Category Archives: Social Media

Change for Egypt

Protest in Tahrir Square
Photo by: AlJazeer


Soon after large demonstrations started in Egypt on January 25th, support poured in across Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter for Egyptians seeking freedoms, a better future and asking Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to immediately step down.

Protestors had gathered in Tahrir Square and said they would not leave till Mubarak he had given up his 30 year position as President of Egypt. As time passed, the crowd grew. The numbers following via Facebook and Twitter also grew. (#Egypt #Jan25)

Many of the demonstrators were tweeting and texting directly from their locations and also giving information of what would be going on the following hours and days. In today’s fast-paced Internet world, picture uploading, video uploading, texting, blogging and sharing information is instant and with the world’s changing times, this allows millions of people to know instantly what is going on across the world and to alert others.

Egypt’s government has in its constitution a law, the “Emergency Law” which, among other things, gives the government the right, at its discretion to shut down the Internet and on January 28th, Internet Service Providers were told to cut services.

This “Emergency Law” has been in place nearly all of Mubarak’s time in office. This law is one of many grievances the people have with the Egyptian government and it was recently extended to remain another two years. When the law is enacted, it gives the government the right to arrest people without cause, hold prisoners indefinitely, limit freedom of expression and assembly and more. At the time Internet was cut, most mobile phone services also were disabled especially text messaging. This greatly handicapped the ability not only for Egyptians to communicate internationally but also with one another in the country.

Until February 1st, the protestors mostly were peaceful. Tahrir Square remained full of protestors waiting for President Mubarak to step down. News had come that he had sworn in a Vice President which was a first in the country in over 30 years.

However, on the 1st, Mubarak made a speech on State T.V. which played on a large screen for all to see in the square. He stated he would not seek another term as president in the upcoming elections. The people quietly watched his entire speech and closer to the end he stated he would not be willing to step down before the end of his term in September, later this year.

On the ground in Tahrir Square and close by violence grew as the crowd became angry. There became a rise in violence and coverage of this was being shown internationally soon after the world had viewed not only this speech by President Mubarak but also a speech by President Obama on his thoughts concerning the situation in Egypt.

The rise in violence around Tahrir Square grew as pro-Mubarak groups grew larger in the square and clashes between them and the anti-government group became more violent causing a growing number of injuries and fatalities.

The following day as journalists were covering the clashes, they themselves became the targets of violence. They were being harassed, beaten up, having their equipment confiscated, being arrested, vehicles or teams attacked and as this grew increasingly worse, some were forced to leave for their safety and others went into hiding to continue reporting but to protect themselves and their crews.

This same day, Internet service began to slowly return across the country and as this happened, updates from Egyptians started to come in on Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other sources. These updates showed personal accounts of what had been happening around Egypt and confirming an even greater desire for freedom but also confirmed the fact journalists were being targeted on the ground, in hotels and around the country. Egypt’s government, it appeared, did not want the continued coverage of what was going on in the streets of Egypt during this crisis.

The question was, why?

Was the fear this coverage was making Egypt look bad internationally or was the fear the international coverage and the feedback it was getting influencing Egypt’s youth, inciting more displays of protests? Whatever the reasoning, the amount of international journalists in the country was greatly diminishing and those remaining were not being able to cover the revolution on the streets, the people, Tahrir Square up close as they had been doing, they now needed to look out for their safety and cover the crisis from afar.

The fact is though, covering the situation in Egypt is extremely important. It is extremely important to see the crisis and transformation as it unfolds. It’s more truthful and honest to see it from the eyes of the people and the government’s reaction and the angles there in Egypt and to have those views involved.

Egypt’s crisis and this transformation as some view it or revolution as it is turning out to be is not just a small event or something that will soon pass. It is much larger and significant.

Egypt has a population of more than 80 million people, the largest population in the 22 Arabic speaking countries.

Although the overthrow of Tunisia’s president in December ignited many frustrations and long held grievances of the citizens in other countries across the region, eyes are now on Egypt and at the moment, the leaders of Jordan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere are looking at their own government and making tremendous changes and reforms to try to prevent many of the same actions. Protests are currently taking place.

As for the U.S. and its involvement in this crisis, of course there is a great deal of concern and the crisis in Egypt has great significance to the U.S. We have many Egyptian-Americans living in the United States and many have called this their home for generations but still, Egypt is their home as well. Compassion must always be shown not only to our fellow Americans but, all others.

What would you go to a demonstration for? What freedom would you not be willing to give up?

Much of what the Egyptians are protesting for, Americans not only have but take for granted. Fair elections, presidential term limit restrictions, freedom of speech and assembly and the right these freedoms can’t just be taken away at the whim of the government (like what is currently happening in Egypt and has been over the past 3 decades due to “Emergency Law”).

