Creating Technology for Social Change

Forum: What is Civic Media?

MIT Communications Forum, September 20, 2007

Chris Csikszentmihályi, Henry Jenkins, Beth Noveck, Ethan Zuckerman.

In Bowling Alone (2000), Robert Putnam wrote about a generation of Americans cut off from traditional forms of community life and civic engagement, passive consumers of mass media. But others have noted the expansion of participatory cultures and virtual communities on the web, the growth of blogs, podcasts, and other forms of citizen journalism, the rise of new kinds of social affiliations within virtual worlds. What lessons can we learn from these online worlds that will make an impact in the communities where we work, sleep, and vote? What new technologies and practices offer us the best chance of revitalizing civic engagement? This forum marks the launch of the new MIT Center for Future Civic Media, a collaboration between the MIT Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies (CMS) program and is the first in a series of events designed to focus attention on the relationship between emerging media and civic engagement. The center has been funded by a $5 million grant from the Knight Foundation. Its directors are Chris Csikszentmihályi and Mitchel Resnick of the Media Lab and Henry Jenkins of CMS.

MIT Communications Forum: