Chris Hedges speaking at his SFU Vancouver Speakers Series lecture on the ‘Rules of Revolt’ on February 19, 2015.

‘Rules of Revolt’: Community and Dialogue Through a Twitter Q&A

April 22, 2015

Climate change. Moby Dick. Uprisings. What do these themes have in common? All three, and many other stimulating ideas were creatively woven together by Chris Hedges at his SFU Vancouver Speakers Series lecture on the ‘Rules of Revolt’ on February 19, 2015. Hedges is an American journalist, activist, author, Presbyterian minister and humanitarian who writes and speaks extensively on war, religion, American culture, empire, and the conflict in the Middle East.

Individuals who could not attend in person were able to watch the event live via a webcast that received over 500 views. As well, those unable to be there in person could engage online by following the live Twitter feed. On Twitter many followers quoted their personal highlights of the talk, with a total of 32 retweets and 21 favourites. Taking several of the main concepts from the talk and reiterating them through tweets allowed the audience to see who else identified with the notions presented that evening which provided an opportunity to connect and discuss with each other online. While many people simply posted quotes from Hedges, a few were inspired to action by the lecture. Here are a few standout tweets:

After his provocative and powerful presentation, the sold out audience of over 1,200 people were given a chance to ask Hedges questions. Those not present were also able to take part in the Q&A by sending questions via Twitter using #vsshedges. During the Q&A, Hedges was able to share some brilliant and personal stories with the audience. These stories included the ‘Hedges versus Obama’ court case where Hedges sued the president of the United States in federal court over a law that allows US military to seize its own citizens on American soil. This interactive and non-scripted part of the evening elevated the event beyond a “talking head” presentation into something much more intimate and emotional. During one particularly personally story, Hedges willingly revealed the passion he feels for the human condition, the driving force behind his work, with such candidness that many in the room were moved to tears. This event illustrated the immense power of dialogue for creating authentic connections, both in person, and online.

You can check out #vsshedges on Twitter to find out what others had to say about Chris Hedges lecture, or follow Chris Hedges himself at @ChrisLynnHedges. Feel like you missed out? Join the 12,000 people who have already viewed the entire talk on SFU Public Square’s YouTube channel.

With many more events to come, the SFU Vancouver Speakers Series will continue to bring global experts to a local audience, encouraging community engagement, exploring critical issues, and developing a better understanding of the world we live in. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up to date on all of our future events.

Sophie Ni is a SFU Public Square volunteer. She is pursuing an undergraduate degree at SFU majoring in communication, with minors in publishing and geography.