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Sure, it’s not all that surprising that Google and Facebook are the most visited websites in almost every country. But what’s more interesting is where they’re not. Using public data from the web traffic service Alexa, the Oxford Internet Institute’s Information Geographies blog has mapped the most popular websites by country (the colonial-style map above is entitled, “Age of Internet Empires”). And while researchers found that Google and Facebook reigned supreme among Internet users across the globe, there were some notable exceptions.

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The al-Watan Voice newspaper, for instance, is the most visited site in the Palestinian territories, while a Russian email service, Mail.ru, dominates in Kazakhstan. Japan and Taiwan are Yahoo!’s last bastions, and in Russia the search engine Yandex tops the list. There are also blind spots in the survey; Alexa lacks information on countries with small Internet populations, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa.

China is a particularly interesting case: The Chinese search engine Baidu is the most visited website in the country, but its success may be engineered in part by the government. As the speculation goes — and some evidence suggests — Chinese officials have colluded with local business interests to limit Google’s share of the market in favor of Baidu and other companies (cases have been reported of Chinese users visiting Google, only to be mysteriously redirected to Baidu, though Baidu deniesthat the government is giving it a leg up on the competition). Today, Baidu controls around 80 percent of the Chinese search market and, according to Alexa data that the Oxford researchers question, recently became the market leader in South Korea as well (Google left mainland China in 2010, but still runs a Hong Kong-based portal). The countries below are sized based on the size of their Internet populations (click to expand the map):

But don’t doubt Google’s supremacy just yet. Not only is Google the top site in 62 countries of the 120 countries tracked, but the researchers note that “among the 50 countries that have Facebook listed as the most visited visited website, 36 of them have Google as the second most visited, and the remaining 14 countries list YouTube (currently owned by Google).”

It makes you wonder: Just what are the implications of so few companies controlling worldwide access to so much information?

 

Posted By Catherine A. Traywick (FP),Thursday, October 3, 2013

Here’s a selection of photos and videos you may have missed posted on UN social media accounts from around the UN system over the past few weeks and shared with our social media team. Thank you to all who contributed!

Fred Tissandier ‏@ftissandier 16h On vaccine trail with Kiaku. 22 km biking to deliver vaccines to children of Kizulu Sanzi #sud-Congo

Bicycles are used to deliver vaccines to children in Congo. Thanks to Fred Tissandier of GAVI Alliance for posting this photo on Instgram.

Peacekeepers from Jordan recently hosted a free medical clinic for 350 students in Liberia. Thanks to our UN Mission in Liberia (@UNMILNews) colleagues for posting this photo on their Twitter account.

A group of young graduates recently received their certificates after a training cycle on life skills for ‘out of school youth’ at a technical school for boys in Darfur. Thanks to the UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) for posting this and more on their Facebook page.

As part of Malala Day on July 12, UNICEF Africa tweeted this photo of young people in Democratic Republic of Congo standing up to support Malala’s fight for the right to education for all. Thanks to @UNICEFAfrica for posting this and more on their Twitter account.

 

Check out the highlights from the 51st Graduate Study Programme, one of UN’s flagship educational programmes, which took place in Geneva this summer on the theme of “Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.” Thanks to our colleagues in Geneva for posting this and more on their YouTube account.

UN Special Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi is scooting away at UN Headquarters! In his own words, this is part of what happens when young people get an office at the UN. Thanks to @AhmadAlhendawi for posting this and more on his Twitter account.

At the ECOSOC Humanitarian Fair in Geneva earlier this month, the UN Refugees Agency presented these prototype solar-powered shelters to the audience. Thanks to UNHCR United Kingdom (@UNHCRUK) for posting this and more on their Twitter account.

At the Economic and Social Council Humanitarian Fair in Geneva earlier this month, the UN Refugee Agency presented these prototype solar-powered shelters to the visitors. Thanks to UNHCR United Kingdom (@UNHCRUK) for posting this and more on their Twitter account.

Students at a technical school in Lebanon were taught the secrets of making pasta when a visting chef came to visit their Italian cuisine course recently. See more photos and read about the event here. Thanks to United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for posting this and more on their website.

* UN, Jul 21, 2013

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Fourteen-year-old Katelyn Norman doesn’t have much time left. Doctors say osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, will soon take the Tennessee teen’s life. But it hasn’t stolen all her chances to experience the joys of being young — including the prom.

