Technology and Society - Weekly materials

Week #2 - Identity in the Digital Era

Ulrike Schultze, TEDxSMU

How Social Media Shapes Identity

Technology/Social media plays an essential role in our lives nowadays. Schultze explores the co-constitutive relationship “we construct technology but technology also construct us, we become what the technology allows us to become”, by using the example of ethnic emoji’s as identifiers of racial actions. She furthers by explaining the second life/ virtual world life(a profile, virtual body/avatar,etc), that should be different and separate from your real life, where one explores what he/she should and would like to be if he/she could only get rid of his/her actual body.     

Watch Video

Izza Fathi

Arabic started to Extinct due to the internet

An interview with Izza Fathi (a lecturer in social sciences) about the correlation between internet and national identity. Fathi indicated that internet distorts the identity (national, religious, and Language) by targeting kids and youth through movies and cartoons. Portraying super heroes in certain ways, conveying religious or atheist messages to kids, using dialects rather than the Classical Arabic are all ways of distorting identities. 

Izza emphasizes that language is the pot of thought, for example, Jews came from 180 countries speaking different languages; thus Israel acknowledged Hebrew as a national language and made all science in Hebrew.

Watch Video


Behind all the idealism we see in social networking sites

An advertisement on the reality behind the idealism we see in social media. The video shows how people try to maintain an image in the eyes of their followers hiding behind the likes and comments the sad truth about their actual lives.

Watch Video

Moudhi AL-Jamea

Digital Identity In Social Media

Online users tend to create their own digital identity that does not necessarily equal their physical identity. They can be categorized against the type and quantity of information they share online (fake, professional, real)/ (private/public). In the online space inattentive users may become victims of identity theft through trojans and fishing. Nevertheless, although numbers of identity theft are rising, numbers of social media users (twitter specifically) are rising.     

Watch Video

Week #1 - Setting the scene

Suzanne Talhouk, TEDxBeirut

Who says if we speak Arabic we are no longer “cool”? 

Suzanne tells her story while trying to preserve Arabic. She along with others launched an initiative and many campaigns to preserve Arabic with various slogans like “بحكيك من الشرق  Betred min el Gharb” and “Do not kill your language”. 

She built the initiative on core element of nations rise. She indicated that studies have shown that to be creative in other languages you need to master your mother tongue, and that “If you want to kill a nation, kill their language”. She went on to talk about examples of developing countries that went up the ladder while preserving their language like Malaysia and Turkey. At the end she gave some suggestions for how to preserve Arabic and get it back to the throne of languages by starting from oneself.

Watch Video

AJ+ عربي

Why is there so little Arabic content on the Internet?

Post, Tweet, Computer, Telephone are all terms that have synonyms in Arabic, yet the English version is more popular on the internet. The Arabic content contributes only 3% of the global content on the internet, although 96 million Arabs use the internet. Many reasons were mentioned here that are related to the core language and/or technical difficulties, which gave birth to ARABIZI – writing Arabic using English letters and numbers.

Watch Video

UNDP Podcast لون الابتكار

Civic Technology: a two ways road

Listen Here

Nowadays, many people often think of technology as anything but a civilian thing, and that technology only isolates and divides us. Nevertheless, technology if used efficiently could close the gap between citizens and their governments. Two stories; one from Palestine and  one from Tunisia demonstrate the use of technology is engaging citizens in decision making.

Watch Video