What is the United State’s position on making Mubarak step down being President?

This is a political revolution of the Egyptian people. They desire freedom and change in the way their country and government functions. Therefore it is up to Egypt and its people to unfold their new political system, laws and government, not outside countries. True change will come from within.

Since Mubarak has been an ally of the United States, there has been communication between Mubarak and President Obama as well as the Administration and other key officials in Egypt. It is important for the U.S. to point out certain views pertaining to matters that does affect the U.S. as well as what effects U.S. citizens in Egypt, humanitarian efforts and the safety of international journalists. The U.S. has remained a close ally with Egypt for many years and as long as diplomatically possible, this is important to continue without forgetting about the rights of the Egyptian citizens.

However, for the U.S. Administration or U.S. Citizens to act as though we can tell another country’s leader to step down does nothing to aide that country or the real long term efforts toward transformation they are working on. It also hurts our diplomacy efforts with other countries and in the long run would hurt our relations with the government that ends up being formed in Egypt. The U.S. cannot see itself as the strong hold over the world.

The best seat for the U.S. to strategically plan for what needs to be done after Egypt’s transition and the actions that follow in Yemen, Jordan, Syria and other neighboring governments may be in the observation area allowing the people of Egypt and its current government to build its own future out of its current turmoil.

Allow them to have change.

America’s best days are ahead

"Sea to Shining Sea"
Photo by: dgroup

In our homes, our neighborhood schools, local businesses, communities and across our nation there have been conversations about the need for improvements in many areas of day to day life and the future of America.

Although when traveling through American cities or the rural communities which link our nation together, things may appear at first glance to be different, most Americans have the same basic needs in life and many share the same values and goals; family, home and having a better future for their children.

However, it’s not the differences within these communities that bring the divide to the nation. The diversity of cultures, religions and race have made America a nation that stands out unlike every other country in the world. These differences however can also be used as a tool to bring weakness and divide.

Many issues our country continues to face have come about through history and in instances, such as slavery, laws have been enacted after many lives were lost and many injustices were carried out but also heroes came to the forefront of our American culture to show that good can triumph over evil if people are willing to get involved and stand up for what is right even when it may not be popular or have anything to gain for them personally or may possibly bring them physical harm even costing their life.

Through history, lessons can be learned and the worst possible thing to do would be to revert back to old ways or act as though they never happened.

History should never have to repeat itself to prove wrong doesn’t make right and to again show one human is not above another human, not by race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or economic standing.

Instead, as American and World History are taught in our schools, it should include the fact these lessons in history can and should be what makes America a stronger nation and each culture and religion represented in America should be the ties that bind us as an even greater, more unique nation of the future with goals that represent our strengths and ambitions and look out for the humanity of everyone across our nation.

On Saturday, January 8th our nation suffered a tremendous tragedy in Tucson, Arizona when a 22 year old man opened fire at a shopping center, shooting a U.S. Representative, a Federal Judge, and 9 year old girl as well as countless others in a few short moments. In the end, 20 people were shot and 6 lost their lives including one of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ aides, Gabe Zimmerman, Federal Judge – John Roll, Dorwan Stoddard – who used his body to shield his wife from being killed, Dorothy Morris – who was there with her husband of 55 years, also shot but survived, Phyllis Schneck – a loving mother and grandmother who loved her community, and Christina Green – a 9 year old who wanted to meet her Congresswoman and someday participate in Government.

The news of this horrific event ripped through the media on TV, radio, online social media, etc. causing a great deal of grief, confusion, anger, unity, memories, panic, just so many different emotions.

An outpouring of prayers and wishes poured out across America for the families of the victims and those who had suffered injuries and were being rushed to nearby hospitals. So many questions were being asked but there were very few available answers.

Different news agencies were trying to gather facts and at times, there were reports coming in and then being reversed due to wrong information. There was also a great deal of information coming in that was being driven by emotion and reaction but not backed up by facts because the shooter hadn’t talked nor had enough time passed to give investigators an opportunity to put together the facts.

What happened in Tucson, Arizona is an inexcusable tragedy and by no means can be something that defines who America is but what America, as a nation, is not.

For those who used their media outlet and time before this awful event to campaign Americans against Americans will hopefully see America is a United Nation. For those who look at our nation as citizens against their government, America is a civilized democracy.

People can have different ideas, different goals and debates but as a people, Americans should be looking out for the good of one person as much as for the good of another person, one family as much as for the good of another family.

Americans should look past each other’s party, race, religion, Ethnicity and to each other’s goals, ideas, needs and future and see it as America’s future, their future.