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Katelyn hoped she’d be well enough to attend a personalized prom at her school Tuesday night, but that afternoon she had trouble breathing and had to be hospitalized. Her friends and family rallied, bringing the event to her hospital room, where her date presented her with a corsage and a “Prom Queen” sash.

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Katelyn insisted that the prom at school proceed without her: “She contacted me and said prom must go on — that’s her, and you can’t help but feed off that energy, that life,” said the organizer.

 

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http://www.wate.com/story/21802744/teen-fighting-cancer-checks-prom-off-her-bucket-list?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8713178

LAFOLLETTE (WATE) – There wasn’t a fancy dress or even a dance floor, but on Tuesday night family and friends helped cross off the number one thing on a teen with terminal cancer’s bucket list.

Katelyn Norman, 14, has been fighting bone cancer for months, last week she got word her chemotherapy treatments were no longer working. Katelyn made a bucket list that included going to prom, and the Campbell County community pitched into make it happen.

But Tuesday afternoon, Katelyn was having difficulty breathing and was rushed to Children’s Hospital. When she couldn’t go to the dance, they brought the dance to her.

In stable condition and in high spirits, Katelyn was able to have a make shift prom in her room.

The hospital staff decorated the room and her date gave her a corsage and a special sash. Family and friends gathered outside with candles.

Meanwhile, in Campbell County, the celebration of Katelyn was taking place.

The music was blaring, the decorations were hung, it was meant to be Katelyn’s perfect night, and she wanted it to go on, even if she wasn’t there.

“She contacted me and said prom must go on, that’s her, and you can’t help but feed off that energy, that life,” said Sharon Shepard, an instructor at Katelyn’s school and organizer of the prom.

The night was a celebration of Katelyn, featuring all her favorite things.  But most important, the people she loves most.

“Once you meet her your life will never be the same, she has such an impact,” Shepard said.

And despite her absence her friends passed along messages of hope and love.

“Tell her that I love her and she’s my hero,” said friend McKayla Pierce.

“If I could say anything to her I would say hold on, she’s fighting hard,” said another friend, Brandi Marsh.

Her courage even prompted the mayor to declare Tuesday Katelyn Norman day.

“We wanted to try to make this day, and this time in her life, special to her because she makes it special for people in Campbell County,” said Mayor William Bailey.

That was more evident than ever as thousands of people lined Highway 63 in honor of Katelyn.

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“I think she’s a hometown hero for all of us and a great inspiration to everybody,” said Seirra Ames, who came to hold a candle in Katelyn’s honor.

For more than a mile, candles in hand, the Campbell County community came together to light the night all for a teen that has touched so many.

“It amazes me that an individual has that much impact on people,” Shepard said. “But that’s just Katelyn.”

Google and Facebook have removed web pages deemed offensive to Indian political and religious leaders, in compliance with an Indian court directive issued during an ongoing civil lawsuit against top web firms.

The California-based Internet giants are among 22 companies, including Yahoo! and Orkut, who have come under intense Indian government pressure to remove images, video or text considered “anti-religious” or “anti-social.”

The civil case being heard today in Delhi was brought by a private Muslim citizen, Mufti Aizaz Arshad Kazmi, who claims that the firms are hosting material intolerant of religious communities which could trigger communal unrest in India, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the BBC, Google and Facebook told the court they had complied with an earlier order by a Delhi district court judge to remove certain material. In a statement, Google said: “This step is in accordance with Google’s longstanding policy of responding to court orders.”

The firm did not specify which items it had removed. Facebook India said that it also had filed its compliance report. A criminal case of similar allegations, brought by Hindu journalist Vinay Rai, is due to be heard in March, with top executives summoned to appear before the court.

According to the Associated Press, Indian officials were infuriated by online material insulting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi, and religious groups.

Some illustrations depict Singh and Gandhi in compromising positions, and pigs running through Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.

“There is no question of any censorship,” Junior Communications Minister Sachin Pilot said. “They all have to operate within the laws of our country… [and] there must be responsible behavior on both sides.”

Despite the firms’ protestations that it is impossible to pre-filter material, and their argument that no action should be taken against them, the Delhi court today insisted that all 22 companies provide a written reply within 15 days detailing the removal of the “offensive” material, according to Reuters.

In an earlier court hearing, Google’s lawyer NK Kaul, said that the case concerned “a constitutional issue of freedom of speech and expression, and suppressing it was not possible as the right to freedom of speech in democratic India separates us from a totalitarian regime like China.”

