natematias's blog

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.

Reviewing Uncover, a Religious Transmedia Campaign

A few weeks ago, I received a fascinating package in the mail. It was a copy of the gospel of Luke interleaved with graph paper and QR codes. In this post, I interview the creators of Uncover, review it, offer design ideas for transmedia religious texts, and reflect on data privacy in religion.

Curating and Repackaging Citizen Video for the News at #MozFest

Sunday at the Mozilla Festival in London, I facilitated a group session on curating and repackaging citizen video for the news. This blog post was written with @SarahMarshall3, technology editor at

Our session included discussion and ideas from a rockstar cast from mainstream media, activism, news tech development, local video journalism, international blogging, and documentary. In this post, I introduce the topic, followed by links and insights from the conversation. (did you make media or keep notes from this session? Add a link in the comment and on our Lanyrd index)

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.