Nov 6, 2010

Preeliminary survey results of ICT use by social movements worldwide - snippet

So I am in the depths of analysis, but here's a short set of interesting numbers I just compiled. I was looking at member age ranges by sampling frame, here's the percentage of organizations with young membership (18-30 as percentage of total number of organizations in that frame...

ALL    21.84%
GLOBAL   16.34%
POLAND-BASED    26.43%
INNOVATIVE*   37.04%

*INNOVATIVE - my snowballing sampling scheme, based on surveying the movements/organizations whose webpages revealed significant Web 2.0 knowledge.

It appears that innovative organizations have the youngest membership; followed by Polish in the middle, and at the other end, we have the global/Pittsburgh organizations.

Now, here are the same stats for the oldest membership (over 50):

ALL    11.21%
PITT    10.71%
GLOB    16.99%
PL    5.71%
IN    7.41%

Global organizations have the older membership, but Polish ones are again an interesting outlier, having an even smaller number of old-membership organizations than the Innovative group. I wonder if this is because older generation in Poland has no tradition of activism?

So, as expected, we can talk about young members using new tools more often, but the Polish data does make for another interesting and unexpected story

I am now compiling the data, expect more in the coming months. I hope to be able to give you full analysis coming Spring.

Jul 29, 2010

Briding of global digital divide

I was looking at some archival stats on Internet usage.

Compare the Top 10 Internet languages in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and the latest (Dec 2009 for me, your mileage may vary as that link is dynamic).

Look at the 2004 numbers: it is very much the core, developed, First world, China aside.

Still, its pitiful penetration numbers aside... what was (is?) wrong with France, Spain and Portugal? Their penetration numbers are China-like (~10%), whereas the rest of Europea was around 50%.

Now, look at 2010. In addition to China, whose penetration number have improved greatly (from 2004's 8% to 29.7%), note the inclusion of Arabic (17.5%) and Russian (32.3%). 

Oh, don't get confused with langauges and countries. I was for a moment shocked with low penetration numbers for French, Spanish and Portugal, but remember - those languages are spoken in many periphery, developing, Third World countries in Africa and Latin & South America- thus the pitiful results (here are EU stats, and here is a breakdown for Spanish language, for example).

One of the most interesting numbers, for me, is the diminishing percentage of English-speakers as the % of Internet users - from 35.9% in 2004 to 30.1% in 2009.

And how about tripling of Internet users totals in non-Top 10 languages (from 100m to 300m), or nearly doubling of Internet users totals (from 800m to 1,400m) in that period?

Around 2006 the stat site started to report "Internet Growth for Language (since 2000)". For 2006, it was 128% for English, 346% for Chinese, 436% for non-Top 10 languages, and 189% for all languages. In 2007, Arabic enters the chart, with 940% growth (!). For 2009 we have 251.7% for English, 1162% for Chines, 2297% for Arabic, 525% for non-Top-10 languages and 400% for the world.

Global digital divide still exists, no doubt about that.  But it is being bridged, as the rest of the world is catching up. 'bout time...

PS. Here's an interesting take on this from The Economist.

May 11, 2010

Abdication of Jimbo

Well, maybe not a total abdication, but Jimbo has relinquished a substantial portions of his powers. See his announcement and the context.

In an upcoming academic article I discuss why calling Wikipedia a monarchy/dictatorship, while not too off the mark in its very early stages, is no longer true. It's nice not to be contradicted by the current events :)

Apr 22, 2010

Preeliminary survey results of ICT use by social movements worldwide

The first results of my global survey are here. So, what are the numbers? See them on Google Docs.

Those are very early results, and I am hoping to increase the response rate significantly (as in: from ~5% to at least 15-30%). A more international response would be nice, too, although it is inevitable that a Western/English bias will appear (English hegemony of the Internet, etc.).

The results linked above combine results from my local and current global survey, for a net total of 62 responses. For results from the first, local survey (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) only, see here.

