A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.


Social Media

How We Got Connected

·      1978: Chicago computer engineers Ward Christensen and Randy Suess were  trapped at home during a blizzard, so wrote a program to help share information with their work colleagues: it was the first online bulletin board.

·      1989: British CERN engineer Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web to help scientists share information globally.
·      1993: Students at the University of Illinois developed Mosaic, the first graphical browser.
·      1997: The Web reached a million pages; blogging began.
·      1999: Friends Reunited launched in the UK to help people hook up with old school friends.
·      2002: Friendster opened in the U.S. After three months, it had 3 million members.
·      2003: MySpace and Second Life were launched.
·      2004: Mark Zuckerberg and other students at Harvard launched ‘the facebook’; podcasting began and Flickr opened.
·      2005: The Web reached 8 billion pages; YouTube began.
·      2006: Twitter was launched
·      2009: facebook became the most-used social network in the world, with more than 200 million members
·      2012: facebook reached a billion members; YouTube had more than 1 trillion views that year.


At the time of writing 651 presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers in 161 countries have Twitter accounts with a total of 175 million followers.
U.S. President @BarackObama was the first world leader to open a Twitter account and has more followers than any other politician in the world (53 million, only marginally fewer than Justin Bieber). Ranked second among world leaders is Pope Francis (@Pontifex) with 16 million followers.
Despite his massive following, @BarackObama’s tweets are only retweeted 1,195 times on average, and Pope Francis (@Pontifex) is by far the most influential tweeter, with an average of more than 10,000 retweets of every post he writes in Spanish and 6,436 in English.
Anyone can tweet to a world leader, though only a select few reply. African leaders seem to chat with their followers the most. Rwanda’s President @PaulKagame is the world’s most conversational leader. 87% of his tweets are replies and he is always game for a spot of bickering on Twitter with his critics.

Participatory Budgeting

The most ingenious use of social networking as a tool for democracy is a phenomenon called ‘Participatory Budgeting’, an online way for citizens to decide how local government spends its money.

In the Dominican Republic, all the local governments allow the public to decide their budgets this way. This idea has spread to more than 1500 municipalities in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America to decide the budgets for their schools, universities, roads and public housing.
The first Participatory Budgeting scheme in the United States is in the 49th ward of Chicago, Illinois. Set up by the ward's alderman Joe Moore, it allows citizens to pick and choose from Joe Moore's ‘Menu Money.’ 

In 2009 ‘unfriend’ was the New Oxford American Dictionary Word Of The Year.

Every month, Americans use their mobiles to spend a total of 217 years on facebook.

One in twelve Twitter users aren’t actually human, but twitterbots’ which tweet automatically.

Only a quarter of the 125 heads of state with Twitter accounts write their tweets personally.

Monaco @GvtMonaco is the only country in the world that can be seen in its entirety in its Twitter header photo.


I tweet, therefore my entire life has shrunk to 140 character chunks of instant event & predigested gnomic wisdom. & swearing.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders’s first tweet in English was: 'i’m coming on twitter'.