Berkman Buzz: May 9, 2014

May 9, 2014

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Judith Donath explores the importance of online alter egos


Online, I use my real name for many things. But sometimes, I prefer to use a pseudonym. Not because I want to anonymously harass people or post incendiary comments unscathed; no, I simply want to manage the impression I make, while still participating in diverse conversations and communities.

“Hold on!” some of you are saying. “Writing under a fake name is a form of lying. It’s cowardly and the tactic of bullies and trolls. We need to make people use their real names online to ensure civility and trust.” Indeed, whenever a new controversy about cyberbullying or anonymous rumors arises, a frequently offered “solution” is to ban anonymous comments and insist that people use real names. But this approach focuses on the wrong issue and creates a false dichotomy, presenting the choices as either fully identified, real names or untraceable anonymity.

From Judith Donath's post for Wired, "We Need Online Alter Egos Now More Than Ever"
About Judith | @judithd

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An intense piece by @Zeynep about #Bringbackourgirls & the politics of attention:
danah boyd (@zephoria)

Sonia Livingstone gives a TEDx talk on how children engage with the Internet


It's hard not to fear for our children when we see headlines about Facebook bullies and online blackmail. But Sonia Livingstone argues that we need to balance our reactions, and not necessarily impose more restrictions.

From YouTube, "How Children Engage with the Internet | Sonia Livingstone | TEDxExeter"
About Sonia | @Livingstone_S

Barbara van Schewick explains why net neutrality matters

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The Internet uproar about network neutrality tends to come in waves. Right now we’re riding the crest of one.

In the two weeks since Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal for new net neutrality rules became public, the Internet has erupted in protest. His proposal attempts to fill the legal vacuum created by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which in January struck down the core provisions of the FCC’s Open Internet Rules—the rules against blocking, discrimination and access fees.

The uproar took many policymakers in D.C. by surprise. It shouldn’t have. “Network neutrality” has long been a rallying cry in the United States.

From Barbara van Schewick's post in The Atlantic, "The Case for Rebooting the Network Neutrality Debate"
About Barbara | @vanschewick

Sara Watson examines progress and panic

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Amy Johnson and I ran a Berkman fellows hour on progress narratives and moral panics this week and I thought it was worth writing up for posterity here. This all stems from the thinking I’ve been doing on how we talk about technology. This is also inspired by spending time this year with the History of Technology and STS (In addition to being a Berkman fellow, Amy is actually in the HASTS program at MIT, I just like to pretend by auditing).

Our set up discussed these panics and progress concepts as narrative devices and linguistic structures for discourse, so we didn’t get too far into the topics they often get employed to talk about (i.e. should we actually be worried about some of these subjects of moral panics?). Don’t worry, we tried to keep the postmodernism to a minimum.

From Sara Watson's blog post, "Progress & Panic"
About Sara | @smwat

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Amazon's patent for taking photos against white background shows US Patent Office's staggering incompetence Gillmor (@dangillmor)

Jamaica: Let's Get Together and Feel...Miserable?

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A country ranking by The Cato Institute based on the misery index has listed Jamaica, the land where everything is "irie", as the 5th most miserable country in the world. The ranking has spurred discussion on social media: many netizens were not surprised, while others – even while acknowledging that Jamaica has many problems – expressed scepticism.

From Matthew Hunte's post for Global Voices, "Jamaica: Let's Get Together and Feel...Miserable?"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated

May 9, 2014