An autumnal feeling in the air...

A photo posted by Avi NiteGlow (@niteglow) on
When I see the leave colour changing I really feel like autumn has arrived. Yesterday I was walking through some woods near me enjoying the misty sunshine and feeling the crush of the leaves under my feet. Breathing in the cold air, I was thinking how changes like these can have a big effect.

Sunshine Music Whatever The Weather...

It's been a while since my last post but I am back with a whole new look, a more visual concept and more diverse content...

In May of this year I had the pleasure of walking along the beach in Cádiz, Spain. The sun was warm, the water cool and the views breathtaking! I really felt I needed to capture this vibe with a Drum'n'Bass mix to help keep the sunshine in my soul. #KeepShining Vol 4 - Summer Selection was born!

This Blog Is Under Construction

New content coming soon.....

Social capital: the benefit of Facebook ‘friends’

Intense Facebook usage is found to have a positive effect on psychological well-being.

A recent study in Behaviour & Information Technology investigated the role Facebook use plays in the creation or maintenance of social capital among 800 students from 7 universities in South Africa. Empirical research has linked social capital to many positives in society, such as improved mental and physical health and economic well-being.

The study suggests a strong association between the intensity of Facebook use and perceived bridging, bonding and maintaining of social capital. Facebook usage was also found to interact with measures of psychological well-being, suggesting that it might be beneficial to students experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction.

‘Social capital: the benefit of Facebook ‘friends’’ features in a recent issue of Behaviour & Information Technology.

Google Reader Demise Trumps The New Pope

Apparently there was a new pope chosen yesterday but you probably wouldn't have caught the news as easily on Twitter. This is due to the uproar that was caused when Google announced the closure of Google Reader on July 1st 2013. Business people, Social Media enthusiasts, Gamers, Journalists and other peeps were just so outraged that Google Reader began trending on Twitter and is still trending at the time of writing! There was even a petition submitted set up and it currently has over 60,000 names!

We can only guess at the thinking behind this but I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with getting more people on Google +. Also lots of people sync their Google Reader feeds to other platforms and, of course, Google can't sell ad space on those. It seems a bit of a shame that this was such an abrupt affair. People have a lot of trust in the Google brand and I think something like this will have a negative impact.  If an increase Google + usage is the goal, why not integrate Google Reader with Google + then look at phasing it out over a longer period of time? July seems very sudden.

Then again Google Reader wasn't the most social of tools and RSS is almost 15 years old now! Maybe  it's just the next stage in our evolution of online media consumption. I guess we'll move to something which is targeted, customisable but also social....

Road Goes On....

This is my first post in a long time and it is being done on a mobile device. The Mobile and Social Media landscape has changed so much since I started this blog. Now we have more visual sites Pinterest and Instagram rising in popularity. Google, Facebook and Apple are still fighting for the next paradigm with others joining the fray.

The mobile space has grown greatly and this is something I have found very interesting. Its democratising influence along with Social Media is revolutionising the way the world communicates. The growth in cloud based collaborative tools is enabling people to collaborate across the world.
For me this continues to be a road that I want to explore further.... though maybe with a more visual twist!

Keep Calm... (love this!)

Stop SOPA!

NIteGlow stands for an open, creative and enlightened internet. SOPA will take us back to the dark ages. Even though it's happening in the US it would serious implications for us in the UK too.
What is SOPA?

3 Years On The Journey

I have been busy this year on a number of projects and events. I thought I would write a quick blog post as today marks a milestone on this blog. It is three years since I set up this blog and my Twitter account.

This year has been quieter on the blogging front but those who follow on Twitter definitely know that I have been out and about! I've been focusing more on my MixCloud DJ mixes this year because, as many know, Drum'n'Bass and Dubstep are smashing it up at the moment (especially with DJ Fresh's Louder getting to number 1!).

During this year, we have witnessed regime changes in the Middle East and riots here in the UK. Social Media played a part in these events and it is now safe to say that Social Media has firmly established itself globally and become mainstream.

Companies now favour putting links to their Facebook and Twitter than bog-standard links to a static website. In the midst of an economic crisis Social Media continues to grow and flourish encouraging people across to collaborate.

In the last year or so I have several ups and downs. Unfortunately, I have encountered some quite 'motivated' haters around and about. My message to them is that NiteGlow has always been about shining bright and carrying on in the face of these challenges. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger they say!

