The Good Glitch

A Visual Bibliography


This is a visualization of over 500 resources from publications spanning nearly a hundred years (1921 - 2019) that make up the bibliography of The Good Glitch: From Politics to Aesthetics.

The Good Glitch: From Politics to Aesthetics is a study of social media and popular social movements in the early twenty-first century in the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on Egypt. It defines the glitched machine as functioning the way it is pre-programmed; in other words, glitches are built into the system they disrupt. It narrates an experience of revolution and counterrevolution that reveals the indispensability, the promises, and the limits of digital communication across borders and languages. The Good Glitch employs a method of data analytics to analyze tweets, posts, and blogs to describe the political culture of social media. The narrative voice performs the results under the guise of the Arabic-speaking cyborg VJ Um Amel such that the work plays with multiple voices that span the divide of the virtual and the real. This praxis approach to knowledge production prioritizes building in order to think, rather than thinking about what to build. 

Moreover, to strengthen these ideas, the cyborg has repeatedly built versions of a software application to gather, organize, and analyze social media from the first R-Shief beta prototype in 2009, R-Shief, R-Shief 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and the latest 5.0 system in 2017. Each version ultimately broke its servers, and then the cyborg developed a new version R-Shief (v.i+1). Within the field of media theory and practice, this method is understood as an iterative design process.  Embedded within the monograph are data stories both online and in print that emerged from this approach to data analytics.




We are a community-driven platform of Middle East Studies critical code experts and researchers. The goal is to promote procedural and digital literacy by providing a research & development platform for innovative knowledge production on the Middle East. We believe that procedural literacy provides a key to 21st century democratic practices.

[Notes on a mature digital activism via Problem-Suggestion Pairs: The exploitation of data bodies - Citizen's Cryptography. Digital Surveillance - Digital Sousveillance. The Corporate Digital Agora - Decentralized Digital Commons (Blockchain?). Black Box Culture - Transparency Culture. The Attention Economy - The Open Source Economy] (Maybe move to Data Stories intro)


Data Stories

Interactive companion to the book.


Internet Relay Chat

An online IRC Client


An inline phpBB

R-Shief Timeline

The function of this tool is yet to be determined. Some ideas include:

- a social-movements-focused social media aggregator: hash tag counter, semantic analysis, Google Ngram Viewer analog

- an interface for accessing high level analytics on institutions of power

- a static report, updated at regular intervals by some in-house data analysts, social critics, and activists, that details the digital footprint and points of influence for 'institutions of power with which social movements are in conflict' (i.e. Israeli government, IMF, federal reserve banks, Walden family). 


Dr. Laila Shereen Sakr

2020 Social Science & Media St.

Department of Film and Media

UC Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

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© 2020 created by VJ Um Amel