HCII Seminar Series - Ethan Zuckerman


Ethan Zuckerman

Associate Professor of Public Policy, Information and Communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Director of the Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure

Friday, January 21, 2022 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
This seminar will be presented virtually.
Seminar Video
Ethan Zuckerman

"The Good Web:  Competing Visions for the Future of Social Media"

Between the US Capitol Insurrection - broadcast and organized online - and Frances Haugen's revelations about the inner workings of Facebook, 2021 was a rough year for social media. Many social media observers - including legislators – concluded that tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were harming individuals and society and needed regulation. But there are others re-imagining social media as a whole, proposing new architectures designed to address the shortcomings of existing platforms and encourage new forms of