The audio opens with Andy Carvin's claim that in order to write Distant Witness, he communicated - that is he exchanged phone calls, emails, Tweets, and Facebook posts - with more than 2,000 people around the world. The result is a thorough and media-based history of the Arab Spring, and how these uprising were shaped and recorded by social media. Carvin, who is NPR's senior product manager for online communities, explains how the instantaneous nature of social media has changed storytelling and news reporting; the public is now responsible for the witnessing and processing of modern history. Distant Witness is part memoir and part history. Carvin is a talented narrator who demands the listener's attention.
The series of Arab uprisings collectively known as the Arab Spring is a flashpoint in history - perhaps the biggest we've seen since the collapse of the Soviet bloc 20 years ago. It's also been a stunning revolution in the way breaking news is reported around the world - and who controls the news.
In this book, NPR social media chief Andy Carvin - "the man who tweets revolutions" - offers a unique first-person recap of the Arab Spring. Part memoir, part history, the book includes intimate stories of the revolutionaries who fought for freedom on the streets and across the Internet - stories that would have never been recorded before the days of social media.
I saw Egypt begin her fight, but was forced to leave in February. I monitored the Arab Spring on twitter, following @acarvin and many of these people he mentions. All of it comes back in greater context and understanding as I listen to his story.
It broke my heart to leave. Thank you for this book. Like social media did for those of us who cared, you connect us once more to the real, complex, human story, past and current, of heroes and their sacrifice.
A unique way write to write a book, and tell the story of the Arab Spring; told from the viewpoint of the people at the fore front, armed only with their phones, and cameras.
Only dry part of the story is about the Syrian lesbian, it dragged on too long.