My disclosure statement, modelled on David Weinberger’s comprehensive disclosure page on his blog. These disclosures came about when there was widespread concern that bloggers were being hired to promote products – while that concern may be less pressing in 2013, when I updated this than in 2004, when I first posted a disclosure, it seems like a useful document to keep on file.
No one pays me to say – or not say – certain things on my blog, in print, or in radio, TV or newspaper interviews. That said, I accept the idea that one’s professional affiliations and business relationships may influence one’s judgement and therefore I offer the following information about my affiliations so you can better make up your mind whether I’m being fair in my opinions and representations.
I’m employed by the MIT Media Lab as director of Center for Civic Media. The work of Center for Civic Media is supported by the Knight Foundation, which provided initial funding for the Center, and by other foundations and donors, including the Open Society Foundation.
My other major source of income comes from investing money I made from the sale of Tripod.com in 1998. I stopped buying individual stocks around the same time I started blogging – my holdings are in large, managed funds, which would make it difficult for me to shill for a particular stock even if I were inclined to do so.
I also make a modest amount of money from consulting, public speaking and writing articles and books.
I chair the board of directors for Ushahidi, a Kenyan nonprofit. I’m not compensated for that work. I sit on the boards of PenPlusBytes, a Ghanaian nonprofit; Stichting Global Voices, the Netherlands foundation that governs the work of Global Voices; and Friends of Global Voices, the US partner organization to Global Voices. I receive no compensation for work on those boards.
I sit on the Global Board of the Open Society Foundation, and chair the sub-board for the a HREF=”http://www.soros.org/initiatives/information”>Information Program of the Open Society Foundation, a multi-national foundation funded by George Soros. I am compensated for the time I spend on OSF issues and for my travel for OSF, though it does not represent a major fraction of my income. Through OSF, I work with – and inevitably end up advising – nonprofit technology projects and human rights organizations throughout the world.
I am a registered Democrat in the state of Massachusetts, though I tend to break with the party on some economic issues, especially those surrounding free trade. While opinionated about African politics, I have no particular party affiliations.
When I’m writing about issues where I have a distinct financial interest, I will do my level best to disclose my fiscal involvement in the situation. If you feel I haven’t done so clearly enough, or have other issues with this disclosure policy, please let me know.
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Hey Ethan, I just wanted to say hello, and tell you that what you’re writing about is really vital. I am a filmmaker from Portland, Oregon, and am working on a documentary right now about Africa, and all of the stereotypes/misconceptions that go along with it.
I especially love your phrase “Africa is a continent, not a crisis”, and I reference it often when talking about my film. Do you mind me using this phrase on our film website? I would be happy to link to your blog. My filming team and I really want to start a global conversation about Africa, and I thank you for taking the initiative in such a great way.
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Thought you might want to know- we have a fantastic first year student from Accra- I talked to him about your Ghana stuff. Here is Kwame’s contact info :
Inspired by your blog and writings by other experts and academics (and my own experience living in Tanzania), I am writing a paper about the transformational impact of mobile phones in Africa. While the impact is great, I do not see it as a silver bullet for African economies given their other governance, infrastructure, etc problems. I have also read that there is an “interoperability” problem in some countries where, it is said that “…In most
sub-Saharan countries, rival telecom companies do not allow customers to place calls to competitors’
networks, with the result that many people find it necessary to carry multiple phones on separate networks…” While I realize in many parts of the world there are restrictions on using other network to “roam” not being able to place a call to someone who uses another operator is a serious impediment to communication. Do you know if this regulation still applies in many African countries? I have searched, and researched, and searched again, but only came up with one claim about this restriction.
Thank you in advance. I love your blog…read it every day. It’s my little trip back to happier times when I was doing more doing than thinking. Hopefully one day I will get back there.
Ethan, please excuse my placing this here, I don’t see another way to contact you.
I read and carefully followed your excellent step-by-step suggestions at V
Between that and this
you answered just about every question and concern I had.
I thank you most sincerely.
My problem is that after carefully downloading and restarting I cqnnot find any Tor buttons, Privoxy or Vidalia icons, nuttin. And the torcheck shows that Tor is not active.
I know you’re busy and I’ll try to be understanding if you don’t reply, but my gadfly activities have already caused me much grief and I’d sure like to prevenr further hassles.
Firefox 3.01, Mac OSX 10.4.11, MacBook 2.1, Intel Core 2 Dou
Thanks for listening
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Some thoughts from a psychiatrist/psychotherapist’s POV re why the recent abundance/inundation of information has led to individuals narrowly choosing “echo chamber” sources, instead of widening our worlds. It’s more than just “tribalism” and “the tendency to opt for the familiar” although that’s a beginning. Whether a Facebook post or an Ebola story, every information cluster/unit has emotional evocative potential- the intensity, complexity, valence and other qualities of which are determined at the point of impact- particular to each individual who opts to receive. As with music, an individual’s reponse to other forms of information is influenced by multiple factors and dimensions- such as temperament, culture, aesthetic sensitivity, context and history. There is a reflexive tropism- so rapid it must be unconscious and associational- that determines whether the information is chosen or blocked. It goes far beyond just the quantity of information and the individual’s tolerance for stimulation and “overwhelm threshold”.
One of the Buddhist “5 precepts” has to do with not ingesting substances that cloud the mind, and modern teachers include all forms of information and sensory input as potentially being in that category.
In my psychotherapy practice we explicitly discuss what clients are watching and reading and otherwise choosing as admissible sources of input. The choice can mitigate or reinforce suffering. For trauma victims, watching slasher films might seem an obvious thing to avoid- but the well-known phenomenom of “traumatic repetition” speaks to how such victims may be powerfully drawn to do exactly that.
So why (and how) we narrow the bandwidth of what we allow into consciousness is a very important question, which warrants exploration in depth.