Having said that there has definitely been more ups and than downs. I am continuing to meet and work with some excellent and inspirational people. For instance the TEDxBristol event last month was a landmark event in Bristol and it was great to be involved in the Social Media, PR and event organisation.

In the coming year, I want to give this blog a revamp so expect some changes! I will also be getting involved in more local events and community projects. There will be more DJ Mixes going up on my MixCloud page as well new tunes on the SoundCloud page.

In short plenty more to come so roll on next year! Remember you can always catch me on Twitter!

Live Blog and Photos from The TEDxBristol Event at The M-Shed (8th September 2011)

In case you missed all the hubbub from TEDxBristol over the last week, the event went down a storm. We even got on BBC Points West. We also received lots of support both locally and internationally. This event was several months in the making and was the first high profile TEDx event to take place in Bristol.

It was great working on the Social Media and PR for the event. I have to say I have learnt loads in the last few months.

During the event I was in front of a laptop live-blogging on Twitter and CoveritLive! It was a pretty crazy whir of non-stop soundbites. You can review the live-blog below:

You can also check out the event photos below. We certainly had a blast and Imogen Heap put on a great show!

Also I would like to give a big shout out to the rest of the team who are featured below:

TEDxBristol is almost here!

It's been a long road since I first became one of the TEDxBristol team a couple of months back. We have been through the many twists and turns that are part and parcel of organising an event like this.

If you haven't heard about TEDxBristol please see previous post or head to the website or Facebook page (what rock have you been living under?!). The main event at the M-Shed is sold out but the event will be live-screened on the website as well as live-blogged.

This week we are also announcing our partnership with BBC Anchor Partnership. The Anchor Partnership was developed to build on the world class content created in Bristol through innovation projects,community engagement and bringing together cutting edge skills and thinking –and has supported a range of events in the city over the past 2 years.

As mentioned in the previous post we have some top-class speakers in TEDxBristol. Since the last post many more speakers have been announced so please check out the updated list. In addition to the speakers we have some interesting performances from Atto Mul and Imogen Heap.
Imogen Heap is a four-time Grammy nominated multi-instrumentalist who began writing music by her 13th birthday (and broke America by her 28th). She has been described as an innovative singer-songwriter with a quirky and inspirational character a tech savvy musician with an eccentric sense of style and uniquely graceful music. Check out the video below for her song 'Lifeline':

Thursday's event at the M-Shed should be definitely one to remember. I'd like to give a shout out to the rest of the team, sponsors, and, of course, anyone else who is supporting TEDxBristol.

TEDxBristol Event Aims To Inspire Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability

A month or so back I had a chat with Karl Hakeem Belizaire, Director of nonprofit organisation Mowgli. He mentioned to me that he was organising a TED event in Bristol and was on the hunt for someone to help with the Social Media and promotions side of it.

Being a big fan of TED events and passionate about local issues it was a no-brainer for me and I told Karl I would offer my support. I was the latest addition to TedxBristol team which was growing in size (more information on the team to follow). Since that initial conversation the pace has really picked up. Everyone who I have talked to has been really positive about the event which very encouraging.

For those that are not so familiar TED Events are conferences that bring together speakers and experts from different fields (see TED website for details).

The TEDxBristol event is on the
theme of 'the world around us' with special focus on creativity, innovation and sustainability. From compelling speakers to music acts; we are certainly enthusiastic that this will be a unique experience in Bristol.

The event will be held in the newly-opened M-Shed on the 8th September 2011. The confirmed speaker line-up is diverse as you can see below:

- Daniel Efergan & Gavin Strange, a creative combo working in the digital depths of Aardman Animations, strive to create fun through building games, nurturing communities and telling stories. Aardman Digital was recently awarded a BAFTA for the Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention website in the 2011 British Academy Television Awards.

- Richard Noble specialises in developing high risk ventures. Project Director of the BLOODHOUND Project, the engineering adventure for the 21st century, pushing the limits and inspiring young engineers and scientists with an incredible car capable of 1,000mph".

- Arthur Potts Dawson is a talented chef, restauranteur, cookery writer and social entrepreneur. His newest business venture, The People’s Supermarket, opened in June 2010 and is a not-for-profit co-operative social enterprise. Jamie Oliver recently described Arthur as “the original green chef”.

