Intro to Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Intro to Civic Media: Civil Disobedience and Hacktivism

Thanks to Luis for helping scribe, and to Molly and Charlie for filling in for our instructors!

We kick off today's class by watching We Are Legion, a film about the hacktivist collective Anonymous. Sasha and Becky are at a conference, so today's class is being led by our classmate Molly, and Charlie DeTar. Molly adds a disclaimer: the film is a fan letter, not a documentary. There are different tactics for civil disobedience: Denial of Service (Dos/DDoS) attacks, information dispersal, more participatory actions (e.g. Habbo Hotel). We start by delving into the readings and discussing our thoughts about the forms that civil disobedience may take online.

Loki notes that, despite the way in which Anonymous has been antagonized, they have done little real harm. Compare this with Gandhi, whose Salt March led to the death of over 200 people.

There are certainly parallels between Project Chanology's leak of Tom Cruise's Scientology video to the leak of the Pentagon Papers.

Binders Full of Memes: CMS.360 Project Update

The Sudden Realization Romney image macro that emerged during the aftermath of the election.

Drastic Differences in Leaking Websites

I have been researching document processing for my Intro to Civic Media project. Specifically, I have been examining the varying goals as well as processes and tools used in the intermediary steps after a leaked document is received but before it is released. I hope to identify both strategies that work particularly well and difficult areas where few tools or processes are available to help. In the past week, I have been conducting interviews and updating LeakWiki.

Google Fusion Maps

This video is about Google Fusion Tables, a great data visualization tool.


Intro to Civic Media: Immigration Coverage with PageOneX


For my final project for Introduction to Civic Media with Professor Sasha Costanza-Chock, I have been working with the platform PageOneX in order to conduct a front page analysis of immigration coverage in major newspapers.

Email targeting in 2012 political campaigns

An article from The Atlantic about the bearded geeks behind Obama's campaign recently caught the attention of many — as of today, more than 12,000 people have liked it on Facebook and over 3,000 people have tweeted about it. Part of the story's intrigue was the campaign's ability to collect massive amounts of data on voters and volunteers and use that data to target their messages.

This week's blog post will focus on ProPublica's Message Machine and its conclusions about email targeting in the 2012 election campaigns. This blog post is the second post in a series leading up to a final project about mass communication from 2012 election campaigns.

OneZoom Tree of Life

Watch the new video. All the information about this unique mapping tool is included:

As far as the overall project, it's been going pretty well so far. Collecting useful mapping tools has not been very difficult, as I would discover them by browsing the internet or checkout out Facebook posts. There is so much information to be found on the web, but the problem is that people are much more willing to be on Reddit or play flash games. For my next few videos, I will try to tie them into our classroom discussions a lot more. The past few videos were on largely random (but important) subjects, so I will begin to filter my mapping tools and try to make them pertinent to what we are learning.

Intro to Civic Media Week 11: Free Information and Transparency

This blog post was written with Andre Muggiati.

This week, our Introduction to Civic Media class discussed freedom of information and transparency. To start with, we not only took our normal public notes but we also decided to be radically transparent by having class in a Google hangout.

Conspiracy, Transparency, Privacy

Obama’s grassroots calling campaign

How many emails, texts, or phone calls from an organization can you stand until you start automatically labeling the entire operation as spam? For my final project, I will focus on mass communication from organizations with the intention of driving civic action, particularly methods and frequency of communication.

With the 2012 elections, many found themselves the target of mass communication. This blog post will focus on one example of mass communication from a political campaign — Barack Obama’s calling campaign, a grassroots campaign to reach voters through their neighbors.

A blog post from April 18 by the campaign described the tool well — “The call tool is already changing what it means to volunteer—allowing anyone, anywhere, to pitch in.”