natematias | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by natematias

Modernity, the Telegraph, and Complex Systems

Did Modernity start with the telegraph? In our class last Wednesday, we discussed this claim from James Carey's 1989 book, Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society (you can read Carey's telegraph article here). Here is his astonishing and fascinating central claim:

the innovation of the telegraph can stand metaphorically for all the innovations that ushered in the modern phase of history and determined, even to this day, the major lines of development of American communications.

Help us make a visual map of CoDesign

This term, I plan to develop a visual map of the field of CoDesign. And I need your suggestions for what it should include.

CoDesign is a process in which the designer makes a commitment to a community of use, involving them in all stages of the design proces. Here at the Center for Civic Media, we're developing a CoDesign toolkit, led by Sasha Costanza-Chock. My visual map is one small part of this larger project.

Open Innovation and Creativity, A Panel at the Media Lab

Over the last two days at the Media Lab, we have been having our biannual member's meeting, a time for all of the lab's sponsors to stop by, look at our work, and to participate in talks and sessions about the big issues for technology, business and the future. Hashtag: #MediaLabNtwks.

One of the highlights has been a superstar panel discussion on Open Innovation and Creativity, moderated by the Media Lab director Joi Ito (my supervisor Ethan posted yesterday on Joi's views on openness). The panelists were Larry Lessig, Chris diBona, Yochai Benkler, and John Seeley Brown:

Is Participation Exploitation?

Our Intro to Civic Media class has spent several weeks discussing different ways that people can participate in society using the Internet. We have discussed citizen watchdogs, community associations, public discourse, Internet pressure groups, public demonstrations, counterpublic cultures, radical magazines, and even the political value of the music versus what is achieved through elections. Although we did speak briefly about business models for the news in the first week we have thus far set aside the question of the labor that is implied by participation.

Net Neutrality and Hegemony

This week in our Intro to Civic Media course, we have been asked to develop the ability to view media issues through the lens of media justice, and to apply that view to a contemporary issue. Given my recent arrival in the US, I am hesitant to make strong pronouncements on this topic in public. Nevertheless, I think find it to be a challenging and fruitful exercise.

This month, media activists are starting an effort to encourage regulations which open greater access to the mobile internet. Blacks and Hispanics are among the biggest users of the wireless web. Many believe that widespread mobile internet can become a significant part of widening access to information and participation among those groups. This goals motivate activists to link mobile internet access with justice.