China VS the world

China has 420 million internet users. The top priority at hand is being able to connect with each other. However, China has a notorious digital barrier that blocks YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google, sites which are taken for granted in the west. So, China may not have Facebook anymore, but there is a clone of the popular social network named Renren. The practice of creating these duplicates is to enable to Chinese Government to keep their citizens complacent. Michael Anti explains on a Ted Talk ( that just because China blocks several prevalent major players on the global internet, does not have to mean that the “Chinanet” is a barren “wasteland”. In fact, Anti believes that the utter opposite of this is the truth. Anti states that there are hundreds of millions of micro bloggers that are working to create the first national public sphere in the country’s history and thus shifting the balance of power in unexpected ways.

While the internet in China in the present day is active and popular, it does come with great censorship and control. What is interesting however, is the answer to the question: How does a censorious country like China able to build their complicated and extreme firewalls and filtering systems? The answer, is with Western technology. If you wanted to censor the internet, all you need to do is go and buy “censorware” from an American corporation such as Cisco. This seems a little bit like a double-standard.

Will this give young travelers less incentive to travel to China? On every social networking sites there are hundreds of photos and status’s that depict travel and holidaying. Did you really go to Bali if you didn’t take a photo of your legs by the poolside holding a strawberry daiquiri if you didn’t post it on every single one of your social media accounts? China seems to be doing a good job of secluding itself from not only the west, but from all corners of the globe. Although their own forms of social media that are unknown to other countries seem to work for them, it seems as though the role of social media behind the Great Firewall is somewhat arbitrary.


(Author not disclosed) 2011, ‘Column, the Great Firewall of China’, Financial Express, 17 Nov, Accessed 12 April.

Oxblood, R 2002, ‘Great Firewall of China’, New Scientist, vol. 176, issue. 2368.


OSM: A useful tool or a community?

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a free and editable map of the world and was in fact, inspired by the success of Wikipedia. It was created in 2004, and now has over 1.4 million registered users. Not only does OSM enable travelers to eliminate some of the dangers they may face in foreign places, but in 2011 when an earthquake hit East Japan, it is proven that the Open Street map played a useful role when it came to examining the changes after the natural disaster. The analysis of the investigation suggests that what is called crisis mapping, was a turning point for expanding OSM activities in Japan. Much of the information that was collected, was used to gain information acquisitions in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Some countries contribute to OSM on a larger scale than others. However, the most thrilling aspect of OpenStreetMap is the fact that it emphasizes local knowledge. I.e., if a family goes on vacation on the other side of the country, they would often ask the locals of that area questions they may have about family activities to do and beautiful places to see. OSM works in that sense, that ordinary everyday people have contributed to a large-scale informative map. Whether it be GIS professionals, engineers running the OSM servers or humanitarians mapping disaster affected areas, OpenStreetMap is a community driven app that holds much significance in its exceptional and original formatting and ideas.

OpenStreetMap has been dubbed one of the most impressive sources of volunteered Geographic Information on the internet. Many people would consider OSM to be a map, when in actual fact it is a database. Above all, however, it is a community. Sure, google maps can give you directions from any one place to another instantaneously, but OpenStreetMap allows you to collaborate and build something that people from all corners of the globe has contributed to. In today’s social and technological climate, people are more inclined to become engrained in their online world or online identity without a second thought. Gaining information about the world when it comes to map, is usually thought to be a monotonous act that requires purely black and white research, but with the aid of OSP, the world has the ability to become connected in a way that is unique.


Imi, Y; Hayakawa, T & Ito, T 2012, ‘Analyzing the Effect of Open Street Map During Crises: The Great East Japan Earthquake’, Commerce and Enterprise Computing (CEC), pp. 126 <>

Neis, P & Zipf, A 2012 ‘Analyzing the Contributor Activity of a Volunteered Geographic Information Project- The Case of OpenStreetMap,’ International Journal of Geo-Information, Vol. 1, Issue. 2. <>

A morse code love affair versus EHarmony

Today, if you type online dating into google, 140, 000, 000 search results will show up. Today, adding someone on Facebook or sending them a text message seems reason enough to pursue a romantic relationship. Today, men and women are thrown together informally, whether it be co-ed schooling and accommodation, or small begrimed nightclubs in every town and city. During the 19th century, what has become known to be the Morse Code Love Affair reveals how dot-dash romance was purely just an archaic form of online dating. Although social constraint and courtesy in the 19thC was quite substantially more prominent than it is today, women would still go through the same phases as much as they would in the present day. Is the man I have pictured in my head going to be the same man that I will one day meet?


The social normality’s that we attribute to today’s technological age were first practiced and observed during the era of the telegraph. Its cables spanned continents and oceans, it revolutionized business practice, gave rise to new forms of crimes as well we inundate its users with an abundance of new information. Most impressively, the telegraph enabled romance to blossom. Yes, todays EHarmony was yesterday’s telegraph. In many ways, our society are heirs of the 1900’s telegraph. Telegraphy was one of the first technological occupations that were open to women, and especially during years of war, there were even more positions available due to men being sent off to fight.

Though love is just one aspect of the everyday time of a human being, the telegraph was a key invention to the industrial age. In a nutshell, the telegraph shrunk the world faster than ever before. Previously, letters took hours, days and sometimes months to arrive at the destination, and in a lot of cases, meant that the information that it held had become irrelevant. As the telegraph developed from 1809 through to 1880, people were connecting with each other from all across the globe just by pressing a few buttons. This held many benefits in itself, just as the present day internet does. People were able to keep in contact with friends and family, lovers were able to either produce a relationship or keep one from failing due to distance, businesses were able to flourish under new practices and people had access to all kinds of new and interesting information that encouraged further enlightenment models.


Miller, R. 2012, “The Telegraph, Newspapers, and 19th-Century Disruption”, EContent, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 32.

Standage, T 1998, The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story, Bloomsbury, New York.

Waterlow, L 2013, ‘’Suppose that Mysterious Stranger is Not What You think…’: Morse Code Love Affair Between 1880’s Telegraph Operators Reveals How Hot Dash Romance Was An Early Version of Modern Online Dating’, Daily Mail, 26 July, Viewed 9/4/15 <>