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← Going deep in a viral world | Zeynep Tufekci | TEDxUNC

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Showing Revision 15 created 05/17/2017 by Denise RQ.

  1. Hello, everyone.
  2. My name is indeed Zeynep Tufekci,
  3. and it was pronounced correctly
    for which I'm very grateful.
  4. It happens about
    one out of 100 times or so.
  5. (Laughter)
  6. I am originally from Turkey,
    and I want to talk about these talks.
  7. I want to talk about
    how ideas take flight in this world,
  8. and I want to talk about
  9. how to think about things,
    and how to question things,
  10. and how to use all these ways
    of information that we have
  11. to go deeper.
  12. I want to start
    by talking about Kony 2012.
  13. I can't see you,
    so if this were a classroom, I'd say,
  14. "How many of you heard of it?"
  15. and everybody'd raise their hands almost
    because almost everybody had heard of it.
  16. This happened two years ago when a video,
  17. - as you can see
    about a 100 million views already,
  18. many of which were racked up
    in the first few weeks.
  19. It was a video about Joseph Kony -
  20. and indicted war criminal
  21. who was in Uganda,
  22. and it was this very moving,
    compelling 30-minute video
  23. that told a story of good and bad
  24. in very stark, moving terms.
  25. In fact, many of us watched it,
  26. people were moved by it,
  27. celebrities tweeted abut it.
  28. It just went crazy viral.
  29. It seemed like
    such an obvious, simple story.
  30. It was told by these people
    talking about it.
  31. In this chart, you can see
  32. that tens of millions of people
    were talking about Joseph Kony,
  33. and "Let's stop it,"
  34. all these resources
    should go into this problem.
  35. This is Jason Russell who is the person
    through whom we hear this story.
  36. That's Gavin.
  37. He's telling the story to his son.
  38. It's very easy for us to identify:
  39. Jason looks like just a regular guy,
  40. and his son is very cute.
  41. They obviously - if you're wondering
    who the good guys are in this movie
  42. - it's like a movie -
  43. likely candidates.
  44. Who are the bad guys? There you go.
  45. Joseph Kony, in case you missed the point,
  46. Hitler's right there.
  47. It's the most evil guy ever;
  48. probably it was the sense of the video.
  49. Now, it's true:
  50. Joseph Kony is an indicted war criminal.
  51. And it is a problem.
  52. There is nothing
    to belittle the real issue
  53. and the real problems in Uganda
  54. that came from that civil war
    in that conflict.
  55. So there are
    very many problems and issues,
  56. but the story that was told to us
  57. in such a slick moving,
    pull-out-our-heart string way
  58. was too simple.
  59. It wasn't even fully true.
  60. It was too simplified and made
    into this digestible saccharine for us.
  61. In fact, if you went on YouTube,
  62. and just started looking,
  63. if you went on Twitter,
    if you went on social media,
  64. you would find Rosebell Kagumire
  65. who is a Ugandan journalist and blogger.
  66. And it's really an amazing world,
  67. because all she did
    was she opened her laptop,
  68. she used her webcam,
  69. there is no slick production [values.]
  70. "Stop Kony," the original video,
  71. was 30 minutes of great production
    and great narrative;
  72. this is bad lighting
    - look at the background -
  73. she's just in her office or study,
    and she's just talking.
  74. But if you listen to her
  75. - and I encourage you
    to go follow her on Twitter,
  76. she's awesome -
  77. She tells a complex story of conflict
  78. that was caused by resources
    and lack of resources,
  79. and marginalization of people,
  80. and how the Kony story
    is six, seven years out of date,
  81. and it's not the problem
    facing Uganda right now,
  82. and while, of course,
    if that man was caught,
  83. it wouldn't really be on top
    of anybody's list on Uganda
  84. to send all their resources
    to catch this man,
  85. and the complexities of moving
    in a post-conflict world,
  86. and how do you make peace
    and how do you... I'm stopping there.
  87. The point is it wasn't the simple story
    that you would've thought
  88. if you were one of the 100 million people
    who watched the video.
  89. If you were one of the 600,000 people
    who watched Rosebell,
  90. then you were digging deeper,
    and you could go one more step.
  91. That really was
    a very interesting moment for me,
  92. because, you see, I grew up in Turkey.
  93. I grew up without speaking English.
  94. So I didn't have this,
    which is Turkish Wikipedia.
  95. I thought you guys
    should learn some Turkish.
  96. It's a good thing to do, very useful.
  97. It actually is a complicated language,
    but it's nothing like English.
  98. But "Vikipedi."
  99. There you go.
    You now know a Turkish word.
  100. (Laughter)
  101. We didn't have it.
  102. Is a professor telling us
    to use Wikipedia?
  103. Well, yes, "Don't cite it,"
  104. It's a great place to start.
  105. You can quote me on that.
  106. We've all been there, right?
  107. Wiki-drift; you start some place,
  108. and then, three hours later,
    you're reading.
  109. "Why am I reading about slugs
    and their digestive system?"
  110. (Laughter)
  111. So I love it.
  112. But I didn't have it!
  113. I did not have Wikipedia, but I had this.
  114. That is my 92-year-old grandma.
  115. If 3D printers are finally invented
    and they can print grandmothers,
  116. this is probably what they'll print.
  117. She is like prototype grandma.
  118. (Laughter)
  119. She's perfect.
  120. She had grown up in Turkey
  121. under conditions
    when girls did not go to school.
  122. She was 12 when she was
    pulled from school,
  123. and was told, "That's it.
    That's enough for you.
