Social Media and Behavioral Economics Conference; Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana; Kony2012

February 6, 2013
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Upcoming Events / Digital Media
February 6th, 2013

Remember to load images if you have trouble seeing parts of this email. Or click here to view the web version of this newsletter. Below you will find upcoming Berkman Center events, interesting digital media we have produced, and other events of note.

The Berkman Center is now accepting applications for its 2013 summer internship program. More information is available here.
special HLS event

Live Webcast Today! Social Media and Behavioral Economics Conference

Wednesday, February 6, 9am-1pm ET, Harvard Law School. This event will be webcast live.


Scholars from across Harvard University will join social media experts from Facebook, Twitter, Socialflow and Yahoo Research, as well as leaders from Johns Hopkins and Opower, for discussions on social media, theory and practice, as well as its potential effects on voting behavior, electricity consumption and pro-social behavior. There will also be discussion on privacy and regulation. This event will feature participation by Berkmaniacs including Yochai Benkler, Jonathan Zittrain, Alex Macgillivray, and many more. RSVP Required. more information on the HLS website>

berkman luncheon series

Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana

Tuesday, February 12, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


Ghana, a small country on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, is the size of Oregon. Its entire population is only double that of New York City. Yet what is unfolding there, I argue, matters to the future of the Internet. New users are increasingly connecting from the margins of the global economy. This includes Ghanaian youth connecting from Accra’s numerous urban Internet cafes. The new global diversity online offers a more rigorous check on the ideals associated with the Internet in early cyber-utopian discourses. These ideals linked the novel material properties of the technology to new possibilities for greater equality, openness, and freedom. I draw from a 6-year period of ethnographic research (2004-2010) on youth in Accra’s Internet cafes, where the primary activity was cultivating relationships with foreigners in chat rooms and dating sites as these users sought to enact a more cosmopolitan self. In particular, I will discuss network security practices in the West that have, in many instances, led to overreaching measures, such as country-wide IP address blocking to handle scamming activities originating from the West Africa region (i.e. the famous Nigerian 419 e-mail scams). In this discussion we may consider how network security and network administration are shaped not simply by an impersonal technical logic or even commercial interests, but also by cultural biases and parochialism that violate, perhaps unwittingly, these early ideals of the Internet. Jenna Burrell is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley. Her first book Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana (The MIT Press) came out in May 2012. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

The Next 27 Minutes Are An Experiment: Thoughts On The Fallout from Kony 2012

Tuesday, February 19, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


On March 5th, 2012, the American nonprofit, Invisible Children, published a video called "Kony 2012" on the social video-sharing network, Youtube. Within six days, the video was dubbed the “most viral video in history,” beating out pop artists Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Beyonce’s music videos in how quickly it hit 100 million views. Much has been written on the Kony 2012 phenomenon by journalists, bloggers and academics. My aim in this talk is to only briefly summarize their thoughts and my own on the successes and failures of the initial Kony 2012 campaign, but then, more importantly, to explore the way in which Invisible Children has responded to criticism and adapted its messaging, and to ask what lessons can be learned by the human rights advocacy community from Kony 2012 and Invisible Children's subsequent actions. Ruha Devanesan is the Executive Director of the Internet Bar Organization, a nonprofit organization working to improve access to justice through technology through applied research in the fields of Online Dispute Resolution, mobile technology for dispute resolution, ICT4D, ICT4Peace and digital-economic inclusion for individuals in emerging economies. RSVP Required. more information on our website>


Is School Enough? A screening & conversation about youth and informal learning with digital media.


While policy-makers and educational experts try to determine the best “system” for delivering a world-class education to tens of millions of students across the country, many young people are finding their own ways of expressing themselves, pursuing interests, and participating in communities that are both on and offline. Largely unmediated by school and teachers, these young people, without really being aware of it, are connecting how they learn with what they care most about. Too commonly, young people are asked to solve problems in the classroom that have no relationship to the real world or relevance to their lives. Memorization and the measurement of what we know is the final basis for evaluating a students’ success; moreover, it’s the final evaluation of a teacher’s success as well. But in what ways do we ask our students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to something that’s happening in the world outside of it? Stephen Brown, Sierra Goldstein, Urs Gasser, Sandra Cortesi, Rey Junco, and Eric Gordon participate in a roundtable discussion. video/audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

Events that may be of interest to the Berkman community:

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Last updated

February 6, 2013