Quickie: Could UBL be on Twitter?

twitter logo map 09Image by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten via Flickr

The State Department’s Jared Cohen spoke to NPR’s Scott Simon from Mexico City, where he has been this week for the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit. I don’t know what Jared Cohen’s official title is but his official bio says “he is responsible for counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization, the Persian Gulf, Public Diplomacy, Muslim world outreach, new technology and eMedia, and Youth issues.” Scott Simon asked, “If Osama bin Laden is out there, could he be on Twitter?”

“I mean, you’re getting at an interesting question, Scott, which is basically are hostile actors or violent actors using these technologies? And the answer is yes, they are. You know, Mexican drug cartels use YouTube to evoke fear through horrific imagery and video. Hezbollah uses video games to try to socialize young people to be comfortable with the idea of killing Jews and Israelis. Al-Qaida uses chat rooms. It’s rampant. The 21st century is a very bad time to be a control freak. And at the end of the day, we have two options: We can recognize that nobody can control these technologies — bad people will continue to use them, but that’s all the more reason to engage in these spaces. And the other option is to be fearful that hostile actors might use it and shy away from it. If you do that, it’s not going to stop them from using it. In fact, all it’s going to do is give them more of an opening without any effort to counter their narratives.”

Jared Cohen

State Department’s point person on social media and youth issues (official bio here)
State Department Guru Talks Twitter Diplomacy
NPR | October 17, 2009

Video of the Week: Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity

Elizabeth Gilbert faced down a ­premidlife crisis by doing what we all secretly dream of – running off for a year. Her travels through Italy, India and Indonesia resulted in the megabestselling and deeply beloved memoir Eat, Pray, Love, about her process of finding herself by leaving home.

She’s a longtime magazine writer – covering music and politics for Spin and GQ – as well as a novelist and short-story writer. Her books include the story collection Pilgrims, the novel Stern Men (about lobster fishermen in Maine) and a biography of the woodsman Eustace Conway, called The Last American Man. Her work has been the basis for one movie so far (Coyote Ugly, based on her own memoir, in this magazine article, of working at the famously raunchy bar), and now it looks as if Eat, Pray, Love is on the same track, with the part of Gilbert reportedly to be played by Julia Roberts. Not bad for a year off.

Gilbert also owns and runs the import shop Two Buttons in Frenchtown, New Jersey.

Interactive script is here.

From ted.com.