What Was Ephemeral is Now Permanent: Our Lives in Digital

June 10, 2011
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Ethan Zuckerman, writing today in his blog about privacy and the public sphere, states that in the digital world, “Ephemeral behavior becomes a permanent record.”  This simple statement gets to the heart of many of the issues we are facing as technology becomes a ubiquitous and permanent part of the fabric of our lives.   What […]

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Your Friends on Facebook: Building Social Capital

May 20, 2011
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Social Capital is good stuff.  The term, widely popularized by Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone, refers to the resources we garner from our networks of friends, families, neighbors and acquaintances.  Like other forms of capital, this resource can be invested and grown or it can be neglected and lost.  Those of us who are rich […]

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Facebook and Personality Types: Two New Studies

May 13, 2011

With more than 600 million users worldwide, Facebook is having a marked effect on our social interactions and sense of self.  It is no surprise that academics are rushing to understand this impact.  Two recent studies look at the way various personality types impact Facebook use.  This is a rich vein of inquiry, as it […]

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Osama and the Problem of the Picture: When More is Less

May 6, 2011

We live in a post-modern age. By this I mean we live in a time when all the seemingly “objective” truths have been dismantled to be replaced by billions of radically subjective selves, each of whom are responsible for creating their own truths, their own authenticity, their own moral compass. Not only is this very […]

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More Big Data: What Has Truth Got To Do With It?

May 4, 2011

There is a debate in the Big Data world that hinges on the old conundrum – how can we know what we don’t know?  It sounds a bit trite at first blush, but in fact, it is a very hard problem.  When faced with massive data sets, which our guts tell us house veins of […]

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Big Data 101: Should We Be Worried?

April 22, 2011

Big Data makes some people breathless.  And it makes others shiver.  What both sides share is the understanding that Big Data is going to make a big difference, in all of our lives.  Whether that difference serves the social good or not remains to be seen. Big Data is the information produced by our on-line […]

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The Innovation Paradox: Our Hopes and Fears

April 13, 2011

Innovation is the lifeblood not only of much of our economic and personal well-being, but of our forward motion as a species.  Our capacity to grow and change is what makes us adaptive, what enables us to survive and thrive on a planet that is not always hospitable to our needs.  The human drive to […]

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10 Principles to Govern the Internet

April 8, 2011

The following principles were recently released by the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition, an international coalition of stakeholders participating in the Internet Governance Forum, a group within the United Nations. What do you think? Universality All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights, which must respected, protected, and fulfilled in the online […]

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Online Privacy: We are Far From Ready

March 25, 2011

“People aren’t ready for the technology revolution that’s going to happen to them.” Eric Schmidt, Chairman, Google Did you know that when you visit a page with a Facebook “like” button while you are logged into Facebook, the social network is able to track your browsing history?  I have to admit, this one took me […]

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Income Inequality, Anxiety and Facebook

March 13, 2011

We have all heard the bad news.  Income inequality in the US has reached historic proportions. ♦   The top 10% of Americans now control 2/3rds of our national net worth ♦  Since 1983, 43% of the wealth created by the U.S. economy went to the wealthiest 1% ♦  The top 20% accrued 94% of the […]

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Clinton, Internet Freedom and the Russian Response

March 3, 2011

The response to Clinton’s Internet Freedom speech has been less than enthusiastic abroad.  Gregory Asmolov, a grad student at GW focusing on social media, recently posted a great overview at Global Voices about the reaction to the speech in the Russian blogosphere.  In sum – it was hardly happy.  The overall tone implies that the […]

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Teens, Tech and Politics

February 27, 2011

We know teens are on-line. A lot.  I see it with my own kids – texting, gaming, facebooking — often all while doing homework and/or watching TV.  Two new studies out last week examine the impact of all this activity on two important issues – civic and political engagement and exposure to diverse perspectives.  The […]

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Blood, Sweat and the Watson Effect

February 21, 2011

We are an insecure species.  The better computers get at what they do, the worse it seems to make us feel about ourselves with our soft, vulnerable bodies and our imperfect minds.  Human vulnerability and the desire to transcend it are deep in the fiber of who we are.  It is what drives us to […]

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Hillary Clinton, Internet Freedom and Values

February 16, 2011

Hillary Clinton’s speech on Internet Freedom yesterday went a good distance toward addressing some of the most naive responses to the Internet’s role in the unfolding events in the Middle East.  Early sound bites labeling the uprising in Tunisia the “Wikileaks Revolution” or calling Mark Zuckerberg a modern-day “Moses” because of Facebook’s role in Egypt […]

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Visualizing the Influence of Egyptian Bloggers

February 16, 2011

Courtesy of Curt Hopkins at ReadWrite Web, a very cool visualization of bloggers in Egypt. You can see a hi res pdf here — egyptinfluencenetwork. I am not quite sure what it means, but it is interesting to explore.

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Diversity and Social Media: Helping or Hurting?

February 13, 2011

There is a small controversy raging about whether social media use is creating more diverse networks or exacerbating an existing trend toward smaller, more homogenous social groups.  This question matters.  A lot.   Robert Putnam (of Bowling Alone fame), following a lineage that dates back to de Tocqueville, argues that engagement with diverse social networks fosters […]

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Pennies from Heaven: An Economist and a Marketing Strategist Discuss Porter on Shared Value

February 6, 2011

Michael Porter and Mark Kramer’s article, Creating Shared Value, is intended to throw down a gauntlet for a more a socially-conscious form of capitalism.  “Capitalism is under siege” they proclaim, harmed by decades of practices and policies focused on short-term profits.  Guided by laissez-faire economic ideology, businesses have elected to ignore externalities that harm society, […]

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Diversity 2.0 — A Hidden Factor in Performance Outcomes?

February 2, 2011

Last month, McKinsey came out with a research report by Jacques Bughin and Michael Chui that shows that companies with the most pervasive use of Web 2.0 technologies are winning market share and gaining higher margins.  (The rise of the networked enterprise:  Web 2.0 finds its payday)  Also recently released is new research by Keith […]

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Monetizing Berkeley

January 25, 2011

Last night Berkeleyside, Berkeley’s independent local news site, hosted its first Berkeley Business Forum.  Why?   Berkeley has for years presented a conundrum.  We are home to one of the leading research institutions in the world and yet have not spawned our version of Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle, Kendall Square.  Why do all the good […]

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The Internet of Things — IoT

January 18, 2011

A number of years ago, I found an obscure article tucked away in a corner of the MIT website called The Internet of Objects.  I tucked it away in my “research” folder, the place I stash things that seem important but I am not sure exactly what to do with them.  It was circa 1999. […]

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