Upcoming Events: Chinese Youth and Social Media (2/18); Disclosure Policies and Open Innovation (3/4); US Launch of *impossible*

February 12, 2014
Berkman Events Newsletter Template
Upcoming Events / Digital Media
February 12th, 2014

The deadline for the Berkman Center 2014 summer internship program is February 16. Apply now!

berkman luncheon series

Talking to Strangers: Chinese Youth and Social Media

Tuesday, February 18, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


When we read about the Chinese internet in the Western press, we usually hear stories about censorship, political repression, and instability. But there's a lot more to be learned about life on the other side of “The Great Firewall.” Based on over 10 years of ethnographic research, Tricia Wang's fieldwork reveals that social media is creating spaces in China that are shifting norms and behaviors in unexpected ways. Most surprisingly, Chinese youth are sharing information and socializing with strangers. She argues that they are finding ways to semi-anonymously connect to each other and establish a web of casual trust that extends beyond particularistic guanxi ties and authoritarian institutions. Chinese youth are discovering their social world and seeking emotional connection—not political change. Tricia argues that this reflects a new form of sociality among Chinese youth: an Elastic Self. Evidence of this new self is unfolding in three ways: from self-restraint to self-expression, from comradeship to friendship, and from a “moral me” to a “moral we.” This new sociality is lying the groundwork for a public sphere to emerge from ties primarily based on friendship and interactions founded on a causal web of public trust. The changes Tricia has documented have potentially transformative power for Chinese society as a whole because they are radically altering the way that people perceive and engage with each other.

Tricia Wang is a global tech ethnographer transforming businesses into people-centered organizations. Utilizing Digital Age design research methods, Tricia specializes in balancing qualitative and quantitative data analysis for institutions to fulfill their strategic goals. She advises organizations (large and small) on how to understand their "users" or "consumers" as people, not just datasets. She’s passionate about her work as a people champion in companies, start-ups, and non-profits. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Nokia and GE and numerous institutions from the UN to NASA. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

How Disclosure Policies Impact Search in Open Innovation

Tuesday, March 4, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


Most of society’s innovation systems–academic science, the patent system, open source, etc.–are “open” in the sense they are designed to facilitate knowledge disclosures amongst innovators. An essential difference across innovation systems, however, is whether disclosures take place only after final innovations are completed or whether disclosures relate to intermediate solutions and advances. Karim Lakhani will present experimental evidence showing that implementing intermediate versus final disclosures does not just create quantitative tradeoffs in shaping the rate of innovation. Rather, it qualitatively transforms the very nature of the innovation search process. Intermediate disclosures have the advantage of efficiently steering development towards improving existing solutions, but curtails experimentation and wider search. He will discuss comparative advantages of systems implementing intermediate versus final disclosures.

Karim R. Lakhani is the Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and the Principal Investigator of the Harvard-NASA Tournament Lab at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

special event

US Launch of *impossible*

Wednesday, March 5, 6:30pm ET, Harvard Law School. Free and Open to the Public.


Since September, the public has been experimenting with an app that relies on the goodness of humankind. Called *impossible*, it leverages the idea of a gift economy through social media to grant wishes. Users interact by posting wishes—such as a desire to learn Spanish or to find a jogging buddy—and other *impossible* users who can grant those wishes based on skills and proximity connect to grant the wish.

On March 5, the Berkman Center will celebrate the US launch of *impossible*. Joining us will be Lily Cole, founder of *impossible* and fashion model, actress, and social entrepreneur, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Founder and CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation, Rosemary Leith, Berkman Center Fellow, Judith Donath, Berkman Center Fellow, Jonathan Zittrain, Director at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Professor at Harvard Law School, and moderator Urs Gasser, Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

In an interactive discussion, the group will discuss the feasibility of a social media platform that relies on themes related to human cooperation, reciprocity, and kindness. Read more about *impossible* and its origins in The Telegraph and Wired UK and of course, download it in the iTunes app store.

Lily Cole is a fashion model, actress and social entrepreneur; Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing; Rosemary Leith is a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, where she works with Berkman’s Internet Robustness team, and acts as a Director of Herdict; Judith Donath synthesizes knowledge from fields such as urban design, evolutionary biology and cognitive science to build innovative interfaces for on-line communities and virtual identities; and Jonathan Zittrain is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. RSVP Required. more information on our website>


Defending an Unowned Internet: Opportunities for Technology, Policy, and Corporations


In the wake of the disclosures about government surveillance and the rise of corporate-run applications and protocols, is the idea of an "unowned" Internet still a credible one? The Berkman Center's Jonathan Zittrain moderates a panel, including Yochai Benkler -- Harvard Law School -- Ebele Okobi -- Yahoo! -- Bruce Schneier -- CO3 Systems -- and Benjamin Wittes -- Brookings Institution -- to explore surveillance, and the potential for reforms in policy, technology, and corporate and consumer behavior. video/audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

Local, national, international, and online events that may be of interest to the Berkman community:

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Last updated

February 12, 2014