Recent blog posts by natematias

Green Vs Pink: Change Your Picture, Change The World

This post was a collaboration with Molly Sauter and Matt Stempeck

Movements of people changing their profile photos on social networks do definitely achieve one thing: they draw out the slacktivist critics.  

During the 2009 Iranian election protests, hundreds of thousands of Twitter users turned their profile pictures green in solidarity with the protesters. This became the slacktivist strawman everyone had been praying for: naive American Twitter users taking the laziest possible action to support a foreign conflict because it was the cool thing to do. Or, if you were on the other side of the fence, it was the strongest show of solidarity between Americans and Iranians in...ever?

Brooding on the meaning of a word

At the Center for Civic Media, we do a lot of quantitative media analysis, trying to answer questions of public value by finding patterns across millions of articles, tweets, and TV captions. As a former student of poetry, I'm often aware of how much we miss.

Today, a dear friend sent me a link to the gorgeous poem Peace by the 19th century Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. As I read this poem today for the first time, I was deeply moved by the word "brood," a word which is also prominent in Hopkins' more famous poem, God's Grandeur. Here's Peace:

Saying Thanks Online: The Visual Display of Cooperative Acknowledgment

Last November, I proposed that we redesign acknowledgment on the web to be more like a party and less like a duty. Promising to redesign my personal portfolio, I also promised to define an architecture that enables us to thank anyone anywhere, even in parts of the web which make acknowledgment difficult. Supervised by Mitch Resnick, and with helpful advice from many others, I have finished the alpha version of my portfolio. Here's what I learned.