- Dr Marie-Annick Gournet is a Principal Lecturer in Intercultural Communication and Director of Widening Participation. The main interest is in the notion of identity, its basis and its relationship to culture. I am particularly interested in exploring the ideas of positive diversity and the impact- Tony Bury has spent the past three decades founding and running start up companies across the world. Philanthropist and serial entrepreneur, Tony is founder and trustee of Bristol based international charity the Mowgli Foundation, providing mentors who inspire, support and empower entrepreneurs in achieving their business and personal potential.

- Wendy Stephenson is a renewable energy engineer with 15 years experience in the environment and climate change sector. CEO of Converging World, a UK based charity that aims to address issues arising from social inequality, creating mechanisms which link communities in the developed and developing world.Only one hundred people will be able to share the experience. Register your interest by the 28th July.

I will make further announcements on this blog but for more information check out the main website (which went live today) and the TEDxBristol Twitter.

The Undiscovered Potential of People with Aspergers Syndrome/Autism

Last Wednesday 18th May I attended an information day on employment for people with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. I have blogged several times about the difficulties faced by people on the Autistic Spectrum so thought it would be good share some thoughts about this event.

It was organised by Diana Elliot, Branch Officer, NAS Avon Branch. She did an excellent job especially as she and her team raised the funds for the event themselves so they could make the tickets free.

The moment I entered the event I know there was something different about it. Often people with Aspergers Syndrome and Autism feel very isolated and alone. This event was special because it brought people on the spectrum, support workers, employment advisers, medical professionals and employers together.

Justify FullThe event featured speakers from many different background discussing various employment options and issues.

The issues that were raised, however, were nothing new. The NAS did a survey of 16 people with Aspergers Syndrome between the ages of 21-54 and found only 2 of them were in full-time employment. People with this condition find it more difficult dealing with interviews and work environments because they communicate differently. They also often have a high sensitivity to light or sound which can make open-plan offices difficult to work. They find office politics confusing to navigate too.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to accommodate the difficulties faced. While some have taken this on or others still fail to fulfill this requirement. They often will find other 'convenient' reasons as to why the person is not suited to the a job to cover their backs. This makes a discrimination very difficult to prove if it occurred.

However, this is only one side of the story. The speakers at the event all underlined the fact that people with Autism/Aspergers Syndrome have a vast amount of potential and value to offer. Anne O'Bryan (speaker with expertise in supported employment) pointed out that that many of the aspects that some employers find 'annoying' are actually strengths when looked at from a different perspective.

For instance people with Autism/Aspergers Syndrome need fixed routines and structures. This is ideal for roles that require a process to be repeated over and over again in the same way. Also people on the spectrum can spot potential problems that other people may miss as well as coming up with solutions to them. This is a classic situation where employers misunderstand and think the person is just being awkward.

Some other positive traits employers should consider are punctuality, dedication, loyalty and attention-to-detail. People on the spectrum are often very passionate and focused on certain areas. If these are aligned with their career then it surely the start of something successful.

What people with Autism/Aspergers Syndrome want is to be valued for their skills and be given the chance develop a career like everyone else. All to often employers place hurdles in the way of this mostly due to lack of understanding. This was a common theme that I got from the event.

All-told the event looks to be the start of brighter things for people with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome in Bristol area (and hopefully elsewhere). However, there is still a long way to go....

The 'Little People' aren't so 'Little' any more....

This is my second blog of the year! Unfortunately, I have just been so busy with various projects (bad excuse I know). However, those who follow me on Twitter know I am very much still out-and-about. As mentioned in the last post I have started a new job and am pushing the boundaries with more challenging campaigns.

In the last few months one thing has become clear to me. The people that governments and large corporates used to regard as 'little' are not so 'little' any more.

Since the beginning of the year we have seen revolutionary changes sweeping through the Arabic world starting with Egypt. These changes were started by the desire of the 'little people'. What is different is that they were able to mobilise themselves in common purpose with the use of Social Media tools. We haven't seen people organise themselves and take action like this in a long time (maybe not ever).

When I think back to the student protests in London last year it was the same spirit that was shown. The recent union protests in London are yet another example of this. After the terrible Earthquake in Japan, charity fund-raisers were organised around the world using Social Media.

