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Berkman Buzz: Weeks of October 4 & 11, 2010

October 15, 2010

BERKMAN BUZZ: A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations
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What's being discussed...take your pick or browse below.

* Joseph Reagle reads his readers.
* David Weinberger untwists Gladwell's "Small Change."
* Sasha Costanza-Chock situates the horizontalism before the ICTs.
* Ethan Zuckerman hums 'it's a small world' with Duncan Watts.
* Doc Searls, "Keeping relationships humanized."
* Radio Berkman 165: Zittrain & Lessig TAKE ON...Net Neutrality!
* ONI reviews Libya's disabling of vb.ly.
* Herdict: "Tajikistan Government Blocks Three News Sites"
* Jonathan Zittrain thinks about malware and the Net's ground beef.
* StopBadware.org envisions a vast shared pool of malware data.
* Brad Abruzzi blogs Jim Bessen asking "Is technological innovation on the Web different?"
* John Palfrey replays the book, Born Digital.
* Weekly Global Voices: "China: More reactions to a first Nobel Prize"

Special note: The Berkman Center is now accepting applications for fellowships for the 2011-2012 academic year.

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The full buzz.

"...it is interesting to be speaking to people about the book, particularly when they assume that I am necessarily optimistic about technology and am willing to make universalizing claims or predictions about the future. As I responded in the excellent OpenSource interview, lessons can be learned but there is no wiki pixie dust. Wikipedia was interesting to me not because it is the new normal, but because it was a surprising attempt to counter the old normal of Godwin's law. I suspect this is why I found myself in sympathy with Gladwell's recent "why the revolution will not be tweeted" article and gob smocked by Negroponte's claim that the physical book will be dead in five years (based on Amazon reporting that Kindle versions are now outselling hard cover versions)."
? From Joseph Reagle's post Staeiou's Review and Technological Optimism

"Likewise, I venture that few believe that Facebook or Twitter on their own are going to bring about revolutionary political change. But that doesn’t mean that political change is unaffected by them. As the Tea Party looks like it’s rolling to victory in 2010, try to imagine that it could exist much less succeed without social media. It also needed money from Big Interests, the attention of mainstream media, and non-Net communication channels. But, who is arguing otherwise? The ecology has changed."
From David Weinberger's blog post Gladwell discovers it takes more than 140 characters to overturn a government

"However, Gladwell fails to understand that social media are actually mostly used to extend and maintain f2f relationships over time and space. So there’s actually no contradiction between the position that strong personal (f2f) relationships are key to social movements, and the idea that social media are now important tools for movement activity. To me it’s more of a problem that he conflates strong ties with vertical organizational structure, and thus ends up arguing that real social movements require strong, military style hierarchy. This also leads him into the tired claim that we don’t see movements like back in the good old days… because everyone is too busy with their armchair activism on SNS."
From Sasha Costanza-Chock's blog post Do Tweets the Revolution make?

"I suspect that small world networks are important, though, in helping us decide what news is important to us. If you have a personal connection to Haiti – a Haitian friend, someone who’s traveled to the country – the story may be one you followed more closely that stories about other natural disasters. If you chose to get active in providing support to people affected by the Haitian quake, your involvement may have inspired friends to pay closer attention to the situation and, perhaps, to get involved themselves. And your attention to a story sends a signal to news outlets (professional and amateur) that this is a topic of interest that they should cover."
?From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post Shortcuts in the social graph

"Making relationships work has always been both the foundation and the frontier of business. Ideally, technology should help relationships. And to some degree it does. Telephony and other “social” technologies certainly do help us stay in touch. But there are many other technologies, and uses — including some in the “social” space — that prevent or pervert relationships."
?From Doc Searls' blog post Keeping relationship humanized

This week, Radio Berkman rolls out the second episode in a new, special series of conversations between Professor Lessig and Professor Zittrain. The first conversation in the series addressed technology competition, and, this week, the topic is especially thorny and contentious: network neutrality.
Radio Berkman 165: Zittrain & Lessig TAKE ON...Net Neutrality!
More episodes of Radio Berkman

