I’m Joining MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media!

I’m very excited to announce that I am joining The Center for Civic Media at MIT Media Lab this month! I’ll be working on a number of civic initiatives, including teaching people basic HTML and how to code a static website through The Web 1.0 Conference. I also hope to bring CyborgCamp to MIT Media Lab once more! I’m most excited to help with existing and future initiatives by members in the group.

About Civic Media

civic-media-logo-mit-media-lab The MIT Center for Civic Media works hand in hand with diverse communities to collaboratively create, design, deploy, and assess civic media tools and practices.

The group is a partnership between the MIT Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies at MIT. Together, they work to understand new ecosystems and to build tools and systems that help communities collect, share and act on information. Civic Media focuses on tools that can help amplify the voices of communities often excluded from the digital public sphere and connect them with new audiences, as well as on systems that help foster digital inclusion. You can read more at Civic Media’s home page.

The group is run by the fantastic and fascinating Ethan Zuckerman, who has been a tremendous inspiration and positive force behind a lot of my recent thoughts.

About the Media Lab

mit-media-lab Known around the world as a center for cutting-edge research, the Media Lab develops new technologies that will, sooner rather than later, be a part of our daily lives. A place where the future is lived, not imagined, the Lab blurs traditional boundaries between disciplines, designing technologies that empower people to express themselves and understand the world in new ways.

Lab researchers are dedicated to inventing a better future, creating machines and technologies that not only augment human capabilities, but also relate to people on more “human” terms. You can read more at http://media.mit.edu/.

What’s next?

mit-media-lab-logo I’m looking forward to doing much more in the Civic Media group in the year ahead, especially along the lines of the Web 1.0 Conference, a gathering that celebrates long lasting static websites and the ability to create them.

Thank you to everyone at Civic Media, especially Ethan, for their encouragement for joining this program. And thanks most of all to Willow Brugh, the person that encouraged me to apply to Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center and introduced me to Ethan Zuckerman two years ago when we brought CyborgCamp to MIT!

Calm Technology at the Center for Civic Media on May 12, 2016

I’ll be speaking at the MIT Center for Civic Media this May! The speech will be a lunch talk on Thursday May 12th, 2016. It will be in Building E15 room 334.


When and Where


About Civic Media

The Center for Civic Media is a joint effort between the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing program. It represents a group of diverse people and inventors of new technologies that support and foster civic media and political action. The center coordinates community-based design processes locally and internationally. More about MIT Center of Civic Media.


You can RSVP for the talk here! The talk is open to more than MIT students and lab members. Please RSVP 24 hours in advance to ensure you’ll be able to get lunch.

Photo of MIT Media Lab by the Knight Foundation.

MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3 – Session 3: Social Media


Moving lives online, creating conversations across geography, connecting with consumers – how is social media defining the current entertainment landscape? As people not only put more content online, but conduct more of their daily lives in networked spaces and via social networking sites, how are social media influencing how we think of audiences?

Video-sharing platforms have changed how we think of production and distribution, and Facebook gifts point to the value of virtual properties, how are these sites enabling other processes of production or distribution practices. Spaces where commercial and community purposes intertwine, what are the implications for privacy, content management, and identity construction of social media? How have they impacted notions of civic engagement?

Last October, I was invited to speak at MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3, an interdisciplinary thought leader event that brought together the academic and business worlds for two days of communication on the effects of the digital age on things like communication, business, news, and entertainment. The following is the video from my session on Social Media.

Thanks to Joshua Green for inviting me to speak at the conference. It was one of the highlights of 2008.

Panel Members:

Joe Marchese – President, SocialVibe.com

Joe Marchese is co-founder and President of SocialVibe, a service that effectively brings brands into social media by empowering people to interact with the brands and social causes of their choice. Series A funded by Redpoint Ventures, SocialVibe connects brands and people in social media, recognizing that individuals hold the key to attention and influence in social media. SocialVibe’s goal is empower its member community to team with brands to make a difference for the causes they care about; the service allows people to utilize their influence to enhance their social media experience and provides a way for brands to reward the people that support them with brand specific perks. Most importantly, SocialVibe empowers people to use their influence in social media to raise money for the causes they care about, by allowing people to direct the money they earn from the brands they support to the charitable cause of their choice.

Prior to SocialVibe, Marchese built and lead the online media strategy division at a boutique management consulting firm. Marchese developed and guided the group to provide Fortune 1000 clientele research and online strategy development focused on digital media. Before consulting, Marchese began his career as a business analyst for Monster Worldwide, the parent company of Monster.com. He is a well known thought leader in the social media and advertising industry, writing weekly for MediaPost publications. Joe has also keynoted various digital advertising and media summits including, OMMA, iMedia, Digital Hollywood, as well as having contributed to a number of national publications as an expert on new media, such as BusinessWeek, NY Post, Boston Globe.

Amber Case

Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and Social Media Consultant living in Portland, Oregon. She received her degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College this May with a thesis on “The Cell Phone and Its Technosocial sites of Engagement”. She uses her anthropological training to provide strategic intelligence to businesses and individuals. She is an active blogger on caseorganic.com and is currently researching how the psychology of space in the digital world affects relationships, business systems, and value creation online.

Sabrina Calouri – Director, Marketing and Promotions of HBO online

What Sabrina Caluori, a storyteller who has found a home in digital entertainment strategy, loves about the web is that it’s a logical extension to on-air plot development in an environment that encourages conversation. After two years as an Account Executive at a Los Angeles creative agency that specialized in the motion picture industry, she moved back to NYC and joined interactive agency, Deep Focus as the third employee. As Account Director she led digital marketing strategy for clients such as HBO, Picturehouse, Miramax and Court TV. Shepherding effective ideation sessions across multiple disciplines (media, creative and publicity) to a unified strategy led to award-winning work and happy clients.

