natematias's blog

Data, Experiments, and Social Networks: Social Media and Behavioral Economics

I'm here at the Harvard Law School to blog their conference on "Social Media and Behavioral Economics." This is the opening session, which sets the stage for the rest of the day's conversation.

Women, News, and the Internet: (almost) Everything We Know

In my upcoming master's thesis, I'm making large-scale, automated technologies to measure and change the representation of women in news online. Judith Donath, one of my thesis readers, has strongly challenged the assumptions of this project. Can I actually make a good argument that women should have a fair and equal voice in society? Can I create a reasonable definition of equality, one that's good enough to include in computer software?

A positive vision of the role of women in the news needs to start with an understanding of the role they currently play: what are women watching, how are they using their voices, are those voices being heard, how are they presented in the news, and how does that influence what happens in society?

This is the first part of my answer to Judith, a review of what we know about women, news, and the Internet. Have I missed anything? Add it in the comments.

Expanding Our Imaginations Together: The Festival of Learning 2013

Learning always requires us to expand the boundaries of our imagination, for individuals and organisations alike. Although innovators often reach for creative disruption, we can also expand our capability to learn through the positive power of inspiration and cooperation.

My own capacity for inspiration was reset this week at the Festival of Learning, a creative gathering for everyone in the MIT Media Lab, Comparative Media Studies, and Arts, Culture, and Technology. (I'm on the organising team)

 

The Theology of Evangelical Action on Immigration Reform

This weekend, I'm at Urbana, a gathering of Christian students interested in the work of the church worldwide. Over the next few days, I will be blogging two kinds of sessions. Sessions like this morning's gathering are intended to inspire and challenge Christian students to consider international service. This afternoon, I blogged a fascinating talk on the theological underpinnings of evangelical action on immigration.

Two Media Tech Ideas for Distributed Solidarity

In this parallel post alongside one by Denise Cheng, I review the media-making practices of 350.org, who coordinate thousands of events into global days of climate action. I also propose two technology designs for collaboratively tagging and remixing media from an event.

Read Denise's post on the story and mission of 350.org, annotate this post using ReadrBoard, or suggest your own ideas

Here at the Center for Civic Media, we have spent the last year discussing the idea of peer-based politics. In a Media Lab talk at the beginning of the year, Rebecca McKinnon argued that international politics sometimes needs the consent of the networked.

Reinventing Public Media: Matter, a media accellerator

Matter is a new startup accelerator which aims to reinvent public media. At the Media Lab today, Corey Ford, Jake Shapiro, and Jigar Mehta (who spoke at the Media Lab earlier this semester), are holding a conversation on the mission and details of Matter, the application process, and the culture that Matter hopes to create.

Read about Matter in the New York Times, on the Knight Foundation blog, and the PRX blog.

Behind the New York Times Interactive Team with Aron Pilhofer

Today at the MIT Computer Science and AI Laboratory (CSAIL) Aron Pilhofer gave a talk about the New York Times Interactive team. Aron runs a newsroom team of journalists/developers at the New York Times. He's also the founder of DocumentCloud, who make technologies of use to organisations that work with data. Aron is introduced by Rob Miller, an associate professor at the MIT Computer Science and AI Laboratory who does work which is very complementary to many of the things we focus on at the Center for Civic Media.

Aron's background is in print journalism. He started at the New York Times doing political reporting on campaign finance and lobbying in 2005. He's always been on the nerd wing of the journalism world. In journalism, Nerd means that he can turn a computer on, knows a little bit about statistics, and can do some work on GIS. In 2007, Aron took a turn to the digital, running the Interactive team at the Times.

The Iambic Pentameter of a 7 Year Walk: Paul Salopek Out of Eden

The poetry of human journeys has been an enduring reservoir of human experience since our earliest days--arresting and inspiring even the most cynical among us. It siezed my imagination as a teenager reading Egil's saga. It led me through six years of academic study on literature and writing. Today at Harvard, listening to two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Salopek describe his newest project, I felt that timeless pull once more.

Paul is taking a 7-year journey Out of Eden, to walk the story of human migration. He first mentioned the project to Ann Marie Lipinski, Curator of the Nieman Foundation, over dinner. "I'm thinking about walking across the globe," he said, took a napkin, and drew the line he now hopes to walk for seven years.

Citizen Video and Networked Politics in Southeast Asia: Andrew Lowenthal at the Berkman Center

How are activists in Southeast Asia using a hybrid mix of old and new media for change?

Today's lunch at the Berkman Center is a talk by Andrew Lowenthal, co-founder and executive director of Engage Media, an Asia-Pacific human rights and environmental video organisation who work to develop strategic networks of new citizen video producers. Engage Media also conducts research to look at the use and effect of video for social change. The organisation is 12 people, mostly in Jakarta, but also in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, and Manilla. Before founding EngageMedia, Andrew worked with the Tactical Technology Collective as participatory technology lead on projects like NGO in a box and Message in a Box. Andrew was also involved in IndyMedia.

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