Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

What Reality Television Tells Us About the Arab World: An Interview with Marwan Kraidy (Part One)

Reality television is often depicted as the trivialization or tabloidization of American culture. I can't tell you how many people I know have told me with a sneer that more Americans voted in the most recent American Idol than voted in the last presidential election. It turns out to be a myth -- since people can vote as many times as they want for American Idol, there's no way to translate the number of votes cast into the number of people participating, and my bet is that if we could have voted for the candidate of our choice on speed dial in the last election, the numbers there would have looked much more impressive. Yet, the comment suggests the ways that reality television is often depicted as a distraction for democratic citizenship.

Citizens map the Gulf oil slick with balloons and kites

I went down early last week to New Orleans and began coordinating a citizen aerial mapping effort with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) using my recent research in low-cost balloon and kite-based aerial imaging. Our efforts have begun to bear fruit, as almost daily trips into the Gulf are bringing back stunning imagery:

Oil at Chandeleur islands, as seen from a balloon

This Week in Civic Media 05.07.2010: Social media and the "boil-water" order; MIT News Office wins a Webby

A quiet week in the aggregate for civic media news, but a few major stories popped up. Social media played a remarkably effective role during greater Boston's boil-water order http://cot.ag/ap35Zu. Here at MIT, the MIT News Office won a well-deserved People's Voice Webby. And in a case with wide-ranging implications, in an obscenity-filled opinion the U.S. Supreme Court upheld freedom of speech http://onion.com/bpiX3U.

Most importantly, though, our congratulations to the Center's outreach coordinator Christina Xu on helping run a crazy-successful ROFLCon, including the fact that the local Toscanini's, in honor of the conference, made an ice cream flavor named The Internet:

From our Friends

This Week in Civic Media 04.30.10: MITNews up for a Webby; Marianna Leavy-Sperounis video on Lawrence, Mass.

MIT News

  • Yo! Vote up the MIT News Office for a Webby Award for best university website http://cot.ag/9XmCcT (It's already in the lead!)

From friends of the Center

Law, Privacy, and Copyright

Henry Jenkins' farewell

For those of us who miss Henry Jenkins' familiar figure around the MIT campus, last night's Farewell at the MIT Communications Forum was a delight. For those of you who missed it you'll just have to wait until the audio and video appear on the Communications Forum website. It's worth seeing.

The audience reception was the closest thing I've seen to a standing ovation at an MIT talk. Most MIT audiences can't stand up since they have laptops on their laps. Happy trails, Henry!

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