natematias's blog

The Cinema, Games, and Politics of Webmaking: #MozFest Sunday Morning

I'm here at the morning opener for the Mozilla Festival, which has been an amazing two days of creativity, learning, and hacking towards creating a writeable society.

Acknowledging, Connecting, and Growing the Next Generation: Friday #mozfest Plenary

Phew! The second day of the Mozilla Festival is coming to a close. Exhausted-but-glowing makers are now sitting down to watch the plenary session, led by Mark Surman and our energized facilitator, Allen Gunn. Someone hook a generator to the man!

Just-Do-It Leadership:Coder Djojo

Our first speaker is James Whelton, who tells us about CoderDojo, a global network of clubs around the world where kids learn to code. CoderDojo has 130 clubs internationally, with around 30-40 kids of ages 8-18 per dojo, with between thirty and forty percent girls. At different Dojos, it's possible to learn HTML, javascript, node.js, game development, blogging arduino, and many more. At Dojos, young people also make friends, learn problem solving skills, ask for advice, collaborate, and show off what they do, in an environment that nurtures their creativity. Progress through dojos is managed through a system of belts.

Supporting Transformational Innovation in the News: #MozFest Knight Foundation Fireside Chat

Today at the Mozilla Festival, Dan Sinker and Michael Maness hosted a conversation about the Knight Foundation's funding programs and evolving priorities for journalism and media innovation. The session started with pretty grim context on the state of journalism and turned into an exciting and deeply practical conversation about supporting transformational innovation in the news.

(See also "Test first, then scale," by Chris Barr, a roundup of recent Knight Prototype Fund grantees and a description of the vision and future of the prototype fund)

Learning to Make Anigifs and Earning Badges at #MozFest

I'm here in London at the Mozilla Festival all weekend, where I'm joining Rebecca Mullen and Matt Thompson on the liveblog team. I just got to interview Alayna, who learned to make animated gifs for the very first time today and earned four Open Badges in the process.

Alayna talks about learning how to make anigifs
Tiger Catches Bee, by @kittycatalayna

I asked Alanya, who lives in London, if she knew about animated gifs before coming to the festival. "I have seen a lot of animated gifs on Google and I wanted to make an animated gif before, but I didn't know how to do it."

Designing Acknowledgment on the Web

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

I have a confession to make: my persona

Reboot: Surveying Information Ecosystems in Pakistan

Fresh from a new research project with Internews on information ecosystems in media-dark conflict areas in Pakistan, Reboot has joined us to share and discuss their latest research project in Pakistan, as they start to compile and interpret their results.

Panthea Lee and Kate Krontiris of Reboot, a consultancy which focuses on the practical implications of design and technology in global governance. Their impressively broad range of projects stretches from service design and governance reform to mobile justice and civic media. They focus especially on global governance adn international development, with a particular interest in Africa, MENA, and Asia.

Tinker Maker Enquirer Expert: Doing Research in Public Online

This morning in an interview about yesterday's Guardian Datablog post on gender in UK news, the Tow Center's Anna Codrea-Rado asked me for ideas on how data journalists and academics can collaborate. I mumbled a response about the cycles of peer review, models of public engagement, and expertise at visual presentation.

Inside, I was thinking, "Dear me! She thinks I'm an academic or maybe some kind of expert. Am I an academic? What does that even mean anymore?"

The Beauty and Terror of Commenting Communities: Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Media Lab

How can writers nurture great commenting communities while still engaging with the tough questions?

Speaking at the Media Lab today is Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor and blogger at The Atlantic and author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. Before The Atlantic, Coates worked for The Village Voice, the Washington City Paper, and Time. Coates a visiting researcher here at MIT this year.

"I'm a college dropout," Coates reminds us. He's a writer now, but he failed English once in high school and twice in college. Coates started writing in 1996 and left school because he was in love with writing. He didn't understand at the time that writing could be a career. Once he figured out that he could get paid, he left to focus on his writing. For the first 12 years, Coates was a product of print. His father ran a small independent press. Growing up, there were books everywhere; he never expected to become an Internet writer.

Transforming Greenpeace to Win Big in the Post-Broadcast Era

(this post was written together with Denise Cheng)

How can global activist organisations spread creative, digital campaign approaches throughout their network?

Joining us for lunch today is Michael Silberman, the global director of the Greenpeace Digital Mobilisation Lab (@MobilisationLab). Michael was also co-founder of EchoDitto and national meetup director for Howard Dean's presidential campaign. Michael starts out by showing us a Greenpeace intro video. Greenpeace is a campaign organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour to conserve and protect the environment. They are spread across 40 countries and has been campaigning since 1971. That was forty years go, and the Mobilisation Lab has been charged with transforming Greenpeace to win big in the post-broadcast era.

Measuring What They Preach: Comparing Religious Sermons Across Cultures

What would we learn by comparing the texts and teachings of an entire religion across culture and language?

What They Preach

A few weeks ago, I posed the idea of global prayer metrics. I compared the function of prayer notices to journalism and reflected on the theology of quantifying prayer. Today's post is a thought experiment and dataviz on measuring religious activity across cultures.