I saw this same spirit on my doorstep last month on 25th March at the Bristol Twestival event (see previous post for details). In spite of some complications the event was a success raising almost £1000 for the Rainbow Centre. There were some great live-acts there. The beatboxers and Dub Mafia went down very well as you can see from the photos below:

It makes me think that if this is possible then we really can make a difference if we all put our minds to together and collaborate. Social Media has definitely levelled the playing field and democratised information exchange and communication. Larger entities are struggling with this change as they are not used to the engaging in dialogue in this way. Anyway for our part in Bristol I would say we have a many more Twestival-like events in us for the future.

I would like to take this opportunity to shout out the other Bristol Twestival organisers.

Also I would like to give a big shout to Danny Maddocks @babycalendars for getting up on the mike with Dub Mafia! See video below:

Bristol Twestival has landed!

I can't believe this is the first post I'm writing this year but here it is. I have been so busy with new projects and the usual Social Media mayhem that ensues my life. Anyway, in case you haven't noticed all the talk on Twitter, Bristol Twestival is back again on the 24th March at the Slug and Lettuce on St Nicholas Street.

This year we have a distinctly local theme and are supporting Bristol-based charity the Rainbow Centre. They do some fantastic work with providing free and professional support to children and their families affected by bereavement, life-threatening illness and cancer.

We are expect another good turn-out and have secured headline musical act; the Dub Mafia. That should get you Drum'n'Bass and dubstep heads in the swing of things fo' sho'. Also local comedian Paul Parry will be hosting the event and there will be yet more to announce this week.

Like last year we will have a raffle and we already have an iPad 2 and Kindle to give away. It is really great to be putting together another Twestival which now has a 3 year heritage.

If you want a flavour of what happend last time you can check out the blog post I did last year. It is great opportunity to meet other Twitterers and Bloggers face-to-face for a change. Anyway if you want to get involved head over to the Bristol Twestival ticket page. Our Early-bird tickets are now finished, however, tickets will still only set you back £7. It is a definite bargain I would say but I'm a bit biased of course!


Bristol Twestival will now take place at Metropolis (formerly known as Jesters)

135-137 Cheltenham Road
Bristol BS6 5RR

Top 10 Blog Posts That Made You Shine In 2010

It's that time of year again and people are in the Christmas spirit and celebrating the end of the year. Last year I did a list of the most popular post from this blog and I thought I would continue that theme this year. It's been an eventful year with Coalition Govenments, oil slicks, student protests, WikiLeaks revelations, lots of #uksnow and much more.

As for me I have grown my Twitter following to over 1,200 followers this year which is a significant milestone. It indicates people liked my content and what I've been saying which means a lot. In April I redesigned this blog and in September I launched the NiteGlow Sphere website which puts all my online presences in one place. As part of this I also launched a SoundCloud page to showcase my tunes, a MixCloud page for my DJ mixes, a Tumblr blog for various pictures/contents, and a Posterous page for other random thoughts. 13 October 2010 marked two years since NiteGlow came into existence so this was yet another milestone.

Of course, I have more plans for 2011 too namely the addition of NiteGlowTV but can't say too much about that at the moment!

So without further ado here are the most popular posts of 2010:

1. Asperger's Syndrome - The Untold Story Of Forgotten People: This post became the most popular post on this blog just hours after it was posted which gives an indication of how the issues it deals with have resonated with people. It gained 7 retweets on Twitter and 30 shares on Facebook and continues to get lots of traffic even now. It is also interesting to note that Google Zeitgeist 2010 ranked 'aspergers' as the third most searched for health related query which indicates growing awareness around the subject. High profile cases such as that of Gary McKinnon (who has AS) have also helped.

2. Life In The Slipstream: This post deals with Facebook's growing dominance, the digital divide and the growth of the social stream online. Increasingly it is a stream or now maybe a torrent (no pun intended!) of information which can be confusing to navigate or regulate.

3. Bristol Twestival Was A Blast: In March I helped organise and PR the Bristol Twestival charity event in aid of Concern Worldwide. It was publicised all over the local press and publications with lots of coverage and chatter online. I was very happy in getting the BBC to cover the story too. It was great to work with local people and businesses to make the event the success it was. We raised over £5,600 for Concern Worldwide exceeding all expectations! I am definitely looking forward to our next event... :)

4. The Internet: A network of networks and a culture of cultures: This is a post about the growing online communities and the connections between them. The internet is place where cultures and ideas are continually being mixed and melded.