America’s best days are ahead. It is within this great nation, our great nation to accomplish what is needed to move forward and to move ahead into the future. The idea is to work alongside each other and alongside other nations, to draw on our strengths and not focus on the weakness of others.

Our nation is made up of our people, all of our people and for America to truly be as great as it can be, our nation must unite and work together for the common goals of everyone.

As different as many may be, that is also our strength when used correctly and for the right purpose.

In the face of tragedy, unity is often seen, but everyday unity can be shown.

Examiner link

Recession ended, really?

It seems not only has the recession ended, but it has been over since June 2009. Missed that memo…

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, their finding is the recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009 (lasting 18 months) which would be the longest recession the country has gone through since the Great Depression.

With this news just coming out today, reactions were mixed. On the Social Media website, Twitter, the hashtag#recessionended quickly became the #2 trending topic.

Many were passing along the news while others were just verifying the news had actually said the recession was over. There were tweets mentioning how many jobless people would “love” to hear this recently reported information and tweets from people without jobs or going through financial crisis feeling this report was really out of touch.

The nation has seen recessions in the past and has also faced its economic setbacks so it isn’t hard to imagine how an economic group would know which numbers to focus on. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) looked at figures that make up our nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) which measures the total value of goods and services produced in the U.S. The NBER also takes into account the incomes, employment and overall industrial activity.

Not only can the NBER look at these present numbers but they can compare them to past numbers during good economic times and not-so-good economic times in the U.S. Therefore they can look at trends in the U.S. economy. I’m not an economist but it gives them an advantage to use the past to possibly see a bit into the future.

However, that is only part of what today’s article is about. As the saying goes, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” That also goes for what someone says may be or what they think may happen. To a person without a job or only a part time job instead of a full time job with benefits like they need, to hear these “good news” is more like “passing news” until something more concrete shows up.

Twitter has been a great way for people to share their job finds, job losses or their job being saved. It has also been a good place to keep in touch with others from previous companies or post a type of job they may be looking for. As always, Twitter keeps people up with what is happening at any given moment all around the world. For instance, on a positive note, the DOW rose 145 points today. That is in the right direction.

How has the recession affected you? Or, were you someone that really wasn’t affected? If you were affected, have things improved for you yet? Share your comments.

Tweet Congress

That’s right! More of congress has picked up on the fact that Twitter is a direct way of not only sending a short message (140 characters or less) but also one of the most direct ways to see what many people are chatting about, angry about, planning on or just anything that is going on in the world. It’s also a great way to see what the American people are saying about congress and what they are doing or are not doing.

According to tweetcongress.org, Representative John McCain from Arizona has over 1.7 million followers on Twitter and the first Congressional member to join Twitter was Representative Eric Cantor from Virginia. He joined Twitter in April 2007.

By visiting the website, a person is able to sign on using their Twitter account, click on a member of congress which brings up all of their contact information including any websites, phone numbers and Twitter account. Then a person can choose to follow this person or just retweet what they have tweeted, reply to them or go to their website or choose to go back to the homepage.

There is also a blog, photos and a video section on the site. Since the site is newer, there should be more added to it in the near future and more of Congress signing up for Twitter accounts.

Don’t be disappointed if you aren’t yet part of Twitterverse, there is a “Tweetstream” on the tweetcongress.org site to read what congress is tweeting which can be anything from congressional business like news in D.C., upcoming votes, past votes, messages to constituents, events in their states, or personal business with family, news about their favorite sports teams or just a random thought.

Twitter is whatever a user decides to make it. A person can just be all about business and the news or just be random all the time or mix it up and leave people wondering what they will tweet next? Twitter has become as big as it is because it is made up of so many people around the world doing so many different things and tweeting about it. Twitter is also a place where a great amount of discussions go on, sharing thoughts and opinions as well as people sharing ideas for common problems around the world.

At this time in Congress (things tend to change fast in Twitterverse) there are 127 Republicans, 103 Democrats and 2 Independents with active Twitter accounts. Those not tweeting at the moment should be signing on any day, depending on the November elections possibly.

The question is, will they get called down for tweeting while in session or can they keep their tweets under control?





You can find me on Twitter @tracysolomon

Recovery for America Pt. 1 – Promise of "Change"

In November 2008, the United States of America was caught up in the “feeling of change”. Even those that didn’t vote for President- Elect Obama were curious and they were anticipating what changes would be ahead with the new president and his administration.

The economy was in a downfall, job losses were at an all time high in decades, home values were in a rapid decline, and record foreclosures were happening nationwide. The U.S. Military had two active wars going on and people wanted answers about troop levels, cost and prospective withdrawal dates. This is only part of what was going on when Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America.

