Behind The Scenes Coverage Of The 26/03/11 Protests

31 Mar

(NB: This clip does contain strong language and some scenes of violence)

SMIJ have rooted around on the web- for those that were not in central London on Saturday- and this is the most illuminating footage of the rioting we came up with. Filmed from the perspective of a band of protestors- The Love Police- the footage reveals both peaceful and violent demonstrations, and the defensive manoeuvres of police officers. It should be re-iterated that this film in the main does not display actions of the hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors. Instead it documents the actions of the breakaway groups of protestors, and some of the reasoning behind those actions.

This clip is longer and more in-depth than any other, perhaps mute the aggressive backing track for ease of viewing.

(SMIJ does not condone any of the violence displayed in this clip. We support free speech and the right to protest.)

Obama turns to Facebook

20 Apr

With all of the talk of Obama revolutionising politics by tapping into the world of social media, I hadn’t realised he was a newbie to Facebook’s internet TV channel, Facebook Live.

Read about how Obama is using Facebook to boost his 2012 election campaign here. It seems Mark Zuckerberg is friendly with the president, too.

McDonald’s On Foursquare: Britain, Still On Square One

6 Apr

Like most of Britain SMIJ were pretty slow on the uptake when it came to Foursquare, but McDonald’s in the USA is streets ahead. Last month they used Foursquare to promote a new product launch and raise money for its Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Between the 1st and 17th of March customers at any participating restaurants in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware, USA, that ‘checked-in’ on geo-social network Foursquare and sent their check-in to Twitter with a @McDPhilly mention received a ‘Be Our Guest’ voucher for a free McDonald’s McCafe milkshake.  The company pledged to donate $1 to Ronald McDonald House Charities for every Foursquare check-in received.

More and more consumers in the US are accessing Foursquare from their mobile phones, so this is a clever way of generating an online buzz about a product. The charitable donation encourages sales and the check-ins and twitter posts create publicity.

The question is this; why aren’t Brits getting in on the act?

Foursquare; The New Network On The Block

4 Apr

Here at SMIJ HQ we want to hear about your experience with Foursquare; is it useful? Are many of your friends getting involved?Is it really THE NEXT BIG THING in the world of social media?

For those not yet signed up, Foursquare is a geo-social network. It allows users to ‘check in’ online to geographic locations so friends can see where they are. Users can then leave ‘tips’ and advice for other users (as with twitter this is character limited); and link blogs, twitter accounts, and websites to geographic locations on the Foursquare network. All of this information is then available for  ‘friends’ on Foursquare to see.  Users who have ‘checked in’ to a place will be able to see which of their friends have also checked in, and what these friends have as their Facebook status.

It feels a bit disconcerting to reveal your geographic location to the world, but there are benefits. As numbers of users grow the link between the geographic and the social network will help users find short reviews and recommendations for nearby restaurants, bars, etc quickly and easily. Tips such as; “try the soup, it’s yummy”, can then helpfully advise menu decisions. Also, the geo-social map created by friends will help other users come across hidden treasures that would otherwise go unnoticed. If you have ever searched in vain for an underground bar, or a secret tea party, you may understand the benefits Foursquare could bring.

Are you a user? If so, what are your thoughts? We would love to hear them.

Breaking The Silence

1 Apr

Breaking the Silence,  an organisation made up of Israeli ex-soldiers, document the reality of combat in the Gaza strip and the West Bank by collating a bank of evidence containing photographs, images from Facebook, and videos from YouTube. Founded in March 2004 by a group of soldiers who served in Hebron, Breaking the Silence is unique in giving voice to the experience of soldiers. To date, the organization has collected more than 700 accounts of the conflict.

Taken from the website:

“Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the routine situations of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life.

“Soldiers who serve in the Territories witness and participate in military actions which change them immensely. Cases of abuse towards Palestinians, looting, and destruction of property have been the norm for years, but are still explained as extreme and unique cases. Our testimonies portray a different, and much grimmer picture in which deterioration of moral standards finds expression in the character of orders and the rules of engagement, and are justified in the name of security. While this reality is known to Israeli soldiers and commanders, Israeli society continues to turn a blind eye, and to deny that which happens in its name.

“Discharged soldiers who return to civilian life discover the gap between the reality which they encountered in the Territories, and the silence about this reality which they encounter at home. In order to become civilians again, soldiers are forced to ignore what they have seen and done. We strive to make heard the voices of these soldiers, pushing Israeli society to face the reality whose creation it has enabled”

The violence between Israel and the Palestinians remains one of the most reported on, but least understood, situations in contemporary international politics. Any organisation that shines a light on the actions and motives of either side must be a positive move towards understanding, and then perhaps peace. The mainstream discussion  of is this conflict  dominated in the by the opinions of political figures and coverage of terrorist actions, the experiences of the people on the front line add a helpful dimension to the debate.

Dalai Lama Hits The Nail On The Tweet…

1 Apr

Out of the maelstrom of twittering rubbish and inane human clucking, the Dalai Lama can be relied upon to tweet plain, simple, and universal truths.

“Due to the fundamental interconnectedness that lies at the heart of reality, your interest is also my interest.”

11:29 AM Mar 28th via web

Hereupon lies the necessity of the social network and the democracy of communication it creates.

MEMRI – Solving Online Language Divides

1 Apr

Online social media allow worldwide communication and create communities that span both cultural and national divides. Langauge remains the final stumbling block. Within our English speaking world-wide-web bubble our horizons are limited and our ability to access international information first hand is stymied.

This has been troubling me for some time, so you can imagine the excitement at discovering MEMRI.

MEMRI is a site providing up to the minute news, translated from sources within the Middle East. It is a free dissemination tool, showing translated news stories and reports from across the Arab and Muslim world.  MEMRI also maintains the largest archive in the world of translated Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, and Urdu research material from the past decade.

Any site breaking-down language barriers to promote understanding between cultures has got to be a good thing. Check it out at

Andrew Lansley; Rap Sensation?

1 Apr

GP Online has today reported rumours that Andrew Lansley is recording his own rap video in support of the government planned NHS reforms. The recording is in response the recent Andrew Lansley viral rap on YouTube.

Key lyrics are said to include:  ‘(Yo) I want to improve every hospital facility / The Bill that I’ve put forward will increase accountability / All you silly doctors, who doubt my credibility / This Bill will put patients at the heart of the NHS not just as beneficiaries of care but as participants in shared decision-making.’

The report claims that Lansley has been spotted in a gold tracksuit with a small film crew in tow outside his parliamentary office. It alleges Lansley has recruited the help of Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb in the production of the rap video.

Wouldn’t this be just fantastic if it were true? Wouldn’t it be strangely wonderful if social media had forced government officials to partake in a new method of accountability- the YouTube rap battle? Facing down political oponents with their lyrical style in a battle of the mics?

Sadly however, as the date is 01/04/11 (April Fools day) I suspect that we have been duped .