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

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Occupy Streams Map

With the growth of the 99 Percent movement and occupations all over the world, a large number of citizen journalists and activists have turned to real-time video casting services such as livestream, ustream, and Live streaming offers a compelling way to experience a protest on-the-ground as it's happening – and it has even trickled up to more traditional media services. published the live feed from The Other 99 on its front page last night during a 2000+ person strong general assembly in Liberty Plaza, NY. And CBS published a live stream of Bloomberg's morning address in which he explained the city's motivations for evicting protesters.

"The Crime Report" on prison blogging project, Between the Bars

Thanks to "The Crime Report" for their coverage of Charlie DeTar's Center project, Between the Bars:

Reentry and reform can take root when prisoners are able to maintain connections with their families and communities. One website is making great strides in building those bridges online. aims to humanize prisoners and open a dialogue between the millions of incarcerated Americans and the public. The site launched last year, growing out of work at the MIT Center for Civic Media by Charlie DeTar and others. It’s a refreshing initiative in a field that usually holds technology and communications at arm’s length.

DeTar’s site is a brilliant idea. Thanks to a recent redesign, it’s also a well-executed one. Between the Bars relies on the help of volunteers to scan posts from prisoners and post them directly to the web.

Media Ecosystems on Twitter and Weibo

In the article “The Revolutions Were Tweeted: Information Flow During the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions”, Gilad Lotan, Erhardt Graeff and others use the term ecosystem by referring to the relationships between different actors in a networked online environment. Providing snapshots of the information flow in 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions, they point out that the nature of news work is experiencing the shift from the era of mass media to the networked digital media. Traditionally the news organizations are considered as the agency of professionalism, but in networked news environments, the production of news is described in terms of connected actors including non-professionals in various geographic locations, which challenges the normative models of journalism. Within the context of Twitter information flows during Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions, they demonstrate a recurring pattern that professionals interacted with bloggers, media organizations, non-media groups, activists, researchers and many other actors through commenting, retweeting, and hashtagging.

VIDEO: Mapping Media Ecosystems

Download! (Embedded version below the fold.)

While you view our video below, read Ethan's rundown of our superb event, Mapping Media Ecosystems. It featured Hal Roberts, of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; Erhardt Graeff, founding member of the Web Ecology Project; and Gilad Lotan, VP of Research and Development for SocialFlow:

I asked them to share some of the recent work they’ve been doing, understanding the structure of the US and Russian blogosphere, analyzing the influence networks in Twitter during the early Arab Spring events and understanding the social and political dynamics of hashtags. They didn’t disappoint, and I suspect our video of the session will be one of the more popular pieces of media we put together this fall.

Participatory Design!

This week in Co-Design I'm looking at the field of Participatory Design. Participatory Design has a much more establish history than most of the other sub-genres of co-design I've been looking at. It had its start in Scandinavia in the 1970's, emerging from trade union movements. It shares an ideological lineage with Sociotechnical Design and Action research. Initially, the goal of Participatory Design was to shift the stance of technology from one which inherently favored management and entrenched power structures to one which favored and worked with the workers. Given the theory's avowedly political beginnings, a good question to keep in mind as we continue to think about participatory is whether or not it has kept its ideological commitment to the democratization of technology since its conception. In order to be called "participatory design," must a project undertake the political goals of the theory's founders? Is this political stance what is necessary to differentiate it from other theories of co-design?


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