Berkterns humming through the first days

Last Monday I started working as a summer intern at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society with a little over 30 other new Berkterns. The sweet yellow building will be my home over the summer. The staff made us feel very welcome with their enthusiastic advice: engage! participate! have serious fun and go to a red sox game!

Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Berkman Center for Internet & Society

I am working at the Youth and Media Project (YaM) with six other nice and creative Berkterns. My main focus will be on “content creation” in relation to media literacy/information literacy/civic engagement. This includes reading key literature, thinking about adequate measurement tools (interviews/focus groups etc), looking for collaboration opportunities with organisations such as The LAMP and think about curriculum development in relation to this (with Andres Lombana Bermudez aka vvva). Very exciting!

Next to this interns are spoiled with luncheons that they can attend (this week Nicole Ellison on Facebook and social capital) and a weekly ‘intern hour’ where staff give inspiring talks about their recent research and thoughts. Today Jonathan Zittrain gave a very inspiring talk on the history of the Internet explaining that simplicity is at the heart of its design whereby omitting any sense of identity of users of the network gives it its uniqueness. Since there was no commercial aim, the design of the Internet was affected accordingly he argued. He had us humming in accord, be it not very convincingly, when explaining the character of rough consensus practiced at the IETF. He also predicted that “Postal mail will be dead in 5 years, so enjoy it while it lasts”…

This Friday the YaM Berkterns (among others) will report on and document a symposium on designing privacy and public space in the connected world hosted by the Berkman Center. HyperPublic “will bring together computer scientists, ethnographers, architects, historians, artists and legal scholars to discuss how design influences privacy and public space, how it shapes and is shaped by human behavior and experience, and how it can cultivate norms such as tolerance and diversity”. We are aiming to provide some creative output of the event, will keep you posted!