Georgetown University Law Center: 'Educating for Democracy in a Digital Age' [Webcast]

image from Educating for Democracy in a Digital Age is a day-long conference on civics and digital literacy, will take place Tuesday, March 29, at Georgetown University Law Center. A live webcast will be available at

Participants, including Howard Gardner, Craig Watkins, Nichole Pinkard, Joe Kahne, Sandra Day O’Connor and Arne Duncan, will address effective strategies to promote civic learning and participation among today’s youth.

The focus will be on new ways to engage students in the political process, with an emphasis on recent innovations and new technology designed to inspire students to become active and informed citizens.

This conference is sponsored by Georgetown Law, The Aspen Institute, and iCivics and supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Military Government Using Facebook to Reach Out to Egyptian Youth

"I’m hearing that the temporary military government has begun using Facebook to reach out to Egyptian youth, even creating a Facebook Fan Page page (here).

The Ministry of Interior, in attempt to repair the image of the state police, has set up multiple pages. And while my guess is that being a locus of political uprisings wasn’t the original intent of the American college campus-based social network, somewhere Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has got to be secretly proud.

Click here for an excellent video of how young activists in Cairo documented the Egyptian protests despite the Internet blocks."


Global Youth: Teen blogger in Syria, accused of spying, sentenced to 5 years in prison

A Syrian court has sentenced a teenage blogger to five years in prison on charges of spying for a foreign country. Tal al-Mallouhi was 17 when she was arrested in 2009 and has been held by authorites for the past two years.

Human rights groups said her long jail term was another sign of an intensifying crackdown on opposition in Syria, in the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.

Al-Mallouhi had written articles on her blog saying she yearned to play a role in shaping the future of Syria, which has been under the control of the Baath Party for the last 50 years. She had also asked Barack Obama, the US president, to do more to support the Palestinian cause.

It was not clear whether her arrest was connected to the blog, but a security court charged her several months ago with "revealing information that should remain hushed to a foreign country".

Syria's Higher State Security Court issued Monday's sentence at the end of a trial held behind closed doors, an official close to the court told the Associated Press news agency.


Related: Young Egyptians want American youth to share in their dramatic moment of liberation (via MTV ACT)

Global Youth: Is That Egyptian Facebook Sign for Real?


Floating around the Internet of late has been the photo above of what looks to be an Egyptian man amidst the anti-Mubarak protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square holding up what appears to be a pro-Facebook sign.

A sign like that lends a little weight to the idea that, whatever tactical role that social technologies might have played in the Egyptian uprising, they've captured the hearts and minds of Egyptians. Alec Ross, the U.S. State Department's senior advisor on innovation, found vindication in the photo. "14:58 ... 14:59 ...,"  tweeted Ross this morning. "Cyberskeptics, your 15 minutes are up."

Powerful stuff, perhaps. But with the sheer volume of photos, tweets, blog posts and more we're seeing about Egypt, provenience is often an afterthought. And perhaps I'm the only one who had the though, but that block lettering looks awfully well done.

So to, um, just put on our skeptical pants for a moment, let's ask, is the Facebook-in-Egypt sign for real? Or is this a joke on Malcolm Gladwell? It's the real deal, or at least all signs point in that direction.

As to what the sign itself actually reads, the Arabic-trained  Aaron Banks translates it as, "Thank you...youth [of] Egypt," then the Facebook reference, and then "Steadfast we will not go."

Trend Watch: China's 'Angry Youth' Movement

image from The transcript of Kai-Fu Lee's keynote on China's 'Angry Youth' at The Brookings Institution is a fascinating read full of insight and observations of Chinese youth made by someone with the experience and knowledge to do so.

Dr. Lee was the founder of China-based Microsoft Research Asia and was the founding president of Google China. Kai-Fu Lee, is a household name in China, has written three best selling books and all them aim to help people understand, educate or mentor China's young people.

