2011 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture: The Cute Cat Theory of Internet Activism

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Cute Cats and the Arab Spring: 
When Social Media Meet Social Change          

Activists around the world are turning to social media tools usually used for more pedestrian purposes: the sharing of family videos and videos of cats flushing toilets. But these tools can be extremely powerful in the hands of activists, as they are pervasive, easy to use and difficult for governments to censor.

In the 2011 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture,  Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the Centre for Civic Media at MIT, looks at "the cute cat theory" of internet activism, as it helps explain the Arab Spring protests, aggressive internet censorship in countries like China and Vietnam, and the challenges for the corporate owners of social media platforms in an era of online speech.

Ethan Zuckerman is also a principal research scientist at MIT's Media Lab. His research focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new media, the use of technology for international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists.

The 2011 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture will be hosted by Paul Kennedy and recorded for future broadcast on the CBC Radio One' Ideas.

Participate in this fascinating lecture this Sunday, November 20th, 7pm at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, UBC.
Reserve your seat at VancouverHumanRightsLecture.

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