Apologies for radio silence on this blog, friends. April is apparently the month that I’ve returned to public circulation. During those months I was at home taking care of wife and baby, I evidently said “yes” a few too many times, and have set myself up for a month with a dozen talks, lectures or presentations at panels. As a result, I feel like I’ve been writing a ton – and I have – it just hasn’t appeared on this blog, just on the slide decks I’ve been presenting.
Last night was one of the most challenging and rewarding events thus far. My friend Chris Csikzentmiháyli of MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media invited me to moderate a panel discussion on “civic media in difficult places”. When I signed on, I hadn’t realized that the event was wholly virtual – the folks I was talking with were all appearing via skype, which turned the event into something analagous to a live radio show. I had good fun playing Chris Lydon, and the event worked both because MIT did an astounding job of making the tech almost seamless and because I had an amazing array of guests: Cameran Ashraf of AccessNow, Mehdi Yahyanejad of Balatarin, Georgia Popplewell of Global Voices, Huma Yusuf of Dawn.com, Ruthie Ackerman of Ceasefire Liberia, Brenda Burrell and Bev Clark of Kubatana, and Lova Rakotomalala of Foko Club. Thanks to everyone who particpated and came… and please feel free to enjoy the podcast, if you’re curious what folks from Iran to Zimbabwe have to say about the future of civic media.
My next gig also involves civic media and human rights activists… but the details are a little different. Hal Roberts and I are speaking at the George W. Bush Institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas as part of a day-long event on “cyber-dissidents”. Our job, as I see it, is to make sure that everyone there is realistic about what can and can’t be done with circumvention technologies, and to ensure that a vision for internet freedom is broader than supporting dissidents in countries the US government identifies as restrictive of speech. Hal’s going to pull apart the tech behind internet circumvention and I’ll be offering the ideas I fleshed out in my “Beyond Circumvention” and “Protect, then Project” posts. It should be an interesting event – I’ll be liveblogging, so I will do my best to give readers a window on what transpires there.
In Texas, I’m also going to be speaking at International Symposium on Online Journalism and a forum on Texas Financial Transparency. Both are at UT Austin, one of my favorite places in the state – looking forward to spending time with old friends there. After that, a workshop on Internet Security and Internet Freedom at the Center for IT Policy at Princeton.
The icing on the cake – ROFLCon. Do I understand ROFLCon? Nope. Am I giving the opening keynote? Yep. Along with danah boyd. Do we know what we’re going to say or do? Not a clue. Suspect it will be a blast, however.
Looking forward to returing you to your regularly scheduled blogging sometime in the next few weeks.