Recent news from the Center for Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Can we create Solitude on the Web? Jonathan Harris on Cowbird

Can we graft our humanity and our souls onto the web—using the Internet to craft a life story which grows in richness over time? In the 19th century, the Romantic poet Wordsworth famously stated: "all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity." Jonathan Harris, who spoke at the MIT Media Lab last Monday, is trying offer something similar with his new storytelling platform Cowbird.

Media Diet Lessons from the Embattled History of Nutrition Labels (and the Torturous Stretching of an Innocent Metaphor)

When we started telling people about our "nutrition label for the news" project, one question came up fairly frequently: “Do nutrition labels even work?”

Of course, when people ask if labels work, they implicitly mean, "Have nutritional labels prevented America from growing more obese each year?" In this case, the obvious answer is “No.”

This doesn't mean that labels don't serve their purpose, or that we don't need them to get healthier. Your political identity is shaped by many things other than where you get your news: your parents, your siblings, your childhood, your education, your workplace, or hey, maybe even your most basic morals or the type of bacteria in your belly.

Audio: "Occupy Wall Street after Zuccotti Park," an Interview with Sasha Costanza-Chock

Back in November, Associate Professor of Civic Media and Center principal investigator Sasha Costanza-Chock spoke with NPR's Brook Gladstone about what comes next for the Occupy movement (image and link courtesy of and NPR's On the Media:


Is the BBC Framing Issues differently on Facebook?

Recently when I pasted a BBC article link into Facebook, the title and summary in Facebook presented the opposing view to that taken by the article. Here's the story.

Why do unions support SOPA?

I was supposed to speak on a panel about SOPA this evening with the Northeast chapters of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It was to serve as an educational discussion for local members, but at the national level, both unions have already officially endorsed SOPA. I spent the weekend preparing remarks, but the panel has been postponed, or possibly canceled, on account of AFTRA and SAG failing to provide representatives to discuss the bill. I can only hope this is an indication that they’re reconsidering their public support of one of the least American bills to gain serious traction in Congress, as a number of other companies have done in the face of public backlash.


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