Blogs & Bullets I

Evaluating the Impact of New Media on Conflict

IPDGC and the Center of Innovation for Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding at the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a public event exploring the role of new media in contested politics around the world. From Iran to Kenya to Colombia, the impact of new and social media on movements for political and social change has been the subject of much discussion, and controversy.

In a USIP Special Report, "Blogs & Bullets: New Media in Contentious Politics," a team of scholars from GW, in cooperation with scholars from Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and from Morningside Analytics, took a fresh theoretical, and empirical approach to answering this question. The report critically assesses both the “cyberutopian” and “cyberskeptic” perspectives, and proposes a new framework for assessing the role of new media in contentious politics.

This event explored these themes in three panels. In the first panel, Alec Ross of the U.S. State Department, Berkman’s Ethan Zuckerman, and GW’s Marc Lynch engaged in a discussion of these topics moderated by USIP’s Sheldon Himelfarb. The second panel featured bloggers and citizen journalists from around the world to offer a ground-view perspective. The final panel brought together tech firms eBay and Facebook to explore their perspectives on new media and conflict.

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