According to Dr. Lee China’s "angry youth," or fenqing, present a challenging phenomenon to both China and the outside world. These young men and women often use the Internet and other channels of political discourse to publicly express their critical views.

Earlier this year Accenture released a report that found young Chinese (14-27 years old) spend an average of 34 hours each week using real-time communications and social media/networking tools. At 34 hours a week, that number is almost triple the average of the other 12 countries profiled in the report.

So who exactly are China's "angry youth?" According to Kai-Fu Lee:

"So when we talk about angry youth, I think we're talking about post-80's, people born after 1980, that they had access to the internet, and that they often use it to vent their frustrations and that frustration often comes from either their patriotism or their desire to seek that which is righteous, fair, true and transparent.

They care about social issues. They're concerned and they feel that they need to be outspoken to have their voices heard, and they often use the internet to gain knowledge and to have their voice heard.

...when we talk about angry youth, I really don't want to think about this as a very negative term because I think if we think deeply about what angry youth are about, this is people who are young people who have access to information, who have a sense of social repsonsiblity, who have their sense of right and wrong--they are not always right--but they have a sense of right and wrong.

Their hyper-nationalistic and often anti-Western sentiments, which first emerged in the late 1990s and are widely disseminated today, stand in sharp contrast to a generation of Chinese youth just 20 years ago.

What gives rise to the frustrations of China’s "angry youth?" How representative of China’s youth are fenqing? What implications does their existence have for the country’s political trajectory? How will the growing influence of China’s "angry youth" impact China’s foreign policy in years to come?

This keynote aims to both answer these questions as well as educate Westerners on the emerging trends among Chinese youth.

China's 'Angry Youth' Movement


Related: Barking Robot@Tumblr > China's Top Social Networks

Got Facebook? New Study Investigates What’s Social About Social Media

Facebook.button.round A new national survey titled “Got Facebook? Investigating What’s Social About Social Media” reveals how people spend time on Facebook--the world's most popular social network. The study was based on a survey of 900 current and recent college graduates each of whom has an average of 254 friends.

Top.Facebook.Activities The study, conducted by S. Craig Watkins and H. Erin Lee at the University of Texas, Austin, presents some of the key findings in regards to the social, cultural, and political activities that young, college-educated Facebook users engage in; the individuals and communities they interact with; and the types of media and information they share and consume within the social networking site.

Got Facebook? Investigating What's Social About Social Media

Here are some of the key findings from the study:

• Of all the media content young people share via Facebook — photos, videos, links, quizzes — sharing photos is common with 87 percent of respondents reporting that they post photos on Facebook. However, less than 20 percent of these people post photos weekly or more frequently.

• Facebook has evolved into a social gaming platform with 58 percent of respondents reporting they are likely to play a game or take a quiz on a typical day, whereas 33 percent reporting they are not likely to. Of those who participate in gaming, 52 percent are college graduates and 44 percent are college students.

• In the transition from high school to college, individuals share significantly more personal information and “friend” more people, but don’t spend more time on Facebook.

College-educated Facebook users still frequently rely upon more traditional news sources, such as television and radio, and turn to those sources more frequently than online news sources.

Men tend to use Facebook more than women to post links to pop culture, current events and news-related topics.

A summary of the “Got Facebook? Investigating What’s Social About Social Media” study is available online at

Trend Watch: Election 2010, Youth & Mobile Politics

Pew.logo In a post-election nationwide survey of adults, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 82% of adults have cell phones.

Of those cell owners, 71% use their phone for texting and 39% use the phone for accessing the internet. With that as context, the Pew Internet survey found that:

  • 14% of all American adults used their cell phones to tell others that they had voted.
  • 12% of adults used their cell phones to keep up with news about the election or politics.
  • 10% of adults sent text messages relating to the election to friends, family members and others.
  • 6% of adults used their cells to let others know about conditions at their local voting stations on election day, including insights about delays, long lines, low turnout, or other issues.
  • 4% of adults used their phones to monitor results of the election as they occurred.
  • 3% of adults used their cells to shoot and share photos or videos related to the election.
  • 1% of adults used a cell-phone app that provided updates from a candidate or group about election news.
  • 1% of adults contributed money by text message to a candidate or group connected to the election like a party or interest group. 

