The Internet and the Republican primaries in the US. The new constitution has taken effect in Hungary sparking mass protests. And an ape behind a barbecue.
USA: Internet and the Republican primary campaign
The Republican primaries to select a candidate to run for President in November have kicked off with Mitt Romney winning the leadoff Iowa caucus by a very slim margin on Tuesday night. He is the front runner in many of the polls, and the former governor for Massachusetts is clearly getting a lot of online coverage. His Facebook page now has over 1,2 million fans, a lot more than his closest competitors.
But former senator Rick Santorum’s recent surge in popularity which saw him come in second in the Iowa polls is also down to increased online visibility. Perhaps he has his sleeveless jumpers to thank for his success… social networkers have set up entire pages devoted to his trademark tops he wears at almost all public appearances.
But according to the site Socialbakers, which has analyzed the candidates’ Facebook data, Ron Paul emerges the winner in the online electoral battle and the most effective at generated online support. Supporters of the Texas congressman, who came third in the Iowa caucus, are apparently the most active in promoting their candidate’s campaign on the web.
The Internet has indeed played a key role in the communication strategies adopted by the contenders for the White House. The Washington Post has developed an application to measure their online popularity; it counts, in real time, the number of times the candidates are mentioned on Twitter. Google has also launched a site which allows you to see, amongst other things, candidate related searches.
Protests in Hungary
Sections of Hungarian society are up in arms. As we can see in these pieces of online amateur video footage, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the capital, Budapest, on Monday to protest against the Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the new Constitution which represents a serious danger to democracy in Hungary: it poses a threat to the independence of the justice system and the media.
People have been expressing their fears openly; these placards were made and used for Monday’s rally. They display slogans attacking the implicit introduction of dictatorship in Hungary and condemn the authoritarian abuses of the Conservative Prime Minister.
A number of public figures like former socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany filmed here with demonstrators have also stepped forward to voice their opposition; they all share the same objective: convince the authorities to back track and abandon the constitution measures deemed to be freedom killers.
American legal expert Kim Lane Scheppele thinks the fears raised by the people of Hungary are more than justified. In this article entitled “The Unconstitutional Constitution” she says the measures outlined in Hungary’s constitution go against the fundamental values of the European Union, of which Hungary is a member state. She says people are within their every right to feel concerned, and that Orban is trying to undermine democracy and consolidate his power.
Wikipedia project to cover life in Monmouth
Collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is hoping to break new ground with “Monmouthpedia”. Residents and visitors to this Welsh town have been adding contributions, covering the history, geography, and sites of interest in this medieval village. And there are also bar codes you can scan in the streets, and obtain, for example information on a historical monument in Monmouth.
Now trending on social networks
British football player turned movie star, Vinnie Jones, is currently trending heavily on social networks across the UK. The former bad boy of the pitch features in an instructional video on how to administer CPR, playing in the background is the Bee Gees track “Stayin’ Alive”. This fun awareness campaign is proving to be a huge hit with web users, and shows that humour is an effective way of conveying a lifesaving message.
Video of the day
Kanzi is a thirty one year old male Bonobo living in the United States, and he is not just any old ape... As we can see in this video, contrary to most animals, he’s not afraid of fire and even knows how to light one. He’s very smart and resourceful and selects just the wood and leaves he needs to get the barbecue going, he even keeps a space free to grill his marshmallows.