Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan Zuckerman
Ethan Zuckerman
  • Born: January 4, 1973
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Media Scholar

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Ethan Zuckerman is an American media scholar, blogger, and Internet activist. He is the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media, Associate Professor of the Practice in Media Arts and Sciences at MIT and the author of the book Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection, which won the Zócalo Book Prize.

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Had you asked an expert on the Middle East what changes would be likely to tke place in 2011, almost none would have predicted the Arab Spring and none would have chosen Tunisia as the flashpoint. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
A common language is a first step towards communication across cultural boundaries.
A world where everyone creates content gets confusing pretty quickly without a good search engine.
Creativity is an import-export business. Business, Commerce & Finance
Curators are great, but they're inherently biased. Curators are always making an editorial decision. Those biases have really big implications.
Engineering serendipity is this idea that we can help people come across unexpected but helpful connections at a better than random rate. And in some ways it's based on trying to reassess this notion of serendipitous as lucky - to think of serendipitous as smart.
For countries such as Kenya to emerge as economic powerhouses, they need better infrastructure: roads, ports, smart grids and power plants. Infrastructure is expensive, and takes a long time to build. In the meantime, hackers are building 'grassroots infrastructure,' using the mobile-phone system to build solutions that are ready for market. Time ;Power
Google doesn't really forget.
I can imagine Iceland becoming a good place to run a controversial Web site. But... Iceland may find itself forced to defend controversial speech.
I can read a lot of French newspapers with Google Translate and have them read quite comfortably.
I study the ways new media shapes people's perceptions of the world.
If I use Facebook to stay in touch with my high school friends who are church-going Republicans, I may be getting more ideological diversity than in hanging out with secular progressives on the World Politics sub-reddit. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If we need simple narratives so people can amplify and spread them, are we forced to engage only with the simplest of problems?
Increasingly, I'm inspired by entrepreneurs who run nonprofit organizations that fund themselves, or for-profit organizations that achieve social missions while turning a profit.
It's become relatively commonplace to find corners of Africa that have good cell coverage but no electrical power. Power
It's fine to have social media that connects us with old friends, but we need tools that help us discover new people as well.
It's my fond hope that social networks such as Facebook will help users broaden their perspectives by listening to a different set of people than they encounter in their daily life. But I fear services such as Facebook may be turning us into imaginary cosmopolitans. Life ;Hope
Moments of crisis, like the shooting in Newtown, tend to produce brief spikes of popular interest in gun control. My research on media attention suggests these spikes are extremely short-lived, and that they may be decreasing in intensity.
Now if you're using Twitter or other social networks, and you didn't realize this was a space with a lot of Brazilians in it, you're like most of us. Because what happens on a social network is you interact with the people that you have chosen to interact with.
On the Internet, information from Indiana and India is equally cheap and easy to access.
On Twitter, if you want to quote someone else, you say, 'RT, re-tweet, that person's name, and then what they said before.' And it's a way of essentially saying, 'I'm not saying this, but my friend said this and I thought this was interesting.'
People generally pay attention to what they already know about and what they care about.
People want to be thought of as something other than a source of money. They want to be thought of as creative, thinking people. Money, Coins & Minting
Reading the text of my blog itself is not really the interesting part. The exciting part is how the Internet allows me to be the eyes and ears for the people sending me postings from Africa.
Reddit names are unconnected to real-world identities and it's commonplace for users to create 'throwaway' accounts to reveal sensitive information.
Reddit, which calls itself 'The Front Page of the Internet,' is more influential in shaping Internet culture than its comparatively small reach would lead you to believe.
Re-tweeting is a pretty common practice on Twitter, but on an average day, we see maybe one out of 20 posts is a re-tweet.
Sometimes you need the things you didn't know you needed to know.
Talking about 'stopping globalization' is unrealistic - and probably not what anti-globalization protesters actually want.
Teenagers try to hide what's really going on in their communication online.
The benefits and consequences of globalization have a great deal to do with whether we're intelligent and thoughtful about how we approach globalization, or whether we're blindly accepting... or blindly resistant.
The Internet challenges traditional ways of distributing and processing information and so encourages new standards and behavior.
The Internet has become a bunch of interlinked but linguistically distinct and culturally specific spaces. There's some interface between them, but there's a lot less than there was years back when we were sort of pretending that this was one great global space.
The Internet has not become the great leveller that it was once thought it could be.
The term 'cyberutopian' tends to be used only in the context of critique. Calling someone a cyberutopian implies that he or she has an unrealistic and naively overinflated sense of what technology makes possible and an insufficient understanding of the forces that govern societies. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The U.S. media have done a shameful job of reporting on the Arab world.
The uptake on mobile phones in Africa is phenomenal.
The wider world is a click away, but whether we mean to or not, we're usually filtering it out.
There's no locality on the web - every market is a global market.
When I was growing up in the U.S. in the 1970s, 35-40% of an average nightly newscast focused on international stories.
When you look at the 'New York Times,' you look at other elite media, what you largely get are pictures of very wealthy nations and the nations we've invaded.
When you sign up for Facebook, the service first searches for any mentions of your name and suggests you befriend anyone who has mentioned you in their posts. It then asks to access your e-mail account so you can connect with anyone with whom you regularly correspond.
Wikipedia is a victory of process over substance.
You can make the case that slacktivism is important because it makes people feel affiliated to a movement and be part of it, and talk about it.