From early in Obama’s campaigning days, he made his issues clear and he made campaign promises along the way. After all, that is what campaign time is about, right? It shouldn’t be just about what is said, it should be about the outcome and the ability to see things through, the long term effect.

He announced a his position on withdrawing troops from Iraq, increasing energy independence, and promoting a Universal Health Care Plan just to name a few.

In 2008 Obama’s campaigning committee did something that had never been done before. It put social media to the task and through Twitter, Facebook and MySpace was able to target the younger supporters and not only get more of them to register as voters but also to become active in the campaign process.

By using the internet, websites were designed and kept updated with speeches, rally locations, policy information, etc. Supporters could upload images from these websites to their own blogs or social media pages, print out posters, send emails to their friends, family and colleagues as well as find many other ways to show their support for Obama’s campaign. Users could also sign up to have secured text messages from Obama’s Campaign Manager, David Plouffe sent to their mobile device. It was something that had never been done before and voters felt much more “in the loop” by knowing things right as they happened and sometimes, before it was announced on the news by receiving a text message from #62262. For many who followed, that is how they found out who Barack Obama had chosen as his Vice President candidate. The campaign was very up to date and personalized.

After winning the presidential election, President-Elect Obama announced the formation of Organizing for America Organization (OFA) on January 17, 2009 which was a community organizing project of the DNC. Obama said it was an “organization that will build on the movement you started through the campaign.” Again, this was something being done that would involve Americans in a way (via the Internet and community efforts) that hadn’t been done before. He said although he and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden would be working in Washington D.C., “We cannot do this without you.”

It is now 18 months later and people are looking at how things are going for the U.S. The economy does seem to be coming back out of its devastating recession. Job loss continued to worsen and went beyond 10%.

The auto companies were crashing and therefore factories were closing, more job losses and for many towns across the country, the auto industry was their way of life, their income.

With so many people out of work, so many companies out of business, factories closed and therefore not producing, banks not lending money, people were losing the ability to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” or have faith things would get better.

For a nation under such difficult times, a simple solution was not going to work for the long term but also many people were hesitant to throw money at problems that money seemed to have caused, or at least the misuse of money seemed to have caused.

Somehow, things needed to get onto a road to recovery.

This series of articles, “Recovery for America,” is going to take a look at promises made through the campaign and whether they have been kept, are in the process of being carried out, have been compromised on or broken.

If you read my last series, “Help for America” it is clear many Americans are in need of jobs and/or better paying jobs. Small businesses need help to grow and be able to hire more employees and many American families are not only barely getting by but are simply just suffering here in America.

Many communities need to improve their schools, roads, hospitals and be able to hire back teachers and first responders. Here in the Bay Area, being prepared for a natural disaster is something that is always a priority. This isn’t something that can be done when it is too late.

Please share your comments and ideas below in a productive way and they may be used in an upcoming article. You may subscribe above to become a regular follower.

One of our community’s biggest assets is our youth

If everything is going well and people are happy with the way things are in their community and Washington D.C., then campaigns and candidates should continue to run the same pattern they always do, right? But, if something needs to change then it should start at the beginning of the cycle. This means to start at the process of choosing the candidate, the style of campaigning and the effort put into researching each candidate as well as understanding the reasoning behind the choice of each person’s vote. Is the choice being made by qualification and belief in the person or is it based on party?

What goes on in Washington D.C. begins with local elections just as much as the presidential election, often times even more. What is going on in a local community on a daily basis has a substantial impact on everyone’s daily lives in that community and can greatly improve in a short amount of time once given an opportunity for advancements and growth. But, the opportunity comes from the community itself more than from anyone on the outside or their promises.

One of a community’s biggest assets is its youth. If you look around the Bay Area, there are a great number of talented youth off for the summer. Many may have jobs but due to the economy, those hours may be limited or they may not have been able to get a summer job for a number of reasons. Our young people today are extremely creative and talented and many are also very active within the world of social media. Social media is not just something for chatting but if used wisely, this can help a large number of non-profit organizations and businesses network and reach millions of people they may not be reaching. This is one way a young person, or anyone can touch a lot of lives in a little bit of time.

The more involved our youth are today, the more involved they will be in the future. Who will be running our country in the future? They will become our future leaders. Our young people are watching how campaigning is being done, how politicians are “following through” with their word and how our communities are utilizing its own abilities to participate and better what we are capable of bettering for ourselves. We don’t always have to wait for things to happen for us. There are many things right around us we can do for ourselves as a community.

The best step forward is the step we take on our own initiative.

Stay tune for more to follow on this topic. If you would like to know of local non-profit groups you can assist with, please feel free to email me with “Non-Profit Group Info” in the subject line or feel free to comment with info.

View this article on the Examiner.com page where the entire article is posted. Become a subscriber when new articles are released.