In 2007, Sabrina joined HBO as part of the leadership team managing the enterprise-wide redesign of HBO.com. As Director of Marketing and Promotions she oversees consumer engagement including community and social media, sponsorship and research. In the spirit of giving back, Sabrina acts as a Pro Bono Account Director for the Taproot Foundation. Currently, she is overseeing the redesign of The Hetrick-Martin Institute’s website www.hmi.org. If community is about the intersection and exchange of human experience, then Sabrina believes that technology will continue to redefine the delivery and the shape of those exchanges, but never the substance.

Kyle Ford – Director of Product Marketing, Ning

Kyle Ford is the Director of Product Marketing at Ning, a service that lets anyone create their own social network in seconds. He has been with the company for nearly three years.

Prior to Ning, Ford was an Associate Product Manager at Yahoo! Movies and TV, and a Writer/Producer for new media at FOX Broadcasting Company, working on shows such as The X-Files, Firefly and Undeclared. He’s currently based in Los Angeles and blogs at houseofkyle.com.

Rhonda K. Lowry – Vice President, Social Media Technologies, Office of the CTO, Turner Broadcasting

Rhonda K. Lowry is Vice President, Social Media Technologies within the Office of the CTO for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (“TBS”) and has been with TBS for eight years. In this role, Rhonda provides thought leadership and strategic guidance toward emerging social media technologies and trends across the spectrum of social networking, blogging, online communities and virtual worlds, gaming, social collaboration and computing, and personal media. Ms. Lowry is based in Atlanta and reports to Scott Teissler, Chief Technology Officer. Prior to her current role, Ms. Lowry was Vice President within the New Products Group and led the development of key digital business initiatives including the development of Turner’s advertising widget. She led efforts in the adoption of virtual worlds including the CNN iReport presence in the virtual world of Second Life and is the company’s primary contact for emerging social spaces and virtual worlds. Rhonda began her career at Turner in the Digital Media Technologies department where she led technical program management and development teams for major programs across a wide portfolio including: CNN digital news production and archive systems, digital offerings including CNN Pipeline and GameTap, as well as numerous web systems and publishing services for the CNN, NASCAR, Turner Entertainment, and Sports Illustrated web properties.

Ms. Lowry has over 15 years of complex systems development experience and held a number of program management and technical leadership roles within the aerospace industry at NASA, Rockwell International, and Lockheed Martin. She began her career at NASA where she was a software developer and systems integrator for a multi planetary detection system that eventually became part of the Kepler Mission. Ms. Lowry was Chief Engineer and Department Manager at Rockwell where she was twice awarded the President’s Award for professional achievement, and she spearheaded a revolutionary modeling and simulation program for Lockheed on the F-22 program for which she was awarded Lockheed’s highest award for leadership, the NOVA Award. Ms. Lowry earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors in Physics from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in Physics from Washington University in St Louis. She has a certification in Systems Engineering from UCLA and is a member of ACM, INCOSE, WICT, and is a Betsy Magness Leadership Institute Fellow. Lowry was the recipient of WICT Atlanta’s 2006 Catalyst Award for Woman in Technology and was listed on Cable World’s Top 50 Women in Cable in 2006.

Moderator: Alice Marwick – NYU

Alice Marwick is a PhD candidate in the Media, Culture, and Communication department at New York University. Her dissertation examines how social media technologies affect social status and social hierarchies. Most discussions of power and cyberspace focus on either the positive transformative potential of the internet, or how structural oppression (race, gender, class, sexuality) is maintained through technology. Instead, her research looks at one form of power-social status-and how it is transformed by mediated “lifestreaming” technologies, like Twitter, FriendFeed, and Facebook, when used by a specific community. Alice is a frequent presenter on internet celebrity and social media and recently gave the keynote at “ROFLCON”. Her work has appeared in First Monday, the LA Times, Wired, Business Week and on BBC radio. Alice holds an MA in Communication from the University of Washington and a BA in Women’s Studies and Political Science from Wellesley College. She grew up in suburban New York, spent eight years in Seattle, and now mostly resides in Manhattan. Alice currently lives in San Francisco, where she is conducting ethnographic research on status structures in Web 2.0 startups, consulting on user practice for technology companies, and enjoying karaoke, thrift stores, and feminist blogs.


Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist who studies new media and the relationship between humans and computers. She enjoys data visualization, search engine optimization (ask), and how marketing works in the online ecosystem.

You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic, or drop her an E-mail at caseorganic[at]gmai[dot]com. She’s spoken at various conferences including MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3, Inverge: The Interactive Convergence Conferece, Ignite Portland, and Ignite Boulder.

A New Way to Interact With Data

MIT Media Lab

A lot of times we wait around for technology to just “appear” like we see in films. But if we continue to do that, nothing will get built. Thankfully, people are out there filling in the gaps.

There’s a set of a new sign language for controlling movement from a distance. Very intuitive and simple to learn. Especially with the rewards of being able to move things across the room without touching them.

The rest of this post is over at the CyborgCamp.com Blog, as it relates directly to the event.

Gesture Recognition Demo at the MIT Media Lab with Jamie Zigelbaum.


Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist who also posts over at the Makerlab Blog, which is something you might enjoy reading if you enjoyed reading the post above. It’s about more experimental tech and activities related to pushing the limits of art and technology. If not, you can always follow her on Twitter @caseorganic.