Earlier this fall, the French cultural theory magazine, Poli, ran an extensive interview with me conducted by Maxime Cervulle. The interview explored a range of topics surrounding the cultural politics of participatory culture and web 2.0, specifically addressing concerns raised by European intellectuals about some of the themes I explored in Convergence Culture. I saw it as an opportunity to identify points of contact as well as differences in how we thought about digital media and political/economic change. The readership of this interview was academic so the language deployed may be a bit more high-flying than I usually would run in this blog. But I felt it would be valuable to distribute an English language translation of the exchange. By prior arrangements with the magazine's editors, I've waited several months since it's appearance in France and am now sharing it with you. Many of the themes are ones which have surfaced on this blog before but some of the topics were new to me and opened up some interesting lines of thinking.
Our friends at Neighbors for Neighbors have officially teamed up with the Boston city government to launch a social networking website, allowing city personnel to better communicate with residents and hopefully address problems more quickly.
“By providing these social networks, Neighbors for Neighbors is providing our residents yet another way to stay in touch with each other and their neighborhood officials,” said Mayor [Thomas] Menino. “We continue to use the latest technology to make government even more accessible and more responsive to our constituents. Just this week we launched the City’s first-ever iPhone application to send constituent requests to the Mayor’s 24-Hour Hotline and now we’re providing them another way to connect with city officials.”
On the networks, users create profiles and post information about themselves (and organizations they represent), and can find and communicate with neighbors. Users can also post blogs and events, participate in forums, add videos, photos, music, and create and join interest groups.
Coordinators from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services as well as District Police Captains and Community Service Officers will all have a presence on the website to answer any questions users may have about their neighborhoods from broken street lights and trash pickup to various public safety issues.
Neighbors for Neighbors also held a kick-off this past week, announcing their partnership with the city:
Everyone knows that creating a startup involves a carefully-ordered sequence of steps -- eg, don't start selling your product until you have a product (actually, that's surprisingly easy to screw up). However, there's a guiding principle about designing the right sequence that doesn't get talked about enough. You need to think about designing your "Validation Trajectory". Here's the deal:
Hey, the FTC just made it illegal for bloggers to accept kickbacks for writing puff pieces about products on the internet. Good. Maybe the discussion about this will make people call out for independent, non-profit, verifiable product information. I put puff journalism and greenwashing in the same sentence. Hey bloggers, if [...]
The election of an African-American president in November 2008 has been hailed as a transforming event. But has Obama's ascension transformed anything? Many people's answer to that question changed this summer when a famous Harvard professor was arrested at his home in Cambridge. Are the harsh realities of race and class in the U.S. clearer now or murkier, following the media tsunami of Gatesgate? And has this polarizing event given greater visibility to racial minorities in the media's coverage of politics? How are race issues and racial politics covered in our national media, and what are the implications of the demise of major city newspapers for the coverage of race and politics?
Juan Williams of NPR and Fox News discussed these and related questions in a candid conversation with Phillip Thompson, associate professor of urban politics in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, and David Thorburn, Professor of Literature and Director of the MIT Communications Forum. This forum is the first of two this term in our ongoing civic media series, a collaboration of the Communications Forum and the Media Lab's Center for Future Civic Media.