who follow him or those who would do a search on the singer.
Because of this, a new hastag has been created: #prayforbisbal. There people refer to the lack of ability of the singer to use Twitter.

Well, it's clearly known that Twitter is getting more and more influence on our society nowadays (I recommend you to visit this blog to read further info about Twitter: http://beatrizcalvo.wordpress.com/ ) and even famous people -who live in their world of Yupi- should be concerned about that; they should know that through their tweets there are really showing who they are, their personality. And things like Bisbal's comments are really bad promo for them. They shouldn't forget they are famous, they are exposed to all kinds of expectation.
140 characters can ruin your reputation!

"Lo bueno que tienen las redes sociales es que nos ponen a todos al mismo nivel, famosos o no" (Castellanos)

Para mis lectores españoles que tienen problemas con el inglés, este vídeo resume más o menos de lo que he hablado: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMAYM8yFjmg (Mamá ya puedes enterarte de algo! :D )

sábado, 12 de marzo de 2011

Internet: a global tool?

Hi all. Welcome to my atleast3weeks proyect on Participatory Journalism subject. I'm Alba and I hope you enjoy it.
As you can see, I'm writing a blog. Yeah, that's fashionable nowadays. Actually, everything related to the Internet is in fashion today. I wonder what would be trendy in those places where Internet seems to be very far from civilization.
I guess you know now what I'm going to talk about; I'm going to study the Digital Divide.
The digital divide commonly refers to the gap or imbalance in people's access to digital information and technology, including physical access, economic resources and skills. In other words, it is the gap between those who do and those who do not have access to computers, networks, etc.
By the way, I can't see the point of many scientists of not including in the term other digital equipment such as mobile telephony and digital TV. It doesn't make sense to me. You don't need to investigate deeply to prove they should be added. You know, go to my class and see how at least 75% of my mates are using the Blackberry. I think this kind of devices will get in the near future, the same relevance as computers have today.

But let's go back to the the Digital Divide thing. (Vayamos al grano). It is still a problem considering the unachieved goal of universal access to computers and Internet connections. That's why it appears (or should appear) as a key issue in every country political agenda.

According to Jan van Dijk there are four successive and accumulative types of access that mark the steps to be taken by individual users in the total process of appropriation of digital technology:
  1. Motivation.
  2. Material access, among others physical access.
  3. Skills access, (number of “digital skills”) required to work with digital technology.
  4. Usage.

Acquiring the motivation to use a computer and to achieve an Internet connection is the first step to get access to the digital techonologies. Here is where we can find not only the “have-nots” but also the “want-nots” people. I mean, the ones who don't have access to the Internet -because of economical problems and resources, for example- and the ones who don't want to have it. In this cases technophobia -fear of technology and distrust of its beneficial effects- and computer anxiety -feeling of discomfort, stress, or fear experieced when confronting computers- usually make their appearance as major barriers of access.
The main reasons for refusing to use computers and get connected to the Internet are the following: no need or significant usage opportunities, no time or liking, rejection of the medium, lack of money and lack of skills.
For instance, my grandfather: he is completely satisfied with the TV or the radio. "Using the Internet? Bah, that's not for me..."

The following type of access is related to the extended thought that the problem of the digital divide is solved as soon as everybody has a computer and Internet connection. But that's not true at all. It's needed to make a distinction between physical access and material access. I will use a clear example to clarify this idea. A family can have a computer at home, used by the mother and the children but not by the father. Well, here we can see how he has material access to it but not physical...That has happened in my family for years, fortunately that has changed, and my father is getting more and more into the possibilities the web can bring. He started being interested on further information from Barça (http://www.fcbarcelona.com/web/english/) and now he is even thinking on having a twitter account!

After having acquired the motivation to use computers and some kind of physical access to them, one has to learn to manage the hardware and the software. As stated by van Dijk, the "digital skills" are a succession of three types of skills: operational skills -capacities to work with hardware and software-, the information skills -skills to search, select and process information in computer and network sources- divided into formal information and substantial information skills, and strategic skills -capacities to use computer and network sources as the means for particular goals and for the general goal of improving one's position in society.
Nowadays institutions are offering courses to learn how to use computers, normally for old people. The problem is most of them are too expensive for elderly, as they have a low retirement pay.

Finally, the actual usage of digital media is the final stage and ultimate goal of the total process of  appropriation of technology, what we call access. Having sufficient motivation, physical access and skills to apply digital media are necessary but not sufficient conditions of actual use. Usage can be measured in at least 4 ways: usage time, usage applications, broadband or narrowband use and more or less active or creative use.

Well, now we know the heaviest part (the theory), it's time to make conclusions. 
We already know that Internet access is creating inequalities among countries, societies, and even families. Just as Manuel Castells said "Internet determines society, society determines the Internet". It's the moment to act, as government policies don't seem to be enough. How? Teaching our grandparents, for example. Small things are the ones that change the world. Small changes will lead to big ones.
Well, that's my opinion, I'm looking forward to hearing from your proposals!
Meanwhile, I let you here a video that maybe could give you inspiration... :)