5. Information Activism: A WikiLeaks Outlook: Unless you have been living under a rock you cannot fail to have heard about WikiLeaks. Here I talk about what Julian Assange calls 'Information Activism' and what it might mean for the media landscape and governments around the world. Since this post was written there have been many more developments as we have seen! I also wrote another post here after the release of the cables and Julian Assange's arrest.

6. Defining Social Media: It is very difficult to actually define Social Media for many reasons mostly because it means different things to different people and it such a new evolving phenomenon. This post shines a further lite on these issues.

7. Social Media And Hiphop - The Great Analogy: As a Hiphop fan of many years I have often noticed the similarities between Hiphop and Social Media. From ghetto stories, to bling-bling, to wack mcs and player haterz, this post has it all!

8. The Online Gold Rush - A Great Wild West Story: This is a lite-hearted post comparing large tech/online companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook to no-good outlaw cowboy posses from the Wild West in search of online gold and the American Dream! Need I say more?!? ;)

9. Has Facebook Sold Out Your Privacy?: There has been much talk and criticism of Facebook's handling of its users' privacy this year. I take a more in-depth look at the issues that matter and why they are important for all users to be aware of as they share more information on Facebook.

10. I don't need to be qualified to be a human being!: This post was influenced and inspired by @ChrisBrogan's excellent keynote on Social Media which I attended at the Likeminds event on 26th February 2010. Often businesses are all about numbers when it comes to Social Media strategies but what matters most is the human touch and making people feel special. In fact even dogs understand this! ;)

Finishing Thoughts.....

That about wraps it up for another year! It's all flown so quickly. I'd like to give a big shout out to my readers and Twitter followers! I've had some great conversations with the Bristol tweeps especially.

There is much more NiteGlow content and discussion planned for 2011 so look forward to 'engaging' as they say in the biz! lol!

It just remains me for to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and whatever you do #KeepShining ;)

The WikiLeaks Outlook: Shifting Media Landscape

A while back I wrote a blog on WikiLeaks talking about the changing media landscape and the implication of information activism. A lot has happened since then with the release of the cables and the arrest of Julian Assange.

It seems to me that governments around the world have not woken up to the fact that media landscape has changed. WikiLeaks is an example of this shifting landscape.

It is seems the powers that be have done everything they could to prevent these stories coming out but to no avail. As predicted the charges against Julian Assange have been resurrected and he has now been arrested in London.

All the authorities have succeeded in doing is fanning the fire and most probably make things worse for themselves. With Julian Assange arrested there is now a real cause to fight for and a symbol of the oppression of free speech. The reality is that whatever they may do they cannot stop evolution and people's growing curiosity about these affairs.

The nature of the internet and Social Media means that information can find its way into the public domain very quickly. This is not something that is likely to change whatever happens to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. The only option is that governments get used to the new world where more people have a voice and better still embrace it.

Happy Diwali #KeepShining!

Today is the start of the Hindu festival of Diwali. It is a festival of lite and hope so it is of great significance to me. This is something that everyone can share in.... :) So #KeepShining..

Asperger's Syndrome - The Untold Story of Forgotten People

Back in April 2009 I wrote a blog about Asperger's Syndrome / Autism and how it could also be viewed as a special ability rather than a disability in certain environments. At that time I was helping out with an Asperger's Volunteer Group and had been shocked with how isolated, unrecognised and unvalued the people felt there. These people all had very valuable skills but were not being given a chance to shine. The blog post I wrote back then has now become the most popular post on this blog so it was only right I do a follow up.

It is real injustice that society does not respect people who communicate and see the world differently. It could be argued that this is in fact some sort of discrimination on the same level as race or gender. If gender or race discrimination occurs then something can be done and there are laws in place to prevent this from happening. However, you can't stop people discriminating or in some case maliciously targeting people who communicate differently or do not understand social dynamics in the same way.

This sort of prejudice and ignorance goes widely unrecognised and ignored leaving perpetrators to roam free as they choose. The people on the receiving end feel isolated and get next to no support from anyone. Indeed in many cases there is literally no place to turn for people with Asperger's Syndrome.

People with Asperger's Syndrome are often looked upon as being blunt, awkward and socially dysfunctional, however, I would argue that it is in fact people's attitudes in general society that are the biggest factor. 'Normal' people or neuro-typicals (NT) just don't have the awareness (or possibly in some cases the intelligence) to realise that there are people other than them who have a different neurological make-up and hence communicate and view the world differently.

