Talk about “civility” on the Internet always makes me a little nervous.
For a bunch of reasons.
First, I generally try to be civil, but I’d hate to see a Net that is
always and only civil. Some rowdiness and rudeness is absolutely required.
Second, civility as a word feels like it comes from a colonial mentality, as
if there are the civil folks and then there are the savages. I’m not saying
that’s what people mean when they use the term. It’s just what I
Third, civility is so culturally relative that demanding that someone be
civil can actually mean, “Please play by our rules or you shall be removed
from the premises!” Which is I guess what gives rise to my second reason.
Fourth, civility seems to be more about the form of interaction, the rhetoric
of the interchange. That’s fine. But given a preference, I’d be hectoring
people about dignity, not civ... (more)
Maxim Weinstein responded in an email to my post about what the social
structure of the Internet looked like before Facebook, making the insightful
point that Facebook meets the four criteria Clay Shirky listed for social
software in his 2003 keynote at eTech. Here are the four with Max’s
1. Provide for persistent identities so that reputations can accrue. These
identities can of course be pseudonyms.
2. Provide a way for members’ good work to be recognized. < "Like" buttons,
3. Put in some barriers to participation so that the interactions become
The Web was social before it had social networking software. It just hadn’t
yet evolved a pervasive layer of software specifically designed to help us be
In 2003 it was becoming clear that we needed?—?and were getting?—?a new
class of application, unsurprisingly called “social software.” But what
sort of sociality were we looking for? What sort could such software bestow?
That was the theme of Clay Shirky’s 2003 keynote at the ETech conference,
the most important gathering of Web developers of its time. Clay gave a
brilliant talk,“A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy,” in which... (more)
At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Michael Eisner is interviewing the creator of
House of Cards, Beau Willimon. I’m not going to attempt to do comprehensive
NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key
information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small
matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other
people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.
The point at which SPOILERS begin is clearly marked below.
Beau’s initial artistic expression was in painting. He was good but just
not good enough. He... (more)
This week there were two out-of-the-park posts by Berkman folk: Ethan
Zuckerman on advertising as the Net’s original sin, and Zeynep Tufecki on
the power of the open Internet as demonstrated by coverage of the riots in
Ferguson. Each provides a view on whether the Net is a failed promise. Each
is brilliant and brilliantly written.
Zeynep on Ferguson
Zeynep, who has written with wisdom and insight on the role of social media
in the Turkish protests (e.g., here and here), looks at how Twitter brought
the Ferguson police riots onto the national agenda and how well Twitter