Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Civic Media Goes to London, Part One

Greetings from London! Matt, Dan, and I from the Center for Civic Media are in the UK this week for the Mozilla Festival on Media, Freedom, and the Web. Matt and I arrived in London on Wednesday to meet up with interesting people in the UK before the conference. Here's a quick run-down on our trip thus far.

In Cambridge, we spoke with Matt Williams, social enterprise coordinator for the UK Youth Climate Coalition. Matt was the programme manager for PowerShift UK in 2008. We talked about organising climate campaigns as well as models of action around adaptive responses to the human impact of climate change.

The Internet in China and its Political Implications (Literature Review)

This week I examined several books on the political implications of the Internet in China and all of them called for studies on the intricate complexity of the relations between the Internet and political sphere. Factors such as market, state-society, culture, civil society, public opinion and international relations more or less are included in the discussion. There seems to be a consensus from the current literature that the great dynamics and complexity of social conditions should be taken into consideration rather than simply to adopt a technological determinism view that assumes the use of Internet will automatically lead to democratization. It does not sound like a profound discovery, but actually it is one of the most difficult tasks for current scholars to reveal the complexity of various relations in this field. Scholars situate themselves to different levels of interventions, some touching on political backgrounds(Tang, 2005), some historicizing the Internet (Zhou, 2005), some on policy advocacy(Kalathil, 2003). All of the books provide vivid and substantial evidence such as case studies, interviews, and surveys, but not all of them are theoretically coherent.

Remixing Mainstream Media

As we all know the most important part of any successful project is completely changing your idea at the last minute. In that spirit I am about to present a progress update on a project that has nothing to do with the revamped IRC interface I outlined last time (note that the IRC project isn’t dead, but I’ll be working on it over IAP instead).

Here’s my new plan: I am going to make it possible for anyone to control the content of front page of the New York Times. Want your kid’s little league game in the local news? That’s cool, but you know what’s cooler? Having your kid’s fame story smack dab front and center next to the article about Osama Bin Laden’s assassination. Suddenly little Billy is the talk of more than just the town, he’s the talk of the entire world!

Interested? Well hang onto your hats because I’m about to teleport to a completely different topic.

The Week in Civic Media: Mapping Media Ecosystems

Events This Week

  • "Mapping Media Ecosytems". Civic Media Session, Wednesday 5pm w/ Hal Roberts, Erhardt Graeff, Gilad Lotan
  • Mitch Resnick joins us Thursday for free lunch (RSVP). "Launching Projects into the World":
  • Join Nathan Matias, Matt Stempek, and Daniel Schultz at the Civic Media London Social Thu 3 Nov @ 6:00pm

Civic Videos and Podcasts

  • Video: Civic Media Session: "Civic Maps"
  • Video: Ethan Zuckerman on "Networks Understanding Networks"
  • Video: Benjamen Walker talks "Too Much Information" at our Civic Media Lunch: (Great example of "civic fiction" as a genre…)
  • Podcast: "Surveillance and Citizenship"
  • Molly Sauter interviewed by BBC4 about Anonymous and hacktivism (~13:50)

Social Media & Mass Media : Looking at BBC's guidelines for using pictures from Social Media

BBC is one of the few mass media outlets that has a worldwide footprint, and as someone who used to live in a region which is heavily covered by the BBC, it was very interesting to see the "outside perspective" that it brought in for issues which had a strongly localized context. With the BBC going into the practice of inviting participation (via social networks) to their reporting process, I think it would be very interesting to see the resultant blending of the local and the outside perspective.

The BBC has published their social media policy online, and as I was going through it, their editorial guidelines for using pictures from social media seemed very interesting to me. The guidelines cover three important areas - context, consent and amplification.


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