People with Asperger's Syndrome have a wide array of positive skills that are almost never recognised as I talked about in my previous post on this subject.

In the worst case scenario some vindictive people exploit their position when they recognise that a person has AS traits and take to bullying and mocking them for being different.

In my eyes this is no different to racism, homophobia, class discrimination or sexism. Why can't society respect people of a different neurological make-up? These people are human beings and should be treated as such....

Happy birthday NiteGlow!

On this day two years ago NiteGlow came into existence. I remember the day vividly as it was a cold autumn evening and I had just returned from work. I sat at the computer and thought 'let me create something'...

I could see how many progressions there were in the Social Media and the Online world I wanted to be a part of it and explore the new possibilities. I knew the journey I was going to take might be a rocky one and would certainly be a step into the unknown. It all started off with Twitter and this Blog. In fact this was my first tweet! Lol!

The story started here with my first blog post. The blog looked a little different then to what it looks like now. A year and a half later I redesigned the blog (no social media backlashes ensued!). This year has seen a lot new additions to the NiteGlow presence and there are more on the way too. In May of this year I launched a Soundcloud page to showcase my Drum'n'Bass and Dubstep demos. Most recently I have launched NiteGlow Sphere which amalgamates all the NiteGlow presences in one place.

Since the blog's creation there has been the ups and downs but I've met some great people along the way and had some great conversations online and in person. I doubt I would have come into contact with these people without Social Media and Blogging.

It's been an eventful couple of years and we have seen empires rise and fall in the new evolving media landscape. The start of the economic crisis brought hard times for all but the evolution of new media during this time has challenged the older traditional mindsets. It's been very uncomfortable for many in the media industry especially journalists and PRs.

We have also witnessed some incredible and harrowing things from aftermath of the Mumbai attacks (I went to India not long afterwards) to the news of Barack Obama's presidential victory in US. How could we forget the scandal of the #iranelection and the role Social Media played in telling that story?

The pot-shots between Apple, Google and Microsoft go on. Facebook continues to grow in popularity to the size of a small country. Many news stories break on Twitter first before anywhere else.

It's a crazy world out there but I always look to the future and new people I will meet on the way....

Peace out!

Defining Social Media...

Many have discussed different definitions of Social Media, however, I want to shine more lite on our approaches to defining it. In my view there is no one definition that explains what Social Media is. This is because if you try and define what it is you also define what it isn't.

Seeing as Social Media is evolving, the definitions we had of it last year may not be the definitions we have of it now. This is because the new evolution brings with it new possiblities of communication.

From working the field I have observed this over time. I remember some of the earlier campaigns were like taking a shot in the dark. The question of ROI and measurable results was very hazy at that time. As things have progressed the use of Social Media has sky-rocketed. The people already on there got much better and more new people picked up the Social Media thread. There is more lite on how to measure the effectiveness of Social Media campaigns.

I also noticed something interesting over the last few years too. There has been a drop in the term 'social networking'. Twitter's VP even said recently that Twitter was not a 'social networking' site. and it was more about sharing news and information. Social Media has become the recognised term people use but I can remember a time when neither of these terms existed.

In truth as I see it, Social Media (or Social Networking) is what you make it. Everyone is an individual and uses it for different objectives. Businesses have different goals and markets in mind. Big brands will have to use Social Media differently to smaller ones. The personalisation and customisation of Social Media means people have a mind-boggling array of options to reach their targets. However, the uniting factors are sharing, engaging in conversation, collaboration and a sense of community. As you may notice these are hardly new concepts!

We must be careful in defining what Social Media is for all people at all times as we still do not totally understand the how far this definition can go. Definitions, while being convenient, can be limiting and can skew your perception to a smaller range of possibilities.

Information Activism - The Wikileaks Outlook

Wikileaks and its founder, ex-hacker Julian Assange, have been yet again thrust into the limelite today. The site has been behind as string of revelations about the war in Afghanistan and Mr Assange describes himself as an 'Information Activist'. I have been wondering to myself what he means by this so I thought I would look into the topic further.

The path Mr Assange has chosen is a risky one as he found out today when he faced a rape charge. According to the Telegraph and other news outlets the Pentagon have been 'pleading' with him not release 15,000 more classified files on the Afghan war on grounds of national security and compromising military operations. Mr Assange has stayed resolute his principles saying that he still intends to release the files. His rape charge has now been overturned by Swedish authorities but some may ponder that this was just a convenient and feeble attempt to undermine his credibility. It may even have been an act of desperation by certain organisations who did not want the information to come out. At any rate I am not convinced that it would have made any difference even if he had been convicted of such a crime. The information that is about to come out is will most likely shake things up again whatever happens.

I recently watched a Ted talk where Mr Assange described why the world needs sites like Wikileaks. In his eyes the current way the media is dealling with situations like conflicts is inadequate and the internet gives a many new ways to share and disseminate information.

Wikileaks is a site that many have been following with great interest. It is certainly having an effect on the way journalism is done with most of the Wikileaks revelations making big news in the traditional media outlets.

Mr Assange argues it is necessary that such information be made accessible in the public sphere in order that people may make an informed decision on what is going on. In a world where we are saturated by new information it is information itself that is becoming the key commodity. Crucially, the right information at the right time and disseminated in the right way to the right influential audiences can have a dramatic effect on public opinion and in turn potentially effect political factors.

Mr Assange seems to be driven by a strong sense of morality and argues that information he is making available is not any surprise to those on the front line of the conflict. Furthermore, it is actually something that they live with day-to-day. He is also finding himself friends and empathisers to his cause. Outspoken American documentary film-maker, Michael Moore, has said he would assist with the legal case against Wikileaks source Army SPC Bradley Manning. Wikileaks servers are now to be run by Sweden's Pirate Party which is due to run in national elections next month.

It is clear to me that Wikileaks is having some sort of impact and information activism is something that is likely to further change the media landscape.

Over 1000 Twitter Followers but what does it mean?

I have not written in a blog post in a while so I thought I would get back into the swing of things. Rest assured I have still been busy. Sometimes it is good to take a step back once in a while. If you follow me Twitter you may have noticed that I now have over 1000 followers. This is quite an important milestone but I always like to keep things in perspective.

I remember several years ago on MySpace how people would try and just get as many friends as possible thinking that was the way to get popular and recognised but it soon devalued the whole experience. I think many have learned from the mistakes of the past and times have changed a lot since then. I definitely believe in quality over quantity.

When the blog and the Twitter page came into existence a couple of years back I could not of predicted exactly where it would lead. Along the way I have been able to explore the online social space and evolve with it. I have also met some really interesting people in real-life too! So it isn't just about talking online.

As far as this blog goes I am looking to continue to approach different issues and perspectives as well as engage with others. I am planning to expand the online social presence further but that is the subject for another post. If you haven't already, please feel free to check out some of my tunes on my SoundCloud page. Even if you're not into Drum'n'bass or Dubstep you should still give them a listen... :)

One thing I would really like to encourage is comments on my blog too. I really value your input and I look as the blog posts I write as just the starting point to more discussion. At the end of the day everything that is going on is a big learning curve for everyone...

The Internet: A network of networks and culture of cultures

The internet is often described as not just a network but a network of networks. Over the last 10 years we have seen it change and evolve at an incredible rate. Alongside this a new internet culture has emerged and there is increasing melding of it with more mainstream culture.

The catalyst for this is, of course, (surprise, surprise!) social media! While online communities have existed for a long time on the internet, they had an almost silo-like existence with limited contact with other communities.

With social media those online communities or cultures are more easily able to communicate with each other crossing national, social, political and other boundaries. This is creating a new culture of cultures in which more cross-fertilisation of people and ideas occurs. Social media is also impacting the way news is reported and consumed. The online social media communities are all potential publishers and news gatherers. Interesting and engaging news can be shared within communities and across communities with ease in real-time.

Ideas and news are generated and evolve at a lightening quick pace. They are shared between individuals, communities and wider communities of communities. It is even possible now to observe social graphs of connnections for yet more insight. Of course there are some closed communities and countries that may not like this new openness (think about the trouble Google has had in China and the recent blocking of Facebook in Pakistan). However, they may find it increasingly difficult to maintain a 'walled-garden' approach in the future. When you get on to the global stage the shear number of people and connections are staggering. It is not possible for one government or other entity to completely control the internet for their own interests.

In my eyes, this new emerging global culture of cultures is the quite possibly the next stage in our evolution but it is currently still in an embryonic stage. As communities and cultures increase their interaction with each other maybe we might actually realise and more greatly appreciate that we all have one fundamental thing in common - we are all human..