erhardt | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by erhardt

Location! The Importance of Geo-Data at SXSW

Liveblog of Location! The Importance of Geo-Data panel at SXSW

Description from the SXSW website: The proliferation of location-aware devices and geo-tagged data raises important questions: what will happen as more and more of the content we create online is automatically tagged with locational data? What can we learn from this profusion of geographic information? With this data we can find restaurants, friends and sex partners (a la, visualize inequalities in media attention, develop epidemiological models to predict the spread of diseases, find dissident safe houses in times of political upheaval and coordinate crisis response. But who is contributing data and who is not on the map? How are our social relationships being transformed? What about privacy? What about civic participation? Serious questions are mounting -- this panel aims to raise several of them, and explore the transformative power this shift may bring.

Location Panel at SXSW

An Open Letter to Patriotic Microphilanthropists

by Sam Novey and Erhardt Graeff

We applaud Bill Moyers and Arnold Hiatt's "Open Letter to Patriotic Philanthropists" in the Winter 2013 Issue of Democracy. It's an eloquent and timely call to action for "well heeled and well connected" donors to support work that is critical to the future of our nation and our world.

Political reform funding does suffer from an imbalance in resources between lobbyists and activists, caused in part by nearsightedness favoring quantifiable deliverables and risk aversion to innovative projects. However, we feel that we are only looking at one part of the reform movement. Many of the values we care about are as much cultural issues as they are explicitly political or legal issues. We should also be funding efforts to deliver cultural change, and doing so in a way that pushes cultural change itself.

Introducing myself to Civic Media

I just joined the Center for Civic Media and the Media Lab as a research assistant and graduate student. This fall I'm taking Sasha's Intro to Civic Media course to acquaint myself with the work of the Center and the philosophies and literature that underpin it. I hope by the end of the semester I will have a better understanding of the history of media activism, the key texts that inform the Center for Civic Media's directors, and how I might be able to contribute to the emerging field of Civic Media.