In the United States, (American) football is king. An entire day of the week, Sunday, is devoted to the National Football League (NFL), but if you take into account Friday night’s high school football games, Saturday’s college football games, and the NFL’s Monday and Thursday night games, in the fall, Americans are practically always watching football.
Pop quiz: if hashtags about Pope Francis in America weren’t trending on Twitter, would he really be in America? In the news today, Pope Francis starts a trend (or two) on Twitter. Catholics and non-Catholics alike are buzzing over the Bishop of Rome’s visit to the United States.
A little after 10 AM eastern time, Donald Trump tweeted that he would be participating in a 2016 Q&A hosted by @TwitterNYC. Then, Twitter exploded. #AskTrump promptly started trending across the United States. Soon after, it started trending worldwide.
In the United States, with every successive political season, social media becomes more intertwined with the centuries-old democratic process. Microblogging websites like Twitter offer politicians the opportunity to fire off hundreds of short, simple posts every day; Twitter has become a virtual platform for politicians that’s always open, a place where someone is always listening. During the latest Republican debate, Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders found quite an audience on Twitter.
Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger who has been detained for allegedly insulting Islam and apostasy, has someone fighting for him in North America: his wife Ensaf Haidar. Haidar, who has found asylum in Canada and is now living in Quebec with the couple’s three children, is putting pressure on the the West, particularly the United States, to press Saudi Arabia to release Badawi.
Looking at Singaporean blogger Amos Yee, he looks like a typical shaggy-haired teenager, but at just 16 years old, Yee is using his blog to mount a challenge to Singapore’s restrictive laws regarding free speech, a move that, for Singapore’s leaders, pushes the envelope too far and makes Yee a political dissident, a radical in a country with a history of suppressing its citizens’ freedom of speech.
In July 2015, Gay Catholic blogger Aaron Jay Ledesma began writing a blog entitled “The Gay Catholic,” and in just a few short months, Ledesma has attracted the White House’s attention. In what he calls a miracle from Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House responded to Ledesma’s contact form and invited him to the White House during Pope Francis’s visit to the White House. [Read more…]