We get a lot of wonderful and interesting visitors here at SMC. Today, we had the pleasure of spending time with Siva Vaidhyanathan, Robertson Professor and the Chair of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia.
SMC: So what brings you to MSR today?
SV: For years I’ve wanted to visit MSR and talk to the folks who are working on the social science questions. Ever since danah boyd came here 4 years ago, maybe 5 years ago, I knew that something really interesting was happening here, and that someone here was smart enough to hire danah. That said a lot. But then once Kate and Nancy and Mary all announced their willingness to join this team, I knew that the absolute best work was going to come out of this group. So, you know, I’ve been itching to hang out with these folks. They’re not only doing the best work on internet culture, but they’re also really fun, nice people. And they attract other fun, nice people! So I was not disappointed.
SMC: What’s the most fun thing that you learned during your visit today?
SV: That Neal Stephenson goes to church. (laughs) Cambridge is a tremendous salon of thought and research about the most interesting questions about digital technology and culture. I don’t know that there’s a better town in the US for these sorts of conversations, and MSR is a big part of that. Between MSR and Berkman, you have critical mass of really smart people who are asking all the right questions and generating sophisticated answers.
SMC: SMC has quite an extensive beverage bar. Out of our many options, what was your drink of choice today?
SV: (laughs) I had chai.