  124. You're now about to get married."
  125. A miracle happened:
    the teacher intervened,
  126. and said, "There's an exam
    for scholarships for girls.
  127. So they can go
    to the top high school in Turkey."
  128. And the teacher, secretly from the family,
  129. entered her and my grandmother won.
  130. And there was a lot of conflict,
  131. but stuff came together,
    and a miracle happened,
  132. and she was allowed to go Istanbul,
    to this big, new city
  133. and in a boarding school
    this elite top boarding school.
  134. And that thing she's holding
    is a trophy they gave her
  135. at the 75th anniversary of her graduation.
  136. She graduated
    from high school, then college,
  137. probably the first person in her town,
    let alone her family.
  138. And she became a teacher.
  139. And because she had grown up
    wanting to go to school and pulled,
  140. and just by some miracle, managed to go,
  141. she appreciated the opportunity
    books and education gave.
  142. So when ever somebody came
    to the school she worked at,
  143. which I also attended
    as an elementary school student,
  144. when somebody came to sell encyclopedias
  145. - Do you know those things? No. -
  146. (Laughter)
  147. Those book things?
  148. Well, there used to be people
    who went around selling them door-to-door;
  149. we had them in Turkey, too.
  150. And they all had my name
    in their phone book
  151. - which, of course, wasn't digital then -
  152. "Buy Zeynep, sucker grandma"
  153. which meant if I took them to my grandma,
    she would buy whatever they were selling.
  154. I loved reading,
    and I loved encyclopedias.
  155. So when the encyclopedia sales person
    would come and say,
  156. "We heard there's
    a Zeynep in this school,"
  157. I would pipe up and they would say,
    "Take us to your grandma."
  158. and my grandma would buy me
    whatever I could buy:
  159. every single Turkish
    children's encyclopedia I had.
  160. (Laughter)
  161. It was awesome.
  162. And I would just read them.
  163. Do you read books?
    Comic books or other books?
  164. I would read them like that.
  165. I would say, "I'm going
    to read the Ps today."
  166. I would just read the Ps.
  167. Or some of the encyclopedias
    were thematic, and I would say,
  168. "I'm going to read transportation today."
  169. I read them cover to cover.
    I knew what was in every one of them.
  170. Remember, Turkish, so it's not
    an unlimited collection, either.
  171. And I would end up
    having questions; that I hit limits.
  172. They weren't in any of my encyclopedias.
  173. I knew I just couldn't get at them.
  174. Now you don't live in that world anymore.
  175. You can go deeper and deeper and deeper.
  176. You can look, and ask, and question,
  177. and I don't live in that world anymore.
  178. Everyday, I pull out
    my phone, and I'm always,
  179. "I can look up anything I want."
  180. and if there's some public record of it,
    I'll probably find it.
  181. Or I can ask people, experts.
  182. When I have a question that puzzles me,
  183. I can look up someone, I can email them.
  184. This is just amazing.
  185. And what I want to say is
  186. when you hear a talk like this,
  187. there is Bill Gates';
  188. you know, a very successful TED talk.
  189. When you hear his talk,
  190. the thing to probably take away from it
  191. is not what he said in his talk,
  192. but to look at a world
    in which what made him successful,
  193. how much of it was him,
  194. what was the structure,
    what were the opportunities he had,
  195. where were some of the stumbling blocks?
  196. He, for example, had many opportunities,
  197. because his family was well off,
  198. so he went to a private school
    which had computers
  199. when even colleges didn't have one,
  200. so he became a programmer early,
  201. and he was programming
    and doing things very early on
  202. which gave him
    the opportunity to be first
  203. when software was being commercialized;
  204. complicated story.
  205. My point isn't one thing.
  206. My point is look at these talks
    as a question mark.
  207. It's not a world
    where you can just lean back
  208. and be one of the people
    who does something.
  209. In software, in gadgets,
    people who design them have a word:
  210. lean forward gadgets
    and lean back gadgets.
  211. Lean back gadgets are the ones
  212. that allow you to lean back
    and not participate much,
  213. whereas the lean forward ones
  214. are the ones where you're doing stuff
    and participating.
  215. And these talks, while they can be great,
  216. if you don't look at them
    as a question mark,
  217. they can seem like lean-back talks.
  218. They can seem like, "Oh, great story,"
  219. because they're simplified
    in 12 minutes, in 15 minutes.
  220. We're going to simplify something.
  221. So when you hear something,
    pull out your phone.
  222. Is there an alternative explanation
    to the extinction?
  223. Is there more to the story?
  224. What else could the CIA have done?
  225. What is the NSA doing?
  226. What's the best balance
    between security and surveillance?
  227. What are other questions we can ask?
  228. Very good questions.
  229. Do not just listen to us,
    because it's always complicated.
  230. (Laughter)
  231. It's always complicated.
  232. Any question worth solving,
    any problem worth tackling,
  233. will be complicated by human factors,
  234. social factors, political factors.
  235. And it's those people who don't just
    watch the hundred million viewed video,
  236. but then go watch Rosebell, the 600, 000;
  237. and some of those people
    who will then go read,
  238. and some of those people
    will maybe become activists for life,
  239. maybe some of them
    will become policy makers,
  240. maybe some of them will become
  241. the people who then run for office,
    run an organization, who knows?
  242. It's not a world
    in which you can just watch from afar
  243. and have these nicely-packaged talks
    do the work for you.
  244. If there's a problem you want to solve,
  245. if there's a mark
    you want to leave in this world,
  246. just don't just look at it as a period,
  247. look at it as a question mark; always.
  248. But don't take my word for it.
    Dig deep, dig deep.
  249. Thank you.
  250. (Applause)