Once I get enough responses from the global survey, I will post another update here.

The survey is still ongoing (and likely will be for a few more months). If you would like to take it, and did not receive an @ from me with the invitation to it, you can use this generic link to access the survey.

Apr 18, 2010

Another Big Cyc protest song translated: Dictator

Some time ago I translated into English the Mówi Bagdad (Baghdad Speaking) protest song by Big Cyc. Now, I did it for the Dyktator (Dictator) song.

Source of Polish lyrics: link

The music video clip, on youtube, till it is taken down:

This the Polish version. There is also a Belorussian, which I once saw on youtube, but I think it was already taken down :(


I know a tyrant with a black moustache
Who likes sports very much
He plays hockey and basketball
Sometimes he goes to a tennis court
Puts a shot at opposition
In Duma he sneaks like a cat
He values light atlhetics
Because he loves the sickle and the hammer

Lukashenko - concrete, hammer, wall, dres
Lukashenko - Brezhnev, Stalin, Pinochet

He knows the secrets of economy
Best student of the kolkhoz schools
He doesn't like to read the papers
He hates the word "BISON"
You can be beaten to a pulp
If you sing like I do
Freedom in a police state
Dicatorship in the shadows of the bars

refrain x 2

Mar 8, 2010

Civil disobedience 1: Chihuly's photos on Commons

For a while now I wanted to showcase some interesting images deleted from Wikimedia Commons due to copyright paranoia. For those unfamiliar with our modern copyright laws, not only a lot of photos on the net are copyrighted and you cannot reuse them - but a lot of objects CANNOT BE LEGALLY PHOTOGRAPHED. For example, almost the entirety of modern art, even if it is on public display, cannot be photographed.

First case:

1) Three photos of mine of a decorative sculpture in the foyer of Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, US.


Commons deletion discussion: here

Summary: modern art is copyrighted by artists (in this case, Dale Chihuly), that includes photos of it. There is no freedom of panorama in United States. This means that you cannot take pictures of Mr. Chihuly's works and share them with others, no matter how much you'd like to advertise his wonderful creations.

Outcome: photos will be deleted from Commons collection, which will entitle their removal from various articles, such as on Mr. Chihuly and Phipps Conservatory. Note how the copyright that is supposedly protecting the artists is in fact hurting them, in this case limiting the informative content of the primary reference work about them.

Current use examples:

Expect them to disappear soon.

Solution: wait 70 after Mr. Chihuly's death (unless copyright is retroactively extended, again...). Or contact him and ask for permission (assuming he is still the copyright holder and haven't sold the rights to that particular sculpture to the Gardens). Unfortunately, this is quite time consuming, and few Wikimedia volunteers take care of that, when so many other tasks need doing. I have done it myself a few times in the past, and on occasion managed to save an image or two, but it is a time consuming task (communicating with real person, with no guarantee they'll bother to reply, and then having to convince them to give permission to release the photos under a free license - which is likely a concept they've never heard of - and then have fun explaining why Wikimedia needs the commercial-use-allowed one... (because our ethics requires we explain to them what the free license we need entitles in detail...)). Compared to that, categorizing some images or translating descriptions is so much easier... sigh.

So Mr. Chihuly's article on Wikipedia will soon be gutted of all images of his works. Feel free to tell me how this benefits him :)

Note: This blog post is by no means intended as a jibe against Mr. Chihuly (who is almost certainly unaware of how the law is "protecting him"), nor against Wikimedia Commons (which being a non-profit organization on a donation budget cannot really risk being sued by somebody, with all the costs it incurs). It is however intended a a jibe against the current copyright system, showing how it is hurting all of us - artists and the public, both of which it claims to protect.

In the coming months, I intend on covering other media deletions from Commons (and maybe a few examples of when images were saved). Stay tuned,
Listed on BlogShares Creative Commons License
Voice of the Prokonsul by Piotr Konieczny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.