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Berkman Buzz: April 20, 2012

April 20, 2012

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Samuel Klein hacks education with Hewlett's OER grantees

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On Friday I helped plan and run a Hack Day after the traditional meeting ended, something new for this sort of gathering. It was great fun, and refreshing after a few days of simply talking to move one or two ideas closer to realization. I wish most of every conference were like this, since we still managed to get in our share of discussion, presentation, show & tell, and otherwise sharing inspiration. Thanks to the Berkman team for their creativity in the organization, and to the organizers for inviting me to take part. Open education is an idea ready for global adoption, and one we should pursue mindfully, in norm and nuance, as a society.

From Samuel Klein's blog post, "Hacking education with Hewlett's OER grantees"
About Samuel Klein | @metasj

Herdict explores Iran's rumored "Halal" Internet

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On Monday, April 9, a story about Iran disconnecting its citizens from the global Internet began to quickly circulate through blogs and news outlets. The story spread quickly throughout the day, helped along by Twitter. (We were not immune ourselves!) Just a day later, however, Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported that Iran’s Ministry of Communication and Internet Technology denied the story, calling it nothing more than a hoax perpetuated by “the propaganda wing of the West.”

If this was a hoax, why was it so effective? There were two reasons. First, numerous respected news organizations (particularly AFP) perpetuated the story, and their endorsements gave the story veneer of truth. Second, the story fit within an expected narrative about Iran.

From Alex Meriwether's blog post for Herdict, "Internet Responds to Iran’s Rumored 'Halal' Intranet"
About Herdict | @herdict

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As a society, we constantly lament that people are more lonely today than ever before. This complaint is not new: http://slate.me/IBxw5o
danah boyd (@zephoria)

Zeynep Tufekci refutes the Facebook/loneliness myth

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There is yet another article, this time in the Atlantic, asking the question “Does Facebook cause loneliness?” Like many articles on this topic, it ignores an enormous amount of data which –at a minimum- says, nope. (In fact, the main empirical article cited in the paper also says no). Research by many people (most importantly Keith Hampton) show again and again that Internet/Facebook users are less isolated than people who don’t use social media. Yes, there are complicated interaction effects but the simplest empirical answer to the simple form of the question is … no. By most standards of reasonable evidence, the answer is pretty much out there (even if ignored by most articles on the topic).

From Zeynep Tufekci's blog post, "Does Facebook Cause Loneliness? Short answer, No. Why Are We Discussing this? Long Answer Below."
About Zeynep Tufekci | @techsoc

Ethan Zuckerman explores tweetbombing and the ethics of attention

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We might think of the tweets to Barack Obama as a form of lobbying – a way of showing a public figure your opinion on a topic. The tweets to Oprah or Justin Bieber are a little different – they’re a request for attention philanthropy. Oprah has over 10 million followers – a tweet from her is a contribution of sorts. When she tweets about KONY2012, some percentage of her followers will watch the video, and some percent will join Invisible Children, buy an action kit or otherwise support the movement.

From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post, "The tweetbomb and the ethics of attention"
About Ethan Zuckerman | @ethanz

Justin Reich helps students decode Kony 2012

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Yesterday I was on Radio Boston, a news show produced by WBUR, talking about education, social media, media literacy and Kony 2012. My main point is that the Kony campaign is incredibly persuasive not just as a video but as a powerful narrative situated in a hyperlinked environment with very accessible opportunities for action.The sophistication of the campaign raises the bar for the kinds of Media Literacy skills that students need.

From Justin Reich's post on Education Week, "Helping Students Decode Kony 2012"
About Justin Reich | @bjfr

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Excellent defense of an open Internet from @neeliekroesEU, VP of the European Commission http://t.co/Wndcet8x
David Weinberger (@dweinberger)

Spain: The King and the Elephants

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On April 14, 2012, Spain's King Juan Carlos underwent an operation due to a hip fracture following a fall that he suffered when he was in Botswana, Africa, hunting elephants [es]. The Royal Family reported the incident when the king had already successfully gone through the operation and was resting in the Intensive Care Unit of USP San José Hospital.

The news — which spread immediately on the Internet — seems to be taken out of old stories, in which royalty were happy and went to hunt elephants while, in their kingdom, their subjects were content and dedicated to their common citizen tasks. It turns out, however, that in the 21st century, circumstances are different. The king still exists and he hunts elephants in Botswana, but instead, his citizens suffer social cuts unprecedented in democratic history due to the financial crisis, and there are more than 5 million people unemployed, with a rate of youth unemployment that exceeds 50%.

From Chris Moya's blog post for Global Voices, "Spain: The King and the Elephants"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated April 20, 2012