ricarose | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by ricarose

What is Civic Media Revisited

Looking back at my first blog post, I defined civic media as:

Civic media is any use of a medium that empowers a community to engage within and beyond the people, places, and problems of their community.

I then explained what I meant by a medium, a community, engagement, people, places, and problems. (I realize that I didn't describe what I meant by empower though!) I still stand by this definition, but I believe this class enriched it across many dimensions and contexts. For example, I enjoyed learning about the many ways people expressed engagement, from traditional forms such as protests to DDOS attacks by Anonymous.

Project Update: Pushing the LImits

This a collaborative post on the project Sayamindu Dasgupta and I have been working on.

Focusing on Real-Life Community Issues
In a past project update, we surveyed a number of cases in the Scratch Online Community where Scratch members expressed civic engagement through the interactive media projects they shared. One of our research questions asks, “When young people use a media creation and sharing community to engage in civic discourse and expression with their community and their peers, what does that look like?”

Project Update: Mapping Out Civic Activism in Scratch

This is a final project update which Sayamindu Dasgupta and I have been working on.

For our Intro to Civic Media final project, we are exploring the ways in which young people are expressing their civic engagement through the interactive media they’ve created and shared in the Scratch Online Community. One of our research questions asks: “When young people use a media creation and sharing community to engage in civic discourse and expression with their community and their peers, what does that look like?”

Below we describe a few examples of civic engagement that occur on the site. We tried to organize them between two categories: issues related to the world beyond Scratch and issues within the Scratch community. For our final project, we will continue to explore such cases, but we may choose to focus on a related few cases to keep our project within a reasonable scope.

Engagement within Local and Global Communities

Examining Participatory Journalism in the NYTimes

For Intro to Civic Media this week we were asked to pick a media news outlet and examine how they incorporated participatory media into their practices and work. Being a regular New York Times reader, I decided to look back at my own personal observations of the NYTimes' online interaction with readers.

When thinking of examples within the NYTimes website, I kept going back to their blogs, which are managed and written by their staff members and sometimes visitors. The blog comments can be areas for readers to have conversations about the article. I remember that the comments feature started off fairly simple as a stream of messages. Soon they became curated by an editor with a tag indicating that it was recommended by an editor. More recently, instead of being curated by an editor, the newspaper allowed readers to curate by enabling them to "recommend" comments. This resulted in comments being marked not by editors but by the number of recommendations that comment received.

Video games through the lens of transcultural political economies

After reading Uricchio's analysis of the maturation of the film industry and the debates across national and cultural boundaries to situate it, I was reminded about the rise of video games and its own cultural debates and shifts. What triggered this example was the military's use of video games as a recruitment tool with American Army, a multiplayer networked game under the first player shooting game genre. While it is no longer in active development because of budget cuts, the game has been well-received, consistently ranking among the top 20 games since it was released in 2002. The game has also spread to other platforms beyond PC including other game consoles and mobile devices. A survey in 2005 of army recruits found that 40 percent had played the game before enlisting.