Into the scrum

The world-changing potential of new technologies is often best realized not by people whose initial goal was to change the world, but by those who dove into smaller passion projects, put in their hours and honed their craft without an eye on earth-shattering outcomes.

From his experience as a founder of Global Voices, an aggregator of citizen media from around the world, Mr. Zuckerman says he has learned to value the roots laid down by a community of bloggers.

In Kenya, he said, bloggers were important commentators and reporters in 2007-8 on a disputed election, and people would ask why there were so many bloggers in Kenya.

It turned out, he said, that “Kenya has the second-most bloggers in Africa and that mostly they are not writing about politics; many are writing about rugby.” There was, he said, “a fascinating latent capacity — people who knew how to use the tools, knew how to write well, to tell a story with words and pictures.”

The Russia-Georgia war, he said, offered a contrast.

“Suddenly a bunch of people flocked to blogging tools,” he said. “We had never heard about of lot of those people. A number of people were manufacturing blogs from whole cloth for propaganda purposes. It was hard to know who they were, if they were credible. In Kenya, we knew who they were; we knew their favorite rugby team.”


from “As Blogs Are Censored, It’s Kittens to the Rescue,” by Noam Cohen, NYTimes.com, 21 June 2009

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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