Digital Bytes: HS Edition March 20th

Snapworthy Links to Explore this Week in Digital Literacy.

Great new book: War in 140 Characters

“A 16-year-old Gazan girl armed with Twitter; a Ukrainian mother raising funds for troops on Facebook; French men using WhatsApp to lure a woman from the suburbs of Paris to Isis-occupied Syria. These are actors in a new kind of warfare — one where who wins the war of words is more important than who has the most powerful weapons. In War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century, journalist David Patrikarakos meets the people behind these influential social media accounts, building dramatic narratives that show the power of what he calls “Homo digitalis”, the online individual.” (Full text here)

Fantastic new podcast episode for Data-geeks from Chips With Everything

“In episode three, we look at democracy in the digital age, an era in which social media platforms have enabled a new form of political advertising and data companies can provide those who wish to sway elections and referendums with the ability to micro-target individual voters’ private Facebook feeds. Is this any different to the political campaigns of yesteryear? If so, how worried should we be?”

“Help Us Collect Political Ads on Facebook”

“ProPublica reporter Julia Angwin is collecting political ads on Facebook, all across the country. Just in case someone needs to check on them later. Like if the Russians bought thousands of ads to sway an election. And she needs your help.

She and her team built a browser plugin that collects ads from Facebook, and asks users like you to decide if the ads are political or not. Ads marked as political are gathered into a giant database – the only repository of these ads available to the public.”

Listen to the full episode of Note To Self explain why you might want to add one more plugin to your Macbook today:


"Twitter’s new thread feature takes us one step closer to longform tweeting"

“Though the change is subtle, it demonstrates that Twitter is recognizing just how much it has evolved away from the “microblogging” element that was once so central to its culture — and how much its users have driven its cultural shift toward longform tweeting”


“In 2016, Etecsa – the only telephone company in Cuba – installed wifi routers in 18 public parks across the country. For many Cubans, this meant they were able to go online for the first time. This portrait of one wifi park in Havana shows how it has become a new kind of meeting place: every day crowds of people with smartphones, tablets and chairs turn up to cluster together around the wifi antennas, to a soundtrack of shouts of ‘conectifai!” meaning ‘connection’.”

"Spot Fake News By Making It"

“Here’s a novel way to fight the spread of fake news. Try spreading it yourself – not in real life, though – but an online game called “Bad News” where you play the role of a fake news creator trying to get as many followers as you can by disseminating misinformation”

"How the Parkland Students Got So Good at Social Media"

“With their consistent tweeting of stories, memes, jokes and video clips, the students have managed to keep the tragedy that their school experienced — and their plan to stop such shootings from happening elsewhere — in the news for weeks, long after past mass shootings have faded from the headlines. Many observers have simply assumed that, like fish in water, the students are skilled simply because they have been using the platforms for most of their lives. That is not entirely true.”

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