social networks

Social networks, or online communities, in the context of civic media work are web sites organized to enable individuals to connect with one another and to share information, photos, videos, and personal reflections.

Graph Search Rejiggers Your Personal Info

liveblog of an MIT Facebook recruiting event by Matt Stempeck, Rodrigo Davies, and Chris Peterson (slide doctored by mstem)

We've had all of our data on Facebook for years. And advertisers have used Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform, similar to Graph Search, to segment and target ads at us for years. But now, the rollout of Graph Search allows every Facebook user to sort their friends, friends of friends, and public profiles in great detail and by detailed refinements. You can see some fun and some creepy examples at the Actual Facebook Graph Searches Tumblr.

Exising critiques of Graph Search and its privacy implications:

Women, News, and the Internet: (almost) Everything We Know

In my upcoming master's thesis, I'm making large-scale, automated technologies to measure and change the representation of women in news online. Judith Donath, one of my thesis readers, has strongly challenged the assumptions of this project. Can I actually make a good argument that women should have a fair and equal voice in society? Can I create a reasonable definition of equality, one that's good enough to include in computer software?

A positive vision of the role of women in the news needs to start with an understanding of the role they currently play: what are women watching, how are they using their voices, are those voices being heard, how are they presented in the news, and how does that influence what happens in society?

This is the first part of my answer to Judith, a review of what we know about women, news, and the Internet. Have I missed anything? Add it in the comments.

Distributed solidarity: how 350.org creates an intimate global movement

Nathan Matias and I recently spoke to a few staffers from 350, a global climate movement organization. Especially worthy of your attention are the concept of “distributed solidarity,” making that solidarity visible to participants and—to Civic—a sort of tightrope between professional and citizen footage. This post is for background; jump over to Nathan's post for some technically based civic ideas.

How social media shaped the US election

While the presidential candidates' social media teams spent many hours rebutting factual inaccuracies and publishing lightning-fast infographics, the discourse around this year's election (online, at least) was dominated by social media memes. Critics will be quick to dismiss this as the debasing of political debate by cynical, uninformed observers, or straightforward dumbing down. But it's no accident that Big Bird and Binders Full of Women stole our attention, because the meme form is highly adapted to the social media news feed environment in which most of us consume news online. I've been researching the dynamics of feed culture recently and would like to suggest that we describe that environment as 'hyperoral', in which the ephemerality, brevity and repetition common to oral discourse is given a hypermediated form.

LazyTruth

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Have you ever been forwarded an email that you just can’t believe? Our inboxes are rife with misinformation. The truth is out there, just not when we actually need it. Lazy Truth is an experiment to make fact-checking viral chain emails as easy as forwarding them.

Can peer progressives change institutions?

 Matt Stempeck

Last night the Center for Civic Media brought together Steven Johnson, Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford and Lawrence Lessig to discuss Johnson’s new book Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked World. Substantively they centred on the issue of whether the success of peer-networked movements can be framed as a political ideology that can bring together the collective energies behind the likes of Wikipedia, Linux, Kiva and Kickstarter and build a movement for progressively minded change.

Designing Acknowledgment on the Web

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

I have a confession to make: my persona

Social Mirror

Social Mirror transforms social science research by making offline social network research cheaper, faster, and more reliable. Research on whole life networks typically involves costly paper forms which take months to process.

Civindex: the Italian connection

Great news for the Civindex project. Right after I wrote here about the idea of creating an index to measure personal activist participation on the internet, I received an interesting message on the comments section: “Hi Andre, I came across this interesting post. I found this idea intriguing. I am also conducting some research on similar topics. Why don't we have a chat on this?”

It turned out to be a message from Stefano de Paoli, an Italian researcher from the <ahref Foundation and University of Trento, who studies the interactions between technology and society. One of Stefano’s colleagues Luca de Biase (chairman of Fondazione ahref) visited the MIT last year, and they are implementing the Civic Media concepts in Italy.

After some difficulty in finding a common time for this chat, we ended up talking, earlier this week, and decided to work together on the project.

Link spamming during the 2008 South Korean beef protests

I’ve narrowed down the focus of my semester-long project. In my first post, I talked about looking at different commenting systems and the role they play in spreading information. I’ve decided to narrow down my focus to link spamming — links to sites that incite civic action placed in comments of content that isn’t intended to incite civic action.

One of the most substantial examples of this was the 2008 U.S. beef protests in South Korea. when South Koreans stopped banning the import of beef from the United States. Many South Koreans opposed the lifting of the ban, saying that U.S. beef wasn’t safe from the bacteria that causes Mad Cow disease. It even escalated to the point where the President’s entire cabinet submitted resignation letters.

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