On Mo Yan, the “Want” Button, Politics on Social Media and the Things We Forget

October 7 to October 12, 2012

Time Magazine has described him “one of the most famous, oft-banned and widely pirated of all Chinese writers.” Chinese writer Mo Yan becomes the first ever Chinese citizen to win the Nobel Prize in literature with the October 11 announcement from the Swedish Academy. Meanwhile, Facebook follows up on last week’s one-billion user milestone announcement with the launch of “Collections”.  Also in the lineup, a Twitter study on politics, social media and actual behavior, a new tool to keep politics out of your Facebook feed and the stuff that we’re forgetting (or ignoring) while we keep up with our busy lives.

Photo credit: Johannes Kolfhaus, Gymn. Marienthal ([1]) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Nobel Prize in Literature

Mo Yan wins Nobel Prize in literature 2012

The Swedish Academy awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in literature to Chinese novelist and short story writer Mo Yan, “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.” Contrary to how it reacted two years ago when Liu Xiaobo won the peace prize, China celebrated the announcement and lauded Mo Yan with state-run media outlets covering the news. Some dissident Chinese writers criticized Mo’s win, saying he is “a government stooge,” “a very ordinary writer” and “too close to the establishment to merit the Nobel.” But Michel Hockx from University of London’s SOAS dismissed these criticisms, saying, “I don’t like the idea that Chinese writers are only good if they challenge the government – a good writer is a good writer.”

Know more about Mo Yan and the Nobel Prize from the Guardian live blog, which also gives a primer of six of Mo Yan’s works, including the 1987 novel “Red Sorghum.”

Nobel Prizes: Is there a secret formula to winning one?

“Genius, passion, hard work, and a little bit of luck — that’s what we are told sets Nobel prize recipients apart from us mere mortals. But could there be any secret, hidden factors that come into play?”

Politics on Social Media

How tweets influence political donations

Never underestimate the power of social media engagement. In a new study on politics and social media, Twitter teamed up with digital intelligence provider Compete to find out how political tweets affect actual behavior. The findings suggested that political tweets have a significant influence on the actual behavior of users.

‘No politics’ tool seeks to keep media ‘social’

If you’re tired of getting politics in your Facebook feed, try this new browser extension called “no politics please” from 3-D technology firm Real D.  It’s free and was designed to filter unwanted content out of your Facebook news feed.

Tweeting Your Way to the White House: Social Media and the 2012 Campaign

Social Media

Most of Facebook’s billion accounts are fake

Everyone’s giving Facebook a thumb up for hitting its one billion active users per month mark, but The Joy of Tech’s Nitrozac and Snaggy scrutinized this number and came up with a breakdown of Facebook users.  This comic will give you an idea how active these billion users really are.

Facebook tests new feature for retailers

With the launch of “Collections” for brand pages, Facebook is testing new features for retailers. After finding out that “Likes” don’t necessarily mean endorsements, Facebook is testing two other verbs — “Want” and “Collect” — hoping to make itself more attractive to businesses.  Pinteresting!

The forgotten half of social

StumbleUpon’s Jack Krawcyzk questions our recollection of what “social” means.  Have we really taken the word to mean more Facebook likes and Twitter followers?  This article talks about the forgotten half of being social: intimate communication.

Are you getting better or just getting busier?

Getting better or getting busier: that is the question.  Jay Baer, a social media strategist, shares his thoughts on the “volume over behavior” mindset and the “more is better” mentality.

“Lost” Literature

13 little-known punctuation marks we should be using

Most of us are familiar with the now-popular interrobang (What’s an interrobang‽) as well as the question comma for mid-sentence questions. Mental Floss lists 11 other rarely used punctuation marks for rhetorical questions, skepticism, sarcasm and conviction.

11 book sequels you probably didn’t know existed

It won’t be surprising if you’ve never heard of the books “Little Men,” “Closing Time” and “Scarlet,” and perhaps you’d be shocked to find out that these are actually sequels of critically acclaimed books you once enjoyed reading.  Little-known sequels of “Little Women,” “Catch-22,” “Gone With the Wind” and more in this list from Mental Floss.

Philip Hensher: Why handwriting matters

In his new book “The Missing Ink,” Philip Hensher describes the decline of the written word with the emergence of computers and cellphones.  He asks and tries to answer the question: Does handwriting have a value that email and texting can’t replace?


We at Project Chiron aim to encourage the use of social media for knowledge exchange and skills development. We’re not necessarily about current events; we are about relevance, credibility and innovation. With millions of content spread and shared through social media networks every day, we want to help you see what’s important so you won’t have to sweep through all your news feeds and tweets. Our weekly roundups are curated by Dan Dupale and Mina Jesuitas and edited by Paulo Formantes and Kim Palanca.
Comments, corrections, questions and suggestions are welcome.

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