Read This: Andy Carvin’s Book on Social Media and the Arab Spring, ‘Distant Witness’


Here’s a milestone to consider: digital politics has now been around long enough now that authors can start writing about how it HAS changed people’s lives, rather than about how it WILL change their lives. Case in point? Andy Carvin’s new book about social media and the Arab Spring revolutions, “Distant Witness.” Here’s the Amazon description:

The series of Arab uprisings collectively known as the Arab Spring is a flashpoint in history — perhaps the biggest we’ve seen since the collapse of the Soviet bloc 20 years ago. It’s also been a stunning revolution in the way breaking news is reported around the world — and who controls the news.

In this book, NPR social media chief Andy Carvin — “the man who tweets revolutions” — offers a unique first-person recap of the Arab Spring. Part memoir, part history, the book includes intimate stories of the revolutionaries who fought for freedom on the streets and across the Internet — stories that would have never been recorded before the days of social media.

Andy’s a great guy and someone who grabbed hold of a tiger and rode it for all it was worth during the Arab Spring; by following, amplifying and connecting people involved in the uprisings, he was one of the few outsiders who had a global view of what was happening on the ground. Check it out, and see also our other recent book recommendation, “Social Change Anytime Anywhere.” For more on the internet and the Arab Spring, the Epolitics.com piece on social media in the Tunisian revolution is another resource to keep in mind.

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