In the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a reporter who, confronted with living the same day over and over again, matures from an arrogant, self-serving professional climber to someone capable of loving and appreciating others and his world. Murray convincingly portrays the transformation from someone whose self-importance is difficult to abide into a person imbued with kindness.  It seems that the Nietzschean test of eternal return, insofar as it is played out in Punxsutawney, yields not an overman but a man of decency.

But there is another story line at work in the film, one we can see if we examine Murray’s character not in the early arrogant stage, nor in the post-epiphany stage, where the calendar is once again set in motion, but in the film’s middle, where he is knowingly stuck in the repetition of days. In this part of the narrative, Murray’s character has come to terms with his situation. He alone knows what is going to happen, over and over again.  He has no expectations for anything different.  In this period, his period of reconciliation, he becomes a model citizen of Punxsutawney. He radiates warmth and kindness, but also a certain distance.

The early and final moments of “Groundhog Day” offer something that is missing during this period of peace:  passion. Granted, Phil Connors’s early ambitious passion for advancement is a far less attractive thing than the later passion of his love for Rita (played by Andie MacDowell).  But there is passion in both cases.  It seems that the eternal return of the same may bring peace and reconciliation, but at least in this case not intensity.

And here is where a lesson about love may lie.  One would not want to deny that Connors comes to love Rita during the period of the eternal Groundhog Day.  But his love lacks the passion, the abandon, of the love he feels when he is released into a real future with her. There is something different in those final moments of the film.  A future has opened for their relationship, and with it new avenues for the intensity of his feelings for her. Without a future for growth and development, romantic love can extend only so far.  Its distinction from, say, a friendship with benefits begins to become effaced.

There is, of course, in all romantic love the initial infatuation, which rarely lasts.  But if the love is to remain romantic, that infatuation must evolve into a longer-term intensity, even if a quiet one, that nourishes and is nourished by the common engagements and projects undertaken over time.

This might be taken to mean that a limitless future would allow for even more intensity to love than a limited one.  Romantic love among immortals would open itself to an intensity that eludes our mortal race.  After all, immortality opens an infinite future.  And this would seem to be to the benefit of love’s passion.  I think, however, that matters are quite the opposite, and that “Groundhog Day” gives us the clue as to why this is.  What the film displays, if we follow this interpretive thread past the film’s plot, is not merely the necessity of time itself for love’s intensity but the necessity of a specific kind of time:  time for development.  The eternal return of “Groundhog Day” offered plenty of time.  It promised an eternity of it.  But it was the wrong kind of time.  There was no time to develop a coexistence.  There was instead just more of the same.

The intensity we associate with romantic love requires a future that can allow its elaboration.  That intensity is of the moment, to be sure, but is also bound to the unfolding of a trajectory that it sees as its fate.  If we were stuck in the same moment, the same day, day after day, the love might still remain, but its animating passion would begin to diminish.

This is why romantic love requires death.

If our time were endless, then sooner or later the future would resemble an endless Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney.  It is not simply the fact of a future that ensures the intensity of romantic love; it is the future of meaningful coexistence.  It is the future of common projects and the passion that unfolds within them.  One might indeed remain in love with another for all eternity.  But that love would not burn as brightly if the years were to stammer on without number.

Why not, one might ask?  The future is open.  Unlike the future in “Groundhog Day,” it is not already decided.  We do not have our next days framed for us by the day just passed.  We can make something different of our relationships.  There is always more to do and more to create of ourselves with the ones with whom we are in love.

This is not true, however, and romantic love itself shows us why.  Love is between two particular people in their particularity.  We cannot love just anyone, even others with much the same qualities.  If we did, then when we met someone like the beloved but who possessed a little more of a quality to which we were drawn, we would, in the phrase philosophers of love use, “trade up.”  But we don’t trade up, or at least most of us don’t.  This is because we love that particular person in his or her specificity.  And what we create together, our common projects and shared emotions, are grounded in those specificities.  Romantic love is not capable of everything. It is capable only of what the unfolding of a future between two specific people can meaningfully allow.

Sooner or later the paths that can be opened by the specificities of a relationship come to an end.  Not every couple can, with a sense of common meaningfulness, take up skiing or karaoke, political discussion or gardening.  Eventually we must tread the same roads again, wearing them with our days.  This need not kill love, although it might.  But it cannot, over the course of eternity, sustain the intensity that makes romantic love, well, romantic.

