Via: Online MBA Programs
I am thrilled to announce that we will have Fox DESIGNWeek 2011 from March 11 - 18. The event has two components: North Broadband Challenge and incitexchange.
North Broadband Challenge
We will conclude the DESIGNWeek 2011 with incitexchange - an annual conference organized by the Center for Design+Innovation at the Fox School of Business, Temple University. Each year, a roster of international leaders in the fields of design, innovation, management and technology gather in Philadelphia to exchange ideas about their work, their thoughts and observations. A series of rapid-fire short individual presentations, coordinated dialogues and moderated panel discussions combine to encourage participants to talk, share and spontaneously collaborate. Hosted in the state-of-the-art facilities of the Fox School of Business’ Alter Hall, incitexchange builds upon the Fox School’s groundbreaking initiatives to integrate a design perspective into the culture of management education. As the first major business school to integrate design into its required all MBA programs, this conference reflects the goals to break down barriers and cross boundaries to generate innovative ideas.
The theme of incitexchange 2011 is "Boundaries: Re-imagined, Re-shaped, and Re-defined". Our world is divided by boundaries between disciplines, entities and ideologies. Boundaries between Art and Science, Government and its Citizens, and Business and Consumers. Breaching these boundaries is where real change occurs. This year, we will explore a range of ideas from the emerging possibilities for technology to redefine urban experiences to the way a design perspective is reshaping management education. Join us to share ideas with industry leaders, web renegade activists, designer advocates, political leaders, foodies, and discipline-crossing academics and researchers.
Come and join us!
The founder of Twitter posted a blog, "The Tweets Must Flow". At the same time, working with Twitter, Google introduced voice-enabled Twitting service in order allow Internet-striped Egyptians to tweet through a voice mail. They are heralded as heroic acts by many internet zealots. And it fits nicely into a narrative of technology as a force for positive social change. These two are visible forms of corporate activism by two firms that represent social media. Given how corporations are often associated with the forces of resistance to change, this is a refreshing development.
However, this type of new corporate activism makes me a bit uncomfortable as well. After all, these two companies represent the "face" of social media industry. What is not clear is how much of this new corporative activism by Twitter and Google is indeed motivated by their commercial calculations. Indeed, these were really good PR stunts, if I take a very cynical perspective. After all, they are only accountable to their shareholders. In fact, Twitter is not even a public company yet. These companies are led by executives who are only accountable to their investors.
While I, along with millions of social media users, cheer for the stance that they take on this issue, I wonder will we do the same if they take a similar unilateral corporative activism stance on more controversial issues? In fact, will they take a similar stance even if their commercial interests can be compromised? Not that I am suspicious about their motivations, we need people who remain skeptical and vigilant about these new corporate activisms.
I read two articles (this and this) on the role of social media on what is going on Egypt. The first one is written by Malcolm Gladwell. The second one was written by Egyptian author, Haisam Abu-Samra.
Given what he has written few months ago, it is not surprising that Gladwell is very dismissive about the role of Twitter in Egyptian Revolution. He insists that it is the human voice and the contents, not the medium, that ignites a social revolution. He begins his article by arguing that it is what Mao said, not "how" he said that matters. But if President Hu Jintao starts twitting his thoughts and posting his ideas on his Facebook wall, it WILL be a news. Can you imagine millions of Chinese people replying on his wall with what they think about his idea? It will be even more of a news given that China is blocking Facebook.
The article by Haisam Abu-Samra is far more nuanced and interesting. Here's what he wrote:
The web is in many ways a more modern, much larger version of the kinds of public spaces and forums that have made citizenship possible throughout history. Losing it for a week didn’t stop Egyptians from protesting or airing their frustrations; we still know how to use physical public spaces, after all. But it did remind us that a forum for the open exchange of words and ideas is central to any sustainable democracy; alternatively, we end up in a perilous cycle of control and chaos. Instead of expressing pent-up opinions with fists and bullets, as is happening now in the streets of Cairo, people who can express them freely in conversation, even in a virtual one, have a chance to hear one another and deliberate together about the future. Never mind the vacant symbolism of “Twitter revolutions” and Youtube activism: losing the Internet at the hand of our own government simply offers us a powerful reminder of why we actually want the Internet to begin with, and why we’re doing any of this.
So the question is, can social revolutions happen without Twitter or other social media in today's world? Of course, the answer is yes. But are they the same old revolutions? The answer is probably no. A question is how are they different? Can someone explore structural and temporal differences between old political revolutions and SNS-enabled ones? That will make an interesting research project.