Watch SMC members dropping science (nobody says that anymore) at various events.

danah boyd on Embracing a Culture of Connectivity

Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, May 12, 2011



Many young adults have incorporated social media into their daily practices, both academically and personally. They use these tools to connect, collaborate, communicate and create. In this talk, danah boyd — Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and affiliate of the Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society — examines the different social media practices common among young adults, clarifying both the cultural logic behind these everyday practices, and the role of social media in academia.

She is introduced by Judy Singer, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity at Harvard University, and John Palfrey, Faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.



Alice Marwick on Celebrity, Publicity and Self-Branding in Web 2.0

Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, Mar 31, 2011



In the mid-2000s, journalists and businesspeople heralded “Web 2.0” technologies such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook as signs of a new participatory era that would democratize journalism, entertainment, and politics. But user status and popularity has become a primary use of social media, maintaining hierarchy rather than diminishing it. In this talk Alice Marwick — a postdoctoral researcher in social media at Microsoft Research New England and a research affiliate at the Berkman Center — examines interactions between social media and social life in the San Francisco “tech scene” to show that Web 2.0 has become a key aspect of social hierarchy in technologically mediated communities.



Mike Ananny on A Public Right to Hear and Press Freedom in an Age of Networked Journalism

Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, May 22, 2012



What does a public right to hear mean in networked environments and why does it matter? In this talk I’ll describe how a public right to hear has historically and implicitly underpinned the U.S. press’s claims to freedom and, more fundamentally, what we want democracy to be. I’ll trace how this right appears in contemporary news production, show how three networked press organizations have used Application Programming Interfaces to both depend upon and distance themselves from readers, and describe how my research program joins questions of free speech with media infrastructure design. I will argue that a contemporary public right to hear partly depends upon how the press’s technologies and practices mediate among networked actors who construct and contest what Bowker and Star (1999) call “boundary infrastructures.” It is by studying these technosocial, journalistic systems—powerful yet often invisible systems that I call “newsware”—that we might understand how a public right to hear emerges from networked, institutionally situated communication cultures like the online press.



Andres Monroy-Hernandez – A Monkey and a Stick Figure: Stories of Remixing and Social Creativity

CSCW 2012



The Scratch Online Community is a website where young people, primarily aged between eight and sixteen, create, share, and discuss video games and animations. Since the inception of the website four years ago, close to one million people have registered and more than two million projects have been shared. Users can play, download, and remix the source code of all uploaded projects; close to 30% of projects are remixes of other Scratch projects.

Act One: a Remixing Cascade We present the story of Jumping Monkey, a video game created by a teenager who shared it on the Scratch website. The game is simple and has received few views, but it triggered a cascade of remixes resulting in many complex versions made by others. The game first sparked the imagination of a fellow Scratch creator, who quickly made a remix by adding some simple mods to the game. He then went on to restructure the idea into a fully edged scrolling game, crediting the original as a necessary catalyst: “I’d never have started this if it wasn’t for her jumping monkey.”

His simple mods had even greater consequences. Another user adapted the technique into an innovative game, which in turn inspired another user to make another sophisticated remix that garnered more than 15,000 views and propelled 21 additional remixes. One simple project resulting in several complex ones. Examining remarkable stories such as this can allow greater insight into the spread of Internet memes and the dynamics of social media systems.

Act Two: a Grassroots Media Franchise We then look closely at Astro, a stick figure character that has emerged as a grassroots media franchise with hundreds of remixes. Astro animations, created by a user who goes by the same name, have inspired numerous fan clubs and galleries and more than 1,000 remixes. Most remixes are tweaks for personal customization, but many others take it further. One user utilized the original graphics of an Astro animation to create a template that invited others to remix and add their characters; this method is something we call crowd remixing. Many other participants animate the Astro character into creations of their own design, the iconic stick figure invoking projects on what it would be like to meet him. Akin to professional movie or TV producers, children on Scratch have created popular media franchises, building new cultural materials and inspiring many creative remixes.



Christo Sims

DML Summer Institute 2011



Christo is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley’s School of Information and a researcher for the Connected Learning Research Network: an initiative at the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at the University of California’s systemwide Humanities Research Institute.

His scholarship studies the intersection of youth cultures, digital media use, and the production of social inequalities. He’s currently working on his dissertation, an ethnography centered on the youth and families who attend an innovative New York City public middle school that celebrates digital media production and playing games as a way to “recruit” learning.


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