Category Archives: ideas

Honor every death: Paying attention to terror in Baga, Nigeria as well as Paris

This has been an ugly week. On Wednesday, two Islamic extremists assassinated 12 people in the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The next day, a police officer was killed by a pair of gunmen in another corner of Paris … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Developing world, Human Rights, ideas, Media | 26 Comments

Pronoia, beautiful inefficiency, and an artwork built for one

In the fall and winter of 2013, the writer Rick Moody experienced a set of events designed to change his life. His priest gave him a book, apparently written decades ago (though actually specially crafted just for him), to read … Continue reading

Posted in ideas | 2 Comments

Sasha Costanza Chock on Immigrant Rights and Transmedia Organizing

Today’s Comparative Media Studies colloquium features one of our own, Assistant Professor of Civic Media, Sasha Costanza-Chock. His new book, “Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets!” explores the world of transmedia organizing and the immigrant rights movement. His talk … Continue reading

Posted in CFCM, Human Rights, ideas, Media, Media Lab, newcivics | Comments Off on Sasha Costanza Chock on Immigrant Rights and Transmedia Organizing

Helen Nissenbaum on Ad Nauseum, resistance through obfuscation, and weapons of the weak

Philosopher Helen Nissenbaum is one of the leading thinkers about the ethical issues we face in digital spaces. Her work on privacy as “contextual integrity” is one of the most tools for understanding why some online actions taken by companies … Continue reading

Posted in CFCM, ideas, Media | 7 Comments

Williams Convocation Address: “Bibliolarceny and the Size of the Universe”

My alma mater, Williams College, begins the academic year with a convocation, a ceremony for seniors, faculty and a small number of alumni who are being honored with the college’s Bicentennial medal, an award for “distinguished achievement in any field … Continue reading

Posted in ideas, Personal | 7 Comments

A public apology – on screwing up by not questioning assumptions – my talk at #BIF10

I spoke this morning at the tenth incarnation of BIF, Business Innovation Factory, an annual conference in Providence, RI that focuses on storytelling. It’s got a lot less product promotion and self-celebration than many conferences on innovation, and more personal … Continue reading

Posted in ideas, Media | 4 Comments

Self-segregation on social networks and the implications for the Ferguson, MO story

Michael Brown was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson on Saturday August 9, 2014. After his body lay in the hot street for four hours, Ferguson residents took to the streets to protest his killing. Brown’s death, the ensuing … Continue reading

Posted in ideas, Media | 13 Comments

The biography I’m waiting for: Bambaataa and the parallel universe of hip hop

I wrote a book review, of sorts, last week about Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs and my concern that biographies, as a genre, celebrate a “great man” theory of history. While I remain convinced that we need more biographies … Continue reading

Posted in ideas, Just for fun | 1 Comment

How do you write a biography about collaboration?

A friend recently posted a video on Facebook, a 1997 news story from ABC’s Nightline about Tripod, the social media company I helped build in Williamstown MA from 1994-1999. The video sparked a wave of reactions in me: nostalgia for … Continue reading

Posted in books, ideas | 4 Comments

When Being Happy is Political

The Atlantic was kind enough to run a lightly edited version of this post. I’m posting here after their publication so that this remains in my archives. Pharrell Williams is a happy man, but he’s crying. He’s one of the … Continue reading

Posted in CFCM, ideas, Media, newcivics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When Being Happy is Political