8 Ways to Stop Misinformation in Its Tracks

Editor's Note: I usually refrain from discussing politics. Last week's U.S. Senate theatrics, however, were way too Animal Farmish to resist addressing. The truth will not always set you free when Web 2.0 unleashes scary boogeymen. That sounds harsh but sadly illustrating my point is last week's U.S. Senate vote killing U.S. ratification of a United Nations treaty aimed at bringing the rest of the world in line with U.S. standards on how to treat the … [Read more...]

Limits on Federal Public Relations Activities? Sort of…

I read with interest yesterday a post on a "wide-ranging" Senate investigation into the federal government's use of public relations services. From the Institute for Public Relations website: "Twice in the past year there have been investigations into public relations spending by the federal government. The most recent was launched in late February by Senator Claire McCaskill (D–Mo.) and Senator Rob Portman (R–Ohio), who have triggered a wide-ranging investigation … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Ground VOA’s Global Ambitions in Reality

Just after reading a fascinating post on Mobile Mahaal, an innovative experiment making radio more interactive in Afghanistan, I read another by Kim Andrew Elliott on proposed Voice of America (VOA) budget cuts and programs "under other names." Kim wrote: "Congress should not spend money on an international news service that the private sector can accomplish at no cost to the taxpayers." Kim's comment was in reaction to a post on the Mountain Runner blog by David … [Read more...]

Social Media, Democracy & the Death of the ‘Big Lie’

I let out a huge sigh of relief after reading the results of a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey released today. It wasn't because the survey didn't find social media is isolating us inside digital bubbles. Rather, I was relieved because it didn't find social media polarizing perspectives and harming democracy. According to Pew's website: "We measured 'perspective taking,' or the ability of people to consider multiple points of view. There is no … [Read more...]

State Department Abandons Cold War Mindset!

I was greatly relieved to learn the U.S. Department of State is recalibrating its public diplomacy efforts toward social media and finally abandoning its Cold War mindset. As part of these efforts, America.gov, an ambitious public diplomacy portal launched during the Bush years, has been shut down. According to The Hill: A message on the front page of America.gov informs visitors that, as of March 31, the site is not being updated and will be archived. A notice … [Read more...]

Social Media: Democracy’s Ruin or a Better Planet?

With summer over and more time to read in the rainy fall days ahead, I decided to finally buy The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change, a book by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine that I've been meaning to read since it came out in June. So I drove to the nearest Borders, but it didn’t have the book. Then I drove to Barnes & Nobles. It wasn’t there either. Then I remembered the words of Jacques Ellul in Propaganda: The Formation of … [Read more...]