Power in Our Hands; Special Preview of Susan Crawford's New Book "Captive Audience"

December 05, 2012

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berkman luncheon series

Power in Our Hands

Tuesday, December 11, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.

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Armed with little more than a modest smartphone (mostly even ordinary phones) and an Internet subscription that will permit only a fair access to the mobile GPRS/EDGE, Nigerian young people went into the 2011 elections with a new wave of enthusiasm and interest. This was the fourth consecutive elections since the reemergence of democratic governance in 1999. And until then [2011], none of the previous elections received positive review in the aspect of credibility – or freeness, or fairness. Now, with the appointment of a new leadership and growing influence of technology in fostering more accountable processes, Nigerians optimistically anticipated a marked improvement in the April 2011 elections over past discredited experiences. It is even more significant that more attention were paid to the 2011 elections as it portended to be the most expensive electoral experience for Nigerians. A leadership change had recently been effected in a tensed political climate and the elections management body (EMB) had set a plan for the costliest elections ever. In light of the renewed hope and confidence, and the desire to get things right, several civil society organizations established election monitoring platforms via SMS, twitter, websites, blogs, facebook, telephone lines etc. One particular organization recruited volunteers and got itself embedded within the INEC systems to promote a “two-way communication between INEC and its stakeholders”. What evolved was a media-tracking centre established to assess the robust blend of traditional and new media during the election period. It was an interesting trend to see how social media, for the first time, was adopted and, quite interestingly, adapted, to ensure credibility of the electoral process. During this presentation, I intend to showcase the Nigeria experience, highlight what worked and what didn’t; specific instances of how social media interventions prevented rigging; how the elections has helped the growth of use of social media, the patterns of usage during and after the elections; and, how traditional media has adjusted to social media practice. I hope the audience will share their experiences and proffer recommendations to revamp the innovation for a more institutionalized adaptation in promoting good governance in Nigeria, as I continue to explore this in my present research work. Oluwaseun Odewale has degrees in Chemistry (Medicinal Chemistry) and Chemical Engineering Technology. Born in Lagos, South West Nigeria, he also holds professional training diplomas in Community Local Participation (UNICEF); International Elections Observation Missions (KAIPTC/ECOWAS); Mentoring Young Leaders under the Kwame Nkrumah emerging leaders training series, and; the African Contingency Operations and Training Assistance (ACOTA) (ECOWAS) among others. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

special preview!

Captive Audience: The Future of Information in America

Wednesday, December 12, 6:00pm ET, Wasserstein Hall Room 2012, Harvard Law School. Reception to follow.

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Join us to celebrate the release of Susan Crawford's Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age. Crawford uses the 2011 merger between Comcast and NBCU as a framework to explore how deregulatory changes in policy have created a communications crisis in America. From smartphones and television programming to the cost of high-speed Internet access, Captive Audience illustrates that in the Internet era, a very few companies control our information destiny. The consequences: Tens of millions of Americans are being left behind, people pay too much for too little Internet access, and speeds are slow. But everyday people can change this story - and what happens in the year ahead could change the game for good. Susan Crawford is the (Visiting) Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard’s Kennedy School, a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, a Professor at Cardozo Law School, author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age (Yale 2012) and regularly contributes to Bloomberg View and Wired. She served as Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy during 2009 and co-led the FCC transition team between the Bush and Obama administrations. Crawford is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where she leads the Institute's work on making high-speed Internet access a universal, affordable resource for all, and a member of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Advisory Council on Technology and Innovation. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

video/audio

Kyle Parry on Trees and Physical-Virtual Borderlands: metaLAB and the Arnold Arboretum

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Say the idea is to re-awaken our feelings for plants even at our hyper-networked speed — do we want digital tools to do the re-wiring or are we convinced their auto-brightness and push notifications divert us from the living, breathing nonhuman sensorium? Kyle Parry — a Researcher at metaLAB and a PhD student in Film and Visual Studies and Critical Media Practice at Harvard — initiates a conversation along these lines by way of a discussion of Digital Ecologies, metaLAB's work-in-progress collaboration with Harvard's Arnold Arboretum video/audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

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Last updated December 05, 2012