Viral content has essentially drowned within itself. It used to signify a particular image or video that represented a particular cultural marker. It was impossible to imitate. Part of the phenomenon’s allure came from the fact that no knew why exactly it was a phenomenon.
Then, over time, more content started to become viral. Sites like Reddit provided an easy medium to view all of the available viral content at any given time. Soon memes allowed for the personalization of viral content. And then came Buzzfeed, which turned viral content into an incredibly successful business model.
I’ve written recently how military technologies like drones are changing the temporal distinctions between war and peace. This past week, the trend developed even further with the recent request from the Ivory Coast that the United Nations provide drones as a way to supplement its peacekeeping force within the country.
The Ivory Coast currently has 9,500 peacekeepers operating in the country, of which 1,500 will leave in July. In return, the UN envoy of the Ivory Coast has requested the use of drones to supplement this year’s troop cuts and others currently planned for 2015.
At first, it was manufactured. Kim Jong Un’s brinkmanship on the Korean peninsula appeared an attempt to consolidate domestic support rather than cause any substantive change in the international system. Yet in a country completely closed to the outside world, his domestic actions have dominated the attention of the international news media.
According to a recent article in Foreign Policy, newspaper coverage of the regime has increased by 49 percent in the last 30 days, and web searches of the country have reached their highest point in over a decade, particularly in the United States. But the article also demonstrates the relatively large role of the United States within the crisis.
In the days before the 2003 Iraq invasion, General David Petraeus provided a telling quotation to a journalist. “Tell me how this ends,” he asked, and 10 years later, we are still not really sure.
March 20 marks the 10-year anniversary of a war commonly considered the worst decision in the history of U.S. foreign policy since Vietnam. The expected commentaries and reflections have appeared in the past month within the academic and policy wonk circles. Political blogger Andrew Sullivan, for example, has extensively evaluated his own support for the Iraq War, and many of his journalistic colleagues have followed suit.