"NIC.ly states that URLs shorter than four letters will now be available only to organizations within Libya. But for now, other URL shortener sites like bit.ly appear safe. (Interestingly enough, HuffPo Technology Editor Bianca Bosker mentions that the domain fuk.ly remains accessible.) But the abrupt action of Lybian authorities raises a question that affects a huge number of Twitter and Web 2.0 users. Will other American competitors in the business of URL shortening will find their fates under the discretion of a country on the other side of the world?"
?From Qichen Zhang's blog post for ONI, Sex-Positive vb.ly Taken Down by Libyan Domain Provider

"So far, Herdict’s profile on Tajikistan has not received any inaccessibility reports on the three news sites. However, news sources indicate that the government just took them down today. This is not the first time that the Tajikistani government has exercised authoritarian control over the Internet. In 2006, the Tajik Agency for the Regulation of Communications shut down ferghana.ru right before the presidential election. With a history of censorship, followers of the continuing violence remain watchful of the government’s attitude toward other sites that are still accessible within Tajikistan."
From the Herdict blog post Tajikistan Government Blocks Three News Sites

"In fact, given its popularity as an ad server network, your computer probably visits doubleclick.net more than most any other site — even though you’ve likely never asked to go there yourself in your Web surfing. Doubleclick in turn gets the ads it runs from its customers: companies who want to sell you something or otherwise try to get to you click on their ads. So: visiting one site actually means you’re visiting a third party site, which in turn is getting information from fourth parties. Even the most careful site can thus become host to malware..."
? From Jonathan Zittrain's blog post Shouting fire in a crowded Twitter

"When StopBadware started the Badware Website Clearinghouse a few years ago, we envisioned creating a system much like Grimes describes: a shared pool of known badware URLs, updated frequently. We even took it a step further, establishing clear guidelines for badware, and building in mechanisms for transparency (you can search on our website to find out if a URL has been reported as bad, and by whom) and "due process" (our independent review process allows site owners to request manual investigation if they believe a URL is reported in error). So, what happened?"
From Maxim Weinstein's blogpost for StopBadware.org, Sowing the Seeds - What Next?

"To be sure, Jim says, the Web enables a whole new level of collaboration (take, for example, open-source software). Digital media and the Internet reduce the cost of communication, with the result that you can cheaply and easily “pool knowledge” all across the globe. The conventional wisdom is that Internet collaboration has triggered a “revolution of innovation.” Jim isn’t convinced, and he urges us not to buy into the hype, which is in large part predicated on mythologies of pre-digital innovation..."
From Brad Abruzzi's blog post for Web Exceptionalism, Jim Bessen — "Is technological innovation on the Web different?" (Oct. 5, 2010)

"The purpose of this project is in part to push the boundaries of what a “book” is in the digital age. I love the traditional codex and all that’s followed on from the original idea. But I think also that there’s room for new designs for long-form arguments that make a series of complex, interrelated points and which require sustained attention to understand. I’m convinced that the traditional book will survive, but I think it’s also important that we experiment with new formats as well."
From John Palfrey's blog post Born Digital: The Video Version

"Pending his acceptance speech, discussion around China's first Nobel laureate, Liu Xiaobo, has ranged from his nomination and the censorship which followed his win, his writings, suitability, the talking points against him, his detractors, how many people know who Liu is, if any, the subsequent house arrest of his wife, and whether, if an award for Liu is an award for moderate progress in China, who might have made a better candidate. A number of related quotes collected from popular Chinese social network website Renren can be found here. From the blogs..."
?From John Kennedy's blog post for Global Voices, China: More reactions to a first Nobel Prize

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The weekly Berkman Buzz is selected from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects -- http://cyber.harvard.edu/planet/current/ -- and sometimes from the Center's wider network -- http://cyber.harvard.edu/planet/network/

Suggestions and feedback about the Buzz are always welcome and can be emailed to syoung@cyber.harvard.edu

Last updated

October 15, 2010