Excerpts from the book


In June 2009 thousands of young Iranians—smartphones in their hands (and, for the more advanced, Bluetooth headsets in their ears)—poured into the stuffy streets of Tehran to protest what they believed to be a fraudulent election. Tensions ran high, and some protesters, in an unthinkable offense, called for the resignation of Ayatollah Khamenei. But many Iranians found the elections to be fair; they were willing to defend the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if needed. Iranian society, buffeted by the conflicting forces of populism, conservatism, and modernity, was facing its most serious political crisis since the 1979 revolution that ended the much-disliked reign of the pro-American Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Read More...(PDF)


If you’ve been to Copenhagen, you’ve probably seen the Stork Fountain, one of the city’s most famous sights. The fountain was made even more famous thanks to a quirky Facebook experiment. In spring 2009 Anders Colding-Jorgensen, a Danish psychologist who studies how ideas spread online, put the famous fountain at the center of his research project. He started a Facebook group that implied—but never said so explicitly—that the city authorities were about to demolish the fountain. This threat was completely fictitious; Colding-Jorgensen himself had dreamed it up. He publicized the group to 125 of his Facebook friends, who joined the cause in a matter of hours. It was not long before their friends joined, too, and the imaginary Facebook campaign against Copenhagen’s city council went viral. At the peak of its online success, the group had two new members joining every minute. When the count reached 27,500, Colding-Jorgensen decided it was time to end his little experiment. Read More... (PDF)