If a respondent said she or he had done any of those activities in the last campaign season, we counted that person in this 26% cohort. Throughout this report we call this group “mobile political users” or the “mobile political population.”

Pew Internet Project: Election 2010 & Mobile Politics

Some 71% of cell owners say they voted in the 2010 election, compared with 64% of the full adult population in this survey who say they voted. (Note: The overall reported turnout was about 40% in the election. It is common for post-election surveys to hear from a greater number of people who say they voted than was actually the case.)
There was no partisan tilt in the makeup of the mobile political user population. They split their votes equally between Democratic and Republican congressional candidates – 44% to each.

About 2% said they voted for other candidates and 10% didn’t answer the question or said they didn’t know. Generally, there were few partisan or ideological differences in way this group used their cell phones for politics.   

In most cases, those ages 18-29 were more likely than those in older cohorts to use their cell phones for getting and sharing political information.

Hillary Clinton on Digital Freedom

Hillary.clinton.internet.freedom "There are many other networks in the world - some aid in the movement of people or resources; and some facilitate exchanges between individuals with the same work or interests.

But the internet is a network that magnifies the power and potential of all others. And that's why we believe it's critical that its users are assured certain basic freedoms.

First among them is the freedom of expression. This freedom is no longer defined solely by whether citizens can go into the town square and criticize their government without fear of retribution. Blogs, email, social networks, and text messages have opened up new forums for exchanging ideas - and created new targets for censorship...

The final freedom I want to address today flows from the four I’ve already mentioned: the freedom to connect - the idea that governments should not prevent people from connecting to the internet, to websites, or to each other.

The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly in cyberspace. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate in the name of progress. Once you’re on the internet, you don’t need to be a tycoon or a rock star to have a huge impact on society."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Global Youth: UK Teens Get Unplugged, Raw & Real

Teens.speech The Teens’ Speech was an open invitation to British teenagers to address the nation. It gave young people the chance to speak out on a range of profoundly important issues and provide the rest of us with an extraordinary opportunity to see the future through their eyes.


The Teens' Speech project culminated with this powerful film highlighting the thoughts and opinions of teenagers in the UK. Teenage Britain face many issues and here we see a snapshot of what its like for young people today.

This is a fantastic film that provides a rare glimpse at what teens really think about their lives, school, teen stereotypes, youth culture as well as their relationships with their parents, peers, teachers and government.

A big thanks to Three Billion for sharing this 17 minutes of golden research.

Global Youth: Differences Between American & Canadian Millennials

A recent study conducted by market research firm Ipsos examined the values and lifestyles of North American youth aged 10-34 found both shared cultural similarities and marked differences between Canadian and American youth.

The study, A Check-up on the Habits and Values of North America’s Young Adults, found that health care, education and employment matters were rated as the top three issues in both countries.

Here's a breakdown of some of the key points from both parts of the study on North American youth.

Lifestyle & Values
  • In the United States, 39%,of the 18-34 year-old set are married compared to only 25% in Canada;
  • The number of domestic partnerships in Canada is significantly higher (18% vs. 7%);
  • 45% of Americans were more likely to report "owning" their home compared to those living in Canada (35%);
  • 19% of Americans traveled to a vacation destination that was out of country compared to 48% of Canadian respondents;
  • 64% of this group in the US versus 62% in Canada reported being employed on a full-time or part-time basis or were self-employed.


  • 76% of Canadians between the ages of 18-34 have at least some college or post-secondary education compared to 68% of Americans in the same age range;
  • 17% of Canadians in the group reported being full-time students compared to 13% of Americans;

Social Media, TV, Mobile & Technology Usage

  • Americans sending and receiving an average of 129.6 text messages per week;
  • Canadian average of 78.7 messages per week;

  • Americans reported watching an average of 5.9 hours of TV per weekday;
  • Canadians watched 4.8 hours of TV per weekday;

  • Americans averaged 28 hours per week on the Internet, compared to 27 hours by Canadians;

Did Obama Really Rock the Youth Vote? Sorta.

New figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that Obama & the Democrats surfed into power on a wave of across-the-board increased support for the left. Not the young.

According to the report, voter turnout for 18- to 24-year-olds increased, but only by about 2 percent compared with 2004 election numbers.

So it appears that the much ballyhooed "youth revolution" didn't quite pan out the way we all thought it did.

Related Links

Global Youth: Iranian Gen Y on Revolution 2.0 In this stunningly beautiful and poignant essay, titled "1984" appearing in the Tehran Bureau, a young Iranian man shares how the 1984 Revolution fought by his parents' generation has effected his generation and provides a glimpse into the motivation and impetus behind the current election crisis in Iran.

"My generation is tired of being disillusioned. We refuse to accept the status quo and we have risen up in defiance. I am not sure how long it will take for the totalitarians to crush our resistance. For now though, we’re holding up just fine.

We’re holding up fine even though our brothers at Basij and the police are murdering their dear fellow Iranians. We’re holding up even though you bash us with clubs and batons and try to suffocate us with your tear gas.

A nation stands tall refusing to succumb that easily."

Related Resources

Image Credit: Iran, Tehran, The Green Victory Sign Originally Uploaded by Hamed Saber

Youth Vote 2008: How Obama Hooked Gen Y

Since the election, there has been lots of attention focused on how the Obama campaign was able to leverage many types of new and social media to engage Gen Y to get out and vote.

At the 2008 Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup East, held at Boston College just days after the election, several of the panelists talked about Obama's use of social media. Some of the most interesting and detailed election research at the conference was presented by Dan Coates, co-founder of SurveyU.

Dan's presentation, What Every Brand Could Learn from The Obama Campaign's Marketing to College Students, outlined some of the key demographic and media consumption trends among college students that the Obama campaign leveraged to get youth more involved in the political process. Dan also explained how marketers can use these same strategies to engage with this increasingly influential generation.

In this video, taken at a Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics panel, YES We Can producer Wes Hill and The Nation's Ari Melber discuss Youth, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the 2008 election year.

Also worth noting, and somewhat lost in the post-election euphoria, is the election of Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman-elect Schock is the first member of Congress born in the 1980s and he will be the first millennial to serve in Congress.

Related Resources

Twitter Vote Report: Tweet the Vote 2008  On November 4th 2008, millions of Americans will go to over 200,000 distinct voting locations and using different systems and machinery to vote. 

Some voters will have a terrific experiences, and others will experience the same problems we have been hearing about for years - long lines, broken machines, inaccurate voting rolls, and others will experience problems that we haven’t heard about before.

We voters are using Twitter and other texting tools to report on how the vote is really going during this election, and we’re urging everyone to use the common word (or “hashtag” in Twitter lingo) of  #votereport as they do so. If that happens, we’ll all be able watch on maps and graphs how the election is going across the country.

That’s why a new citizen-driven election monitoring system called Twitter Vote Report was just launched. Using either, iPhone, direct SMS, or our telephone hotlines, voters will have a new way to share their experiences with one another and ensure that the media and watchdog groups are aware of any problems.

And YOU can help!  Be a citizen journalist!  Submit a report about conditions at your polling place. Four ways to submit reports to Vote Report:

  • Twitter: include #votereport and other tags to describe the scene on the ground
  • SMS: Send text messages to 66937 (MOZES) starting with the keyword #votereport plus other hash tags
  • iPhone: We have a Twitter Vote Report iPhone app in the App store!
  • Phone: Call our automated system at 567-258-VOTE (8683) to report about conditions, using any touch-tone phone

And if you would like to talk to a human to report bad conditions you’ve observed, please call our partner 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Related Resources