Bana in East Aleppo

“There’s Internet in East Aleppo. There’s solar in E. Aleppo. There’s Bana in E. Aleppo who’s suffering & tweeting. Good night. “- Fatemah

“Good evening my friends. What are you doing today? I am happy I lost two more teeth. – Bana #Aleppo ”

There is internet in East Aleppo. Solar in East Aleppo. There is Bana in East Aleppo.

Good evening, friends. What are you doing today ?

We are buying vegetables for the night. We are writing poems. We are staring at the computer screen. We will tell you when we are through.

You have lost two teeth already? Ok. We had lost all ours long ago.

She tweets like a tiny bird on truth
Who is searching for middle tooth.

Tooth fairy fears to come to sooth.
The uncles hurl bombs from south.

She’ll come after they finish drops.
And then there will be no love left,

And no sweet birds in the blue sky
Nor her tweets, her sweet tweets.

(Referring to seven year old Bana’s tweets from Aleppo about the horrors of the war in Syria)

Datafying face book and twitter

According to Cukier “we’re just at the outset of the big data era,” so we have to use our imaginations to consider what all of the variable uses for big data in the future will be. But Cukier also points to a powerful, concrete example that we can see today. 

Twitter can tell us, for instance, that subpopulations exist that are either immunized for the flu or are not. This insight completely upends the idea of ‘herd immunity’ because “there’s whole subgroups of the population that all don’t get vaccinated, yet they all hang out together,” Cukier points out.

 It took datafying relationships and interactions to learn this “deadly important” insight about flu vaccinations, Cukier says. “So when you think about it in the grand scheme, what big data means is we are able to learn things about ourselves at the population level, at a huge scale, that we never could in the past.”

 It looks to me too far-fetched to extrapolate data like flu vaccinations performed on populations from social media like face book and twitter.Unless by the use of these media such data are consciously called for  by an interested aggregator like the government or non-profits organisation involved in that type of work. Or unless data like phone number, address etc.  that may be incidentally available from the social media are used for contacting individuals and collating their particulars.