Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Project Update, w/Charts

To better visualize ICT accessibility and usage in Ukraine, I've created a few very rough charts based on data from the World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report from 2010-2011 (find it here:, I've also highlighted results from the US, Russia, and Estonia for broader context. (I chose Estonia because it is an EU memberstate that is rather democratic and technologically developed despite its Soviet past). The shaded areas represent the other countries on the list (138, in all). As far as I can tell, digital ICT accessibility and usage is not necessarily correlated to GDP. For example, Internet users in Zambia, Mongolia, and Madagascar all utilize virtual social networks more heavily than Ukrainians. Apparently, respondents in Senegal felt that there was better Internet access in their schools than did their Ukrainian counterparts. Bolivia enjoys a faster international broadband speed than Ukraine, etc. Continue reading to see the charts.

Here we go...

Project Update: Mapping Out Civic Activism in Scratch

This is a final project update which Sayamindu Dasgupta and I have been working on.

For our Intro to Civic Media final project, we are exploring the ways in which young people are expressing their civic engagement through the interactive media they’ve created and shared in the Scratch Online Community. One of our research questions asks: “When young people use a media creation and sharing community to engage in civic discourse and expression with their community and their peers, what does that look like?”

Below we describe a few examples of civic engagement that occur on the site. We tried to organize them between two categories: issues related to the world beyond Scratch and issues within the Scratch community. For our final project, we will continue to explore such cases, but we may choose to focus on a related few cases to keep our project within a reasonable scope.

Engagement within Local and Global Communities

Liveblog: Al Jazeera on Liveblogging

I liveblogged a session on liveblogging, and the universe didn't implode! Giant disclaimer that the audio in the room wasn't great, so some of these thoughts and many of the words are my own, trying to capture Bilal's talk. I wouldn't quote him on any of this.

Thanks to Bilal Randeree for sharing with us. You can find him on Twitter @bilalr.

It's been a big year for liveblog-worthy news, which you can quickly see in a run-down of Al Jazeera's Live Blogs:

Begin semi-quotations:

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.


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