One might object here that the intensity of love is a filling of the present, not a projection into the future.  It is now, in a moment that needs no other moments, that I feel the vitality of romantic love.  Why could this not continue, moment after moment?

To this, I can answer only that the human experience does not point this way.  This is why so many sages have asked us to distance ourselves from the world in order to be able to cherish it properly.  Phil Connors, in his reconciled moments, is something like a Buddhist.  But he is not a romantic.

Many readers will probably already have recognized that this lesson about love concerns not only its relationship with death, but also its relationship with life.  It doesn’t take eternity for many of our romantic love’s embers to begin to dim.  We lose the freshness of our shared projects and our passions, and something of our relationships gets lost along with them.  We still love our partner, but we think more about the old days, when love was new and the horizons of the future beckoned us.  In those cases, we needn’t look for Groundhog Day, for it will already have found us.

And how do we live with this?  How do we assimilate the contingency of romance, the waning of the intensity of our loves?  We can reconcile ourselves to our loves as they are, or we can aim to sacrifice our placid comfort for an uncertain future, with or without the one we love.  Just as there is no guarantee that love’s intensity must continue, there is no guarantee that it must diminish.  An old teacher of mine once said that “one has to risk somewhat for his soul.” Perhaps this is true of romantic love as well. The gift of our deaths saves us from the ineluctability of the dimming of our love; perhaps the gift of our lives might, here or there, save us from the dimming itself.

 

* Text By TODD MAY, NYT, FEBRUARY 26, 2012

 Todd May is Class of 1941 Memorial Professor of the Humanities at Clemson University.  His forthcoming book, “Friendship in an Age of Economics,” is based on an earlier column for The Stone.

For adolescents, Facebook and other social media have created an irresistible forum for online sharing and oversharing, so much so that endless mood-of-the-moment updates have inspired a snickering retort on T-shirts and posters: “Face your problems, don’t Facebook them.”

But specialists in adolescent medicine and mental health experts say that dark postings should not be hastily dismissed because they can serve as signs of depression and an early warning system for timely intervention. Whether therapists should engage with patients over Facebook, however, remains a matter of debate.

And parents have their own conundrum: how to distinguish a teenager’s typically melodramatic mutterings — like the “worst day of my life” rants about their “frenemies,” academics or even cafeteria food — from a true emerging crisis.

(Dr. Megan A. Moreno has studied college students’ Facebook postings for signs of depression. Some showed signs of risk.)

Last year, researchers examined Facebook profiles of 200 students at the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Some 30 percent posted updates that met the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for a symptom of depression, reporting feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, insomnia or sleeping too much, and difficulty concentrating.

Their findings echo research that suggests depression is increasingly common among college students. Some studies have concluded that 30 to 40 percent of college students suffer a debilitating depressive episode each year. Yet scarcely 10 percent seek counseling.

“You can identify adolescents and young adults on Facebook who are showing signs of being at risk, who would benefit from a clinical visit for screening,” said Dr. Megan A. Moreno, a principal investigator in the Facebook studies and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sometimes the warnings are seen in hindsight. Before 15-year-old Amanda Cummings committed suicide by jumping in front of a bus near her Staten Island home on Dec. 27, her Facebook updates may have revealed her anguish. On Dec. 1, she wrote: “then ill go kill myself, with these pills, this knife, this life has already done half the job.”

Facebook started working with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 2007. A reader who spots a disturbing post can alert Facebook and report the content as “suicidal.” After Facebook verifies the comment, it sends a link for the prevention lifeline to both the person who may need help and the person who alerted Facebook. In December, Facebook also began sending the distressed person a link to an online counselor.

While Facebook’s reporting feature has been criticized by some technology experts as unwieldy, and by some suicide prevention experts as a blunt instrument to address a volatile situation, other therapists have praised it as a positive step.

At some universities, resident advisers are using Facebook to monitor their charges. Last year, when Lilly Cao, then a junior, was a house fellow at Wisconsin-Madison, she decided to accept Facebook “friend” requests from most of the 56 freshmen on her floor.

She spotted posts about homesickness, academic despair and a menacing ex-boyfriend.

“One student clearly had an alcohol problem,” recalled Ms. Cao. “I found her unconscious in front of the dorm and had to call the ambulance. I began paying more attention to her status updates.”

