First Blog Assignment Due Feb. 1

As mentioned in class today, your first blog writing assignment is due in one week, on Feb 1–before class! Your post should be based on the readings for Jan. 25 and Jan. 30 in the syllabus. Your post should be about 500 words and should either:

a) summarize at least one of the key arguments made in those readings and analyze and evaluate that argument, explaining why you agree or disagree with it, using relevant material from those readings, class discussion, or your own work, experiences and/or research;


b) explore the question raised in class today, namely: what are the default behaviors and traditional practices exposed and potentially disrupted by the new culture made possible by the emergence of the Internet. If you choose to take this approach, I am not expecting you to have all the answers, rather you should treat this as establishing a baseline where you are essentially saying what you think now about these issues. At the end of the semester it will be useful for you to go back and see how your views may have changed or been expanded.

Creativity, use of relevant outside sources, and compelling arguments will all improve how these posts are graded.


Discussing the Early Internet and Its Values

Today’s class was the first of two devoted to exploring the founding principles and practices of the Internet, and we covered a lot of ground (perhaps tried to do too much?). I’ll post up the video and audio soon as I can, but in the meantime don’t miss these live-blog notes from Doc Searls, who graced us with his presence and present-at-the-near-creation insights about the Internet’s values and challenges.

Watch this post for the video and audio…

Two Upcoming Events of Interest

Heads up!

Thursday January 26, the Shorenstein Center is hosting a discussion on Public Policy and the Internet with four Google policy and project managers will be here to discuss free expression, the economic impact of the web, digital media, and the use of digital tools for crisis response and other good works. It’s from 12-1:30 PM (Allison Dining Room, 5th floor, Taubman Building).

The speakers are Dorothy Chou, Google Policy Analyst (on Free Expression); Carley Graham Garcia (on the Economic Impact of the Web), Christopher Woods (on Digital Media) and Prem Ramaswami (on Digital Tools for Good). Alex Jones will moderate.

This event is co-sponsored by the Shorenstein Center, the HKS Communications Program, HKS Office of Career Advancement and the student group, TechForChange.

On February 2, the MIT Media Lab is hosting Rebecca MacKinnon, author of the new book “Consent of the Networked.” It’s at 6pm in the Silverman Room. Details and RSVP here.

Getting Ready for “Shopping Day”

Today I’m doing my “shopping day” classes for students considering taking this course. I’m planning to do two things with each half hour session: go over the ground rules and goals for the class, and then teach a short “teaser” of a lesson to give folks at taste of what we’ll be talking about.

Here’s a tidbit of that teaser:

Who Should Take This Class?

Welcome to the course blog for “The Politics of the Internet,” which I will be teaching at the Harvard Kennedy School in the spring of 2012. I’m looking forward to getting started!

If you want to know more about the class, read the Syllabus. I’m going to be previewing the major themes of the class during “shopping week” with two short sample classes on Friday January 20 between 2:40-3:55 in RG-20.

Who should take this class? If you are planning a career in government service, politics, journalism, non-profit management, organizing or advocacy, you need to know how to think about the Internet, and also how to adapt to and thrive in the changed environment that is emerging in its wake. This course will constantly address those concerns.

You should also take this class if you want to get (semi) real world practice in blogging and tweeting, and if you want to push yourself to sharpen your understanding of how the field you are entering is being challenged and transformed by the rise of networking.

I am looking forward to meeting you.