Alec Ross (@AlecJRoss), whose Wikipedia page is titled “Alec Ross (innovator),” and who works for every overambitious young woman’s most prominent political role model, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (@HRClinton), as “Senior Advisor for Innovation,” stopped by NYU Abu Dhabi’s downtown campus (DTC) for a casual visit on October 9, 2012. Accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Michael Corbin (@AmbCorbin), Ross gave a short presentation on the role of social media in diplomacy and business, and stuck around for a Q&A with students. Sadly, @HRClinton was present only in spirit. In an attempt to broaden our audience, get with the social media movement, and reach out to target demographics (tween girls, celebrities, and readers aged 35+), @ElectraStreet has put this review together in tweetspeak. All questions come from students present at the talk. Is this the #futureofjournalism? You tell us. Here’s what happened:
NYUAD event in the biggest, fanciest conference room at DTC: @AlecJRoss to speak on #socialmedia. #kindofabigdeal #reportstoHillary
@AlecJRoss and @AmbCorbin (US ambassador to UAE) being briefed upstairs. Students taking advantage of the #freecoffee
They’re here, and everyone’s looking sharp #somanyblazers #somanymoleskines
We’re here to talk technology: @AlecJRoss is Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State @HRClinton. #howcoolisthatjobtitle?
@AmbCorbin mentions social media in the context of an “entrepreneurial ecosystem:” Kickstarter, networking, etc.
@AmbCorbin claims to beat @CNN to the reporting scene #embarrassing #isjournalismdead? #panicking
@AlecJRoss talks #globalization, quotes @HRClinton: “promise or peril can no longer be contained within national borders.”
US Foreign Service officers are now getting help from tech-savvy university students #NYUADcompsciprogram #summerinternships?
@AlecJRoss calls it a “reverse internship program”: there are currently 354 in 90 countries!
Technology is powerful, and FAST. The day @HRClinton became SoS, there were 100mil. FB accounts. As of last week, there are 1bil. #cray
The last few years in tech have been about building platforms (#Facebook #Twitter #etc). Now it’s about using them #entrepreneurialecosystem
@AlecJRoss started a business (@OneEconomy) from scratch, in his basement. Bet YOU feel lazy and inefficient now. #ido
Another #genius use of technology: text Haiti campaign cost nothing, was set up overnight, and raised $40mil in 2 weeks for disaster relief.
@AlecJRoss assures us we need no technical training to be just like him: “Thinking as a human and not an engineer can be a good thing.”
Time for Q&A! #freecoffee is getting cold because @AlecJRoss is more exciting.
Q: What’s the downside to connectivity? A: Everyone has a voice, and they’re not always nice. #InnocenceofMuslims
Re: “What’s the downside to connectivity?” @HRClinton: “Our info networks are like nuclear power. They can fuel a city or destroy it.”
Re: “What’s the downside to connectivity?” @AmbCorbin says knowing where to draw the line; diplomacy requires confidentiality.
Q: What about the disconnect btw online and offline civil rights? A: US makes no distinction between online and offline worlds.
@AlecJRoss: “US has always advocated for free speech.” Online, message is the same; tools are different.
A line between free speech online and varying freedoms in the real world is harder to draw or delete outside the US. #China #Russia #MidEast
Q: Doesn’t Internet immediacy lead to oversimplification for shock value? A: Yep, and punishes those who don’t conform to party orthodoxy.
@AlecJRoss: BUT while many media outlets compromised quality for entertainment/immediacy, subscriptions to academic journals skyrocketed.
@AmbCorbin: there’s a place for good journalism, just maybe not in print.
Q: Is mainstream media getting played by the social networks? A: Some are, they’ve just gotta be savvy.
@AlecJRoss has an inkling multimedia reporting is the way to go.
@AmbCorbin wants a time-saving news format like PowerPoint. #futureofjournalism?
@AlecJRoss thinks #Twitter might be that time-saver, if you find the right voices. Can’t listen to 2000 people, so pick one you trust.
Do you trust @ElectraStreet? And what do you think about the #futureofjournalism?
We’re on #Twitter & #Facebook, and just getting hip to #socialmedia—let us know how we stack up.