Tag Archives: twitter

Common Sense in Egypt

In ‘Common Sense’ his (anonymously published) pamphlet on the creation of government and society, Thomas Paine described how a ramshackle group of people might form a government:

“Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of Regulations, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by natural right will have a seat.”

Paine published this in 1776, in the midst of the American revolution. It aimed to remind the American people of the kind of government they should be creating – representative and democratic – with every voice heard. An organisation that remembers it is representative of the people, and not that the people are subjagated by it.

Governments today are often not like this. Politicians are power-hungry and fly around the world in private jets, enjoy limousines to ferry them from one meeting to the next, and far from representing the people of their country, they often become an untouchable elite answerable only to themselves.

Not every politician is like this. It still pleases me to see political representatives in ‘normal’ situations, such as on the bus or underground. I met (until recently shadow chancellor) Alan Johnson on the tube once and he explained to me that it is the best way to get around London. This is the kind of pragmatic ‘normal’ behaviour that keeps elected officials closer to the people they are supposed to represent.

But away from England and America, there are far more despotic regimes where leaders suck wealth from their people and enjoy a life most can only dream of. Often the people on the streets don’t even get a real chance to elect or choose those leaders, and if they do get an election, it’s rigged anyway.

Revolution has been the historic answer, sweeping away a corrupt regime and introducing a fairer society. However revolution is hard to control and even harder to create – it doesn’t just happen because people are fed up.

But look at what is now happening in north Africa. The people of Tunisia rose up and removed their corrupt government. It’s overstating the power of the Internet to suggest that this was a social media revolution, but the fact is that 1 in 5 Tunisians is on Facebook – and this was a major contributory factor in spreading the news of the initial suicide that sparked the protests.

The Tunisian leaders failed to block the Internet in time. Egypt has seen protests all week now and the protestors have used the Internet (#j25) to promote the idea of a mass protest by the entire nation today after prayers. The police chiefs have already warned the government that if the protesting crowds swell to anything greater than 70,000 people then the police will be overwhelmed and can offer the government no protection.

Naturally, the government has banned access to the Internet.

Whatever happens today in Egypt, revolution or not, it will be reported on and spread throughout the world. A light will spark in the mind of every person dissatisfied with the way their leaders fail to represent the people – especially those leaders who sit in power for decades, only to hand the riches of office to their own children. Since when could a government leader believe that they own the right to hand power to their child? It’s surprising just how many leaders still behave this way.

Not for much longer.

Julian Assange may have been vilified by the USA for his Wikileaks website, but what he showed the world is that any government – even one that proclaims to be democratic – needs to answer to the people who elected them.

And the Internet is now handing power, and freedom, back to the people.
Big Ben in front of the sun

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Ealing Tweetup has a supporter!

The green power management people with an office in Ealing, 1e, have agreed to support the next Ealing Tweetup on February 15th…!

Ealing Tweetup

1e supported the recent launch of Angelica Mari’s new book in London. Just take a look at the images here to see how much fun that party was – and the great thing is that the same band who played at the book launch will be at the next Tweetup.
Reboot book launch @ Waxy's on Dec 2 2010

Yes, it’s the Biblecode Sundays playing live in Ealing on February 15th… check out this link for more information and to sign up for your place…!

BBC Radio 4: The Secret History of Social Networking

BBC Technology editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, is launching a new radio series on BBC radio 4 on January 26th titled ‘The Secret History of Social Networking.’ It’s a view on how far social networks have come, where they came from, and where they might head to in future.

What is particularly interesting for me is that my wedding in Ealing on December 3rd last year features right at the start of the series, as an example of just how far things have come… I used Facebook to invite guests to the wedding and communicate the agenda for the day.
Angelica-and-Mark-wedding_DSC4104

Facebook was useful because almost all my family and friends are on there. It’s true, there are some Facebook refuseniks and I had to update them by text message, and some partners of friends are not always on my friend list, but on the whole I managed to update everyone using a Facebook event.
Facebook wedding invitation

It was an amazing day and I’m fortunate enough to have arranged a repeat of the day out in São Paulo soon. The BBC radio crew filmed a large section of my wedding in London for use in website trailers for the radio programme, so I’m going to edit together footage from their video and arrange my Brazilian wedding inside an old city centre cinema. We can watch some of the London footage and repeat the ceremony in front of a cinema audience before getting an old London Routemaster bus to transport us across the city to a restaurant for a bit of a post-second-wedding-party…

I’m looking forward to hearing Rory’s programme, though we had consumed a fair amount of Champagne by the time he started recording questions so if any of it sounds slurred then please forgive me – he should have recorded the speech parts early in the morning!
Mark and Angelica-5017

Farewell Blighty

In my last blog post I listed a few places I will be over my last couple of weeks in the UK before I leave to go and live in Brazil.

I have arranged a couple of farewell events, one for my local Ealing tweetup crowd, and the other for anyone else who wants to see me in central London. Take a look here for details:

Rupert St, Dec 22

Ealing, Dec 23

See you there!
Matilda at South Ealing

Ealing Tweetup with Ronan MacManus

What a fantastic evening last week in Ealing! Ronan MacManus did an amazing job with the music, even managing to avoid the temptation of playing Stairway to Heaven… despite offering to play ‘any’ requests!

The team at the Rose & Crown did a fantastic job keeping every glass full. It was a Tuesday evening, but the pub was packed… Thanks go to Xerox for ensuring that the food and drinks were free for the bloggers attending the event. Neville Hobson wrote a great overview of the tweetup here.

BBC Radio 6 came to cover the event and about 90 people showed up to talk, network, chat, and hear the music. It was the best Tweetup yet. I was thinking about trying to do another one before Christmas, but with all the usual parties at Christmas and with only a month left to plan, I think it’s too much of a rush… Early February looks like a better option to me. Opinions?

I have over 40 vox pop videos – people giving their opinion on the event – and the entire set by Ronan, so you can expect to see me tweeting some video links soon. I’ve been holding back on the video because it’s taking a while to get everything edited, but you can expect to see it all arriving soon.

Ronan Macmanus live in Ealing

Come to Elvis Costello’s launch party!

Elvis Costello’s new album ‘National Ransom’ is out next week.

On Thursday the 28th, he has a very special and very private launch party for the album at lunchtime in Soho. It’s going to be in the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club and these tickets are not for sale – it’s press and invite-only.

But you can win two tickets to this special event through a competition by entering on the Elvis Costello website here!

I’m going to be there live blogging and commenting on the event on Twitter, so if you win, do say hello!

Elvis recently joined Twitter, so if you are on there then why not go and follow him? And if you are a Twitter user then I’m hosting the Ealing Tweetup next week, featuring a live set by Elvis’s brother, Ronan MacManus…

Elvis Costello

How is the music industry changing?

Ronan Macmanus is playing at the Ealing Tweetup on Oct 26th. It’s going to be a gig in a pub jam-packed with bloggers and tweeters.

So, I thought I would try grasping at the collective intelligence of all those bloggers on that evening. I’ve printed these cards that I will cascade all over the pub that evening… aimed at getting the bloggers to think about how they can help an artist like Ronan – and maybe to do some immediate blogging and tweeting while they can see him performing!

If you are a music blogger then you are very welcome to join the tweetup. The nice people at Xerox are making sure that the bloggers have drinks to help lubricate the writing process. I’m very interested in how social media is changing the music industry and I’m planning to write some more about this next week and will be at the Music 4.5 conference soon – let me know if you plan to be there…

Ronan MacManus Tweetup