Talk about gender in the early issues of Byte

In the mid-1970s, before you could buy a computer at the store and no one yet called them “personal,” tech enthusiasts in the U.S. gathered around newsletters and magazines to imagine a more computerized future. For the past two years, my research assistant Rahul Zalkikar and I have been systematically exploring the first five years […]

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The gentrification of the internet

This is an essay about technology, power relations and basic dignity.  It is about the commercialization of online platforms and the difficulties of retaining individual power and autonomy online.  It is about the gentrification of the internet. When I call the internet gentrified, I’m describing shifts in power and control that limit what we can do online. I’m […]

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New book excerpt! from Documenting Aftermath: Information Infrastructures in the Wake of Disasters, by Megan Finn

Documenting Aftermath (MIT Press) (Amazon) looks at Northern California earthquakes in 1868, 1906, 1989, and today, and asks how information orders shaped post-disaster knowledge. I examine the institutions, infrastructures, and practices that shape how information is produced, circulated, shared, and used as a means of surveillance and control. This excerpt is derived from Chapter 5, which […]

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There’s a reason that misleading claims of bias in search and social media enjoy such traction.

President Trump’s tweets charging that Google search results are biased, against him and against conservatives, are the loudest and latest version of a growing attack on search engines and social media platforms. It is potent, and it’s almost certainly wrong. But it comes at an unfortunate time, just as a more thoughtful and substantive challenge […]

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Setting Goals by Morten Oddvik

The Trials of Media Research

Media research is a vexing enterprise. Trapped in the borderlands between social science and the humanities, the study of media and communication bears the liabilities of both. We have to contend with all the challenges that sociologists and literary scholars face: the subjective baggage of the analyst, her struggle to interpret unstable meanings, the strange […]

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