Recent Posts

Joy defends herself
Hope and Joy

My great aunt Jean carried a huge plastic tote bag as her purse. On each side of the bag were photos of eight of her grandchildren, surrounding a photo of a bottle of dish soap on one side, and of lau…

Microfinance and public shaming in Nigeria

I got an interesting email from a young Nigerian today alerting me to the problem of social shaming and microlending. He wanted me to promote his petition and so I did a little research. (This post wa…

I read Facebook’s Widely Viewed Content Report. It’s really strange.

What content is popular on Facebook? This is a surprisingly difficult – and very important – question to answer. Facebook is the most popular social network in the world, and is used by ro…

Why Study Media Ecosystems?

A few years ago, friends involved with the Media Cloud project – notably Fernando Bermejo, Hal Roberts, Rahul Bhargava – and I began talking about the need for academic approaches to media…

Recommendations from the road

Amy and I had about as gentle a pandemic as one could have. No one in our immediate family contracted COVID, we both were able to move our jobs online with no major hitches, and our time at home gave …

Ethan Zuckerman

Hi. I’m Ethan Zuckerman. I’m a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where I teach Public Policy, Communication and Information. I’m starting a new research center called the Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure. Over the years, I’ve been a tech startup guy (with Tripod.com), a non-profit founder (Geekcorps.org) and co-founder (Globalvoices.org), and throughout it all, a blogger.

I started blogging here in 2003 when this site was titled “My Heart’s in Accra”. I now write in a lot of different fora – for The Atlantic, Columbia Journalism Review and other sites, on my Medium page and as part of different university projects. Blogging led me to writing books as well as academic and journalistic articles, and much of that work features here.

Books

Mistrust

How can you change society if you lose faith in institutions like governments and corporations? Mistrust (2021) is a guidebook to social change through movements that try to change minds and hearts as well as laws.

Rewire

 Is the Internet bringing us closer together? Or just insulating us in our echo chambers? Rewire (2013) explores ways to break those echo chambers and build a more connected world.

Projects

iDPI

 Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure – a new research center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, exploring future visions of the internet that center civic life and the public good.

Gobo

A social media aggregator that gives you control over what and who you hear the most from. 

Media Cloud

A free, open source tool for tracking ideas, individuals and stories across the open web.

Global Voices

An online community of writers, artists and translators who work together to bring a richer, more nuanced picture of life around the world, with contributors in over 150 countries.

Articles

“The Internet’s Original Sin” is an article I wrote for the Atlantic about the toxic nature of the ad supported internet… and my confession of unleashing the popup ad on the world.

“The Case for Digital Public Infrastructure” offers a vision of how we might build an internet on values of civic engagement rather than private profit.

“Cute Cats to the Rescue?” is an oldie but goodie – my attempt to explain the Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism and censorship resistance in academic form.

Tweets & Podcasts

Podcast: Reimagining the Internet

My Tweets

I have just transitioned from stage 3 to stage 4, and can confirm that this truth is painful to embrace.

Beautiful and heartbreaking.

Give people meaningful social services and they’re likely to respond positively to public health mandates. Neglect public goods for a few decades and people react to requests to vaccinate with skepticism and mistrust: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/03/opinion/vaccine-hesitancy-covid.html

Best piece I’ve seen thus far on vaccine hesitancy: if you don’t see any benefits from public goods, civil society, you’re unlikely to make decisions with a notion of benefiting society as a whole. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/03/opinion/vaccine-hesitancy-covid.html

The Omnicron variant is just another example of how COVID will be prolonged if rich nations and Big Pharma keep blocking vaccine distribution.

Public Speaking

My Talks

I enjoy public speaking as a way to develop new ideas, meet new people and see different parts of the world. My TED talk, seen below, is a good introduction both to my public speaking and the ideas in my books.

I don’t use an agent for speaking – if you want to invite me to speak at your event, conference or bar mitzvah, contact me through my contact form.

Fixing Social Media
What the Post Office Can Tell us about the Internet