Judith Donath is giving a book talk to launch The Social Machine. I read it
this weekend and it is a rich work that explores the ways in which good
design can improve our online sociality. I’m a fan of Judith’s and am
looking forward to seeing what 25-minutes’ worth of ideas she selects to
talk about tonight, given the richness of her book.
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.
Judith begins by saying that the theme of the book is the importance of
online social interaction and designing for it. Our interfaces may look
sophisticated but they’re primitive when it comes to enabling social
interaction. She uses a Mark Twain story ["Was the Worl... (more)
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... (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
In case anyone has forgotten what honesty sounds like:
My wife and I just spent nineteen hours in Yeruham [flickr photos] in the
Negev desert. We were visiting Avi Warshavsky and his family who I know
through the Center for Educational Technology, an Israeli non-profit that
encourages tech innovation (in Hebrew and Arabic) for schools. Avi is the
head of MindCET, a remarkable ed tech incubator in Yeruham, and is a highly
respected figure in the Israeli open tech field. (I was brought to Israel by
Yad Hanadiv and the National Library of Israel to talk with the Library about
its digital initiative. I also gave an informal talk to the L... (more)