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Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

WeGov

The EU and I: How to Vote for an MEP If You Can't Keep Your Parties Straight

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 15 2014

Screenshot of euandi results

Next week Europeans will go to the polls to elect representatives to the European Parliament. Over the course of four days, the 28 members states combined will choose 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). To help them with their decision, voters can turn to the Voting Advice Application euandi. After responding to 28 policy statements, euandi lists the parties that align most closely with voters' values. VAAs have been shown to increase voter turn out on election day and to raise voter awareness about political issues, but statement selection can have an outsized effect on recommendations, leaving plenty of room for bias and inaccuracy.

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First POST: Oligarchs for a Little Less Corruption

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 21 2014

Sean Parker's plans to change US politics; the New York Times' front-pages mesh networking; the Pirate Times reviews the party's impact on the European Parliament; and much, much more. Read More

New Study Looks Under Hood of Boston's New Urban Mechanics

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, August 9 2013

Boston’s office of New Urban Mechanics is a model for other cities looking to provide more and better service with less cash. By taking advantage of mobile technologies, bridging long siloed departments, and engaging civic minded tech entrepreneurs and academics, the department, under the direction of Mayor Thomas Menino has had its hand in an array of projects in the past years, from figuring out how to repurpose 19th century fire boxes for the digital age, to testing online games to inform city planning. A list of projects doesn’t really get at what actually makes New Urban Mechanics tick but a new case study from Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society just might. Read More

The American Blogosphere: News and Politics, Technology, and the 'Love Cluster'

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, November 8 2011

In a blog post summarizing a presentation by Berkman Center for Internet and Society fellow Hal Roberts, Ethan Zuckerman describes how a new understanding of the blogosphere includes space for something Roberts calls the ... Read More

Middle Eastern Bloggers May Be Unprepared for Online Security Threats, Study Finds

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 2 2011

In the face of increasing threats to their safety and their ability to publish, bloggers in the Middle East don't have a firm grasp on how to protect themselves online, according to survey results released yesterday by ... Read More

From Mobs to Movements to Civil Society Orgs: What's Still Really Hard About Global Digital Activism

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, December 15 2010

A new Berkman Center report: "Political Change in the Digital Age: The Fragility and Promise of Online Organizing" Read More

Russian Blogs: Less Echo Chamber, More LiveJournal

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, October 22 2010

The Russian political blogosphere has developed into a rather different environment than its American counterpart has, at least. From a new Berkman Center working paper, part of a continuing two-year study: Read More

Google, Global Voices Join Forces to Fund Free Expression

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, January 5 2010

The landscape of global online activism is constantly changing, but one lesson shows signs of being rock solid. As savvy as activists get about using the Internet, governments are going to attempt, at least, to exert ... Read More

The Future of Political News? Ask the Cloud

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, March 11 2009

What happens when Ethan Zuckerman and Yochai Benkler put their giant brains together? Media Cloud, it seems. The new project from the Berkman Center aims to inject some actual data at the the "Is the Internet ... Read More