Ms. Cao said she would never reply on Facebook, preferring instead to talk to students in person. The students were grateful for the conversations, she said.

“If they say something alarming on Facebook,” she added, “they know it’s public and they want someone to respond.”

While social media updates can offer clues that someone is overwrought, they also raise difficult questions: Who should intervene? When? How?

“Do you hire someone in the university clinic to look at Facebook all day?” Dr. Moreno said. “That’s not practical and borders on creepy.”

She said a student might be willing to take a concerned call from a parent, or from a professor who could be trained what to look for.

But ethically, should professors or even therapists “friend” a student or patient? (The students monitored by Dr. Moreno’s team had given their consent.)

Debra Corbett, a therapist in Charlotte, N.C., who treats adolescents and young adults, said some clients do “friend” her. But she limits their access to her Facebook profile. When clients post updates relevant to therapy, she feels chagrined. But she will not respond online, to maintain the confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship.

Instead, Ms. Corbett will address the posts in therapy sessions. One client, for example, is a college student who has low self-esteem. Her Facebook posts are virtual pleas for applause.

Ms. Corbett will say to her: “How did you feel when you posted that? We’re working on you validating yourself. When you put it out there, you have no control about what they’ll say back.”

Susan Kidd, who teaches emotionally vulnerable students at a Kentucky high school, follows their Facebook updates, which she calls a “valuable tool” for intervention with those who “may otherwise not have been forthcoming with serious issues.”

At Cornell University, psychologists do not “friend” students. At weekly meetings, however, counselors, residence advisors and the police discuss students who may be at risk. As one marker among many, they may bring up Facebook comments that have been forwarded to them.

“People do post very distressing things,” said Dr. Gregory T. Eells, director of Cornell’s counseling and psychological services. “Sometimes they’re just letting off steam, using Facebook as something between a diary and an op-ed piece. But sometimes we’ll tell the team, ‘check in on this person.’ ”

They proceed cautiously, because of “false positives,” like a report of a Facebook photo of a student posing with guns. “When you look,” said Dr. Eells, “it’s often benign.”

Dr. Moreno said she thought it made sense for house fellows at the University of Wisconsin to keep an eye on their students who “friend” them. Students’ immediate friends, she said, should not be expected to shoulder responsibility for intervention: “How well they can identify and help each other, I’m not so sure.”

Tolu Taiwo, a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, agreed. “I know someone who wrote that he wanted to kill himself,” she said. “It turned out he probably just wanted attention. But what if it was real? We wouldn’t know.”

In fact, when adolescents bare their souls on Facebook, they risk derision. Replying to questions posted on Facebook by The New York Times, Daylina Miller, a recent graduate of the University of South Florida, said that when she poured out her sadness online, some readers responded only with the Facebook “like” symbol: a thumb’s up.

“You feel the same way?” said Ms. Miller, puzzled. “Or you like that I’m sad? You’re sadistic?”

Some readers, flummoxed by a friend’s misery, remain silent, which inadvertently may be taken as the most hurtful response.

In comments to The Times, parents who followed their children’s Facebook posts said they did not always know how to distinguish the drama du jour from silent screams. Often their teenagers felt angry and embarrassed when parents responded on Facebook walls or even, after reading a worrisome comment by their child’s friend, alerted the friend’s parents.

Many parents said they felt embarrassed, too. After reading a grim post, they might raise an alarm, only to be curtly told by their offspring that it was a popular song lyric, a tactic teens use to comment in code, in part to confound snooping parents.

Ms. Corbett, the Charlotte therapist, said that when she followed her sons’ Facebook pages, she used caution before responding to occasional downbeat posts. If parents react to every little bad mood, she said, children might be less open on Facebook, assuming that “my parents will freak out.”

Dr. Moreno said that parents should consider whether the posts are typical for their child or whether the child also seems depressed at home. Early intervention can be low-key — a brief text or knock on the bedroom door: “I saw you posted this on Facebook. Is everything O.K.?”

Sometimes a Facebook posting can truly be a last-resort cry for help. One recent afternoon while Jackie Wells, who lives near Dayton, Ohio, was waiting for her phone service to be fixed, she went online to check on her daughter, 18, who lives about an hour away. Just 20 minutes earlier, the girl, unable to reach her mother by phone, used her own Facebook page to post to Mrs. Wells or anyone else who might read it:

“I just did something stupid, mom. Help me.”

Mrs. Wells borrowed a cellphone from her parents and called relatives who lived closer to her daughter. The girl had overdosed on pills. They got her to the hospital in time.

“Facebook might be a pain in the neck to keep up with,” Mrs. Wells said. “But having that extra form of communication saves lives.”

Liz Heron contributed reporting.

 

 

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A loose-knit populist campaign that started on Wall Street three weeks ago has spread to dozens of cities across the country, with protesters camped out in Los Angeles near City Hall, assembled before the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago and marching through downtown Boston to rally against corporate greed, unemployment and the role of financial institutions in the economic crisis.

With little organization and a reliance on Facebook, Twitter and Google groups to share methods, the Occupy Wall Street campaign, as the prototype in New York is called, has clearly tapped into a deep vein of anger, experts in social movements said, bringing longtime crusaders against globalization and professional anarchists together with younger people frustrated by poor job prospects.

“Rants based on discontents are the first stage of any movement,” said Michael Kazin, a professor of history at Georgetown University. But he said it was unclear if the current protests would lead to a lasting movement, which would require the newly unleashed passions to be channeled into institutions and shaped into political goals.

Publicity surrounding the recent arrests of hundreds in New York, near Wall Street and on the Brooklyn Bridge, has only energized the campaign. This week, new rallies and in some cases urban encampments are planned for cities as disparate as Memphis, Tenn.; Hilo, Hawaii; Minneapolis; Baltimore; and McAllen, Tex., according to Occupy Together, an unofficial hub for the protests that lists dozens of coming demonstrations, including some in Europe and Japan.

In the nation’s capital, an Occupy D.C. movement began on Saturday, with plans to join forces on Thursday with a similar anticorporate and antiwar group, October 2011, for an encampment in a park near the White House.

 

About 100 mostly younger people, down from 400 over the weekend, were camped outside Los Angeles City Hall on Monday morning. Several dozen tents occupied the lawn along with a free-food station and a media center. People sat on blankets playing the guitar or bongo drums or meditating. Next to a “Food Not Bombs” sign, was another that read “Food Not Banks.”

At the donations table, Elise Whitaker, 21, a freelance script editor and film director, said the protesters were united in their desire for “a more equal economy.”

“I believe that I am not represented by the big interest groups and the big money corporations, which have increasing control of our money and our politics,” she said, adding that she was not against capitalism per se.

Javier Rodriguez, 24, a former student at Pasadena City College, held a sign that read “Down with the World Bank” in Spanish, and said he was anti-capitalist.

“The monetary system is not working,” he said. “The banks are here to steal from us. Everybody is in debt whether it’s medical bills or school or loans. People are getting fed up with it.”

In Chicago on Monday morning, about a dozen people outside the Federal Reserve Bank sat on the ground or lay in sleeping bags, surrounded by protest signs and hampers filled with donated food and blankets. The demonstrators, who have been in Chicago since Sept. 24, said they had collected so much food that they started giving the surplus to homeless people.

Each evening, the number of protesters swells as people come from school or work, and the group marches to Michigan Avenue.

“We all have different ideas about what this means, stopping corporate greed,” said Paul Bucklaw, 45. “For me, it’s about the banks.”

Sean Richards, 21, a junior studying environmental health at Illinois State University in Normal, said he dropped out of college on Friday and took a train to Chicago to demonstrate against oil companies.

He said he would continue sleeping on the street for “as long as it takes.”

Strategists on the left said they were buoyed by the outpouring of energy and hoped it would contribute to a newly powerful progressive movement. Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, in Washington, noted that the Wall Street demonstrations followed protests in Wisconsin this year over efforts to suppress public employee unions and numerous rallies on economic and employment issues.

The new protesters have shown a remarkable commitment and have stayed nonviolent in the face of aggressive actions by the New York police, he said. “I think that as a result they really touched a chord among activists across the country.”

But if the movement is to have lasting impact, it will have to develop leaders and clear demands, said Nina Eliasoph, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California.

With the country in such deep economic distress, almost everyone is forced to think about economics and politics, giving the new protests a “major emotional resonance,” she said.

“So there is a tension between this emotionally powerful movement,” she said, “and the emptiness of the message itself so far.”

 

* By ERIK ECKHOLM and TIMOTHY WILLIAMS (NYT; October 3, 2011)
Ashley Southall contributed reporting from Washington, Ian Lovett from Los Angeles and Steven Yaccino from Chicago.

Facebook made oversharing with a small army of friends a mainstream activity. Now, one of its early architects is swinging in the other direction.

Dave Morin, who helped build Facebook Connect and the Facebook Platform, left the company this year to start his own venture, called Path. He says it is not another social network he has created, but a personal network, and on Monday, it will open to the public with an iPhone app for sharing cellphone photos with a limited circle of friends.
Each user cannot have more than 50 friends.
Path is a reaction to Facebook, where people must both agree to be friends, but can have thousands of them, and Twitter, where anyone can choose to receive a user’s posts.
“If you look at how these networks are grown, they start out really high-quality,” said Mr. Morin, “and as more and more people join, it becomes hard to find people you care about. With Path, you have to be friends with them in the real world in order for them to pop up on your screen.”
Path, which is starting with the iPhone app and a Web site and plans to build apps for Android and BlackBerry, has kept its plans shrouded in secrecy. It now joins a growing list of similar apps, like Instagram and PicPlz. The apps are part of several big trends. As cellphone cameras have improved, people are taking more photos than ever before. Tech entrepreneurs and investors are betting that these photographers also want to share their handiwork, especially in real-time and linked to their location.

 
Path, along with the other apps, wants to build a broader mobile network, not just photo-sharing apps. It envisions people using a new mobile social network, in addition to Facebook, to share photos, videos and other things with a close-knit group. However, the rival apps differ from Path by offering software filters, which change the way photos look. They also follow Twitter’s model, so any user can see anyone else’s pictures.
Path is counting on people wanting a more controlled network of trusted friends. Mr. Morin chose the number 50 based on the research of Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist who tried to pinpoint the maximum number of people with whom others could have stable relationships. The Dunbar number, generally thought to be around 150, is a popular topic of discussion in Silicon Valley among people building tools to communicate virtually with thousands of people.

 
But Mr. Morin is focused on a different one of Mr. Dunbar’s numbers — the number of people that an individual knows and trusts, like the group you would invite to a birthday party. That number is between 40 and 60, Mr. Morin said.
Though Facebook allows users to limit their friends or create private groups, Facebook abstainers “simply don’t feel like they have a private enough place to share,” Mr. Morin said. “The devil’s in the defaults,” he said, and Path’s default will be to limit sharing.

On Path, people tag photos with the names of people, places and things. At its makeshift office in an apartment on the 40th floor of a glass high-rise overlooking San Francisco Bay, people have tagged mocha, fireworks, foie gras, selling emotion and beer.
The tags stay in the database for others to use, which has given birth to memes, like one in the Path office for Happy Socks, a brand of patterned socks that are a favorite of Mr. Morin and Matt Van Horn, Path’s vice president of business.
Users can pick up to 50 friends to see their photos. The friendship does not have to be mutual, so they might send photos to someone who does not send photos to them. With one swipe, users can also make a picture visible only to the people tagged in it, so friends who were not invited to a dinner party won’t feel left out, for instance.
“We solve for that social ambiguity that we all have in the real world,” Mr. Morin said.
Academics who research the way we socialize online say that social networks that group all our friends, colleagues and acquaintances together do not accurately reflect our offline relationships, which can be a source of tension for Internet users.
“People are not able to see that this technology can offer them the same level of protection and behavior patterns that they are used to in their offline lives, so they feel violated,” said S. Shyam Sundar, co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University who is currently a visiting professor in South Korea.
But people already using Facebook — and LinkedIn, Ping, Foursquare, Google Buzz or others — may have a severe case of social-networking fatigue when asked to join yet another service.
“There were a whole slew of mobile-only social networks that you never heard of that were all trying to beat Facebook for this new medium,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst who researches the mobile Internet. “They either got bought or just shriveled up.”
Chris Kelly, Facebook’s former chief privacy officer, contributed to Path’s $2.5 million in angel investment. “I think everyone’s going to have a Facebook account and use it for broader distribution, but I also think they’re going to have a very tightly controlled set of friends they share deeply connected moments with,” he said. “I think that Path could be the network for that.”
Path has not yet figured out how it will make money, though it says it has considered selling services like filters or themes for photographs or advertising. The limited number of people could make it difficult to attract advertisers, but Mr. Morin thinks otherwise:
“Because people are posting such immense amounts of information about their lives, there could be more opportunities for brands to talk to Path users in a more personal way than they ever have before.”

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER (NYT),November 15, 2010