ericfrenchmonge | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by ericfrenchmonge

Initial research on Costa Rica's media ecology

So I am going to do a longer post later on this week that would potentially be the introduction to the project (in Spanish), but for now, I am just going to do a quick overview of some of the changes in the project, and progress made so far.

After our project workshop, I thought about the suggestions and concerns on the vagueness of my proposal, and how if I could focus some of the research on what is happening specifically in the context of Costa Rica, I would be able to be more concrete with my investigation on how the different topics we have discussed in class are reflected in the country's media ecology, and how this, in turn, would help inform the decisions on the development of a participatory media prototype (test page here).

Technology and movements (and models of social change)

What makes someone put themselves at risk for an abstract idea, say, like freedom, a better future, an imagined utopia, an ideal? And how does this one person come together with other and become many? How does a movement start? What are the factors, catalysts, that make an action significant and pushes many more?

Who knows, really.

However, our Intro to Civic Media class tried to approach an understanding of some of the basics that are the building blocs of a movement. We tried to identify, through our different readings and an exercise, some key characteristics that might be common factors in a model of social change.

Amauta Free Space Project outline (kind of)

So, as I mentioned before, I am trying to build a prototype based on an idea for a collaborate site. The final paper will try to use most of the different themes we have discussed in class, but it will approach these subjects in a way that it challenges this tool, asking, "how would this web platform address these issues we discussed?". It would then try to find the appropriate way to incorporate the reflections within the prototype itself. This idea for a platform was already trying to deal with most of these issues, so it would try to delve further into them. Yet the platform idea is more of an excuse (or exercise) to try and synthetize all these topics and connect the dots.

Amauta Free Space project

So, after much reflection, I decided to do the Amauta Free Space project, since it's my passion at the moment, consuming my time and thoughts. As I mentioned before, it would consist of an open collaborative space for democratic participation, where those who take part in it build a virtual community interacting on a set of basic principles (if you can understand Spanish, you can see our diagram here):

Las "verdades" detras de nuestra informacion

Nuestras noticias, nuestra información, y hasta nuestro entretenimiento, todo pasa por un proceso de creación que determina qué vamos a absorber en nuestras vidas diarias. Tal vez no siempre creamos lo que veamos, escuchamos y leemos, pero la persistencia en la divulgación de esta información hace que sólo estemos expuestos a ciertos tipos de mensajes y valores. Nuestra realidad la experimentamos a través de esta información, porque es eso lo que conocemos del mundo exterior fuera de nuestras propias experiencias (que si las vemos diferentes a lo que nos exponen, las consideramos anomalías sociales), y por eso mismo, estamos limitados a imaginar el mundo, y a nosotros mismos, en base a esta visión de él.