In Livingston’s article, it is interesting that the author makes mention that it is not technology alone that shapes our interactions with other countries. To me, that is one of the most important distinctions to make. At National Defense University, I met civilian and military government officials from all around the world—and the best part was seeing people from rivaling countries becoming friends. The ‘soft power’ approach the Center took was effective because, through sessions together, those same officials became friends. In an age where all we hear about is the power of social media, it is still people-to-people interactions that make a difference.
I also appreciated the way that data transmissions are cited as the most important part of the communication cycle. By using the data that is transcribed, either through texts, or just looking at the networking aspect, it is interesting that cell phones are used as a discussion point. I was also very intrigued by the use of cell phones to track down violence—by doing that, the government has a more precise location of the perpetrators and the victims. I wonder how the different television shows determine our interactivity. There are some days that the news is the only station blaring in the house, and others where my household only enjoys comedy. The interactivity of cell phone activity, therefore, is probably a more consistent way to track down people’s activities- from the people they text/call the most, to the emails they check, to the websites they visit (if they have a smartphone, of course!) The downside is that the information cannot be used again, and does not stay static; but the efforts can definitely be repeated. The article reminded me of how, in Professor Levinson’s class, we are talking about how information is sent through networks. When she gave us examples of our classmates and their networks, she talked about how the strength was not only determined by their socialization but also the PATTERNS in which they socialize…Similar to Livingston’s idea! By examining all aspects of networks, we can see which ones need strengthening.
In my case study for Levinson’s class, I am looking at the way the United Nations Health Population Fund derives funding–specifically, how they are using new media to impart their messages. The UNHPF is currently asking for donations by text message, which makes an interesting connection to Livingston’s examples of how different organization use common software to gain awareness and grants.
To connect it back to the article, by looking at the highest cell phone usage we can see who has the greatest ‘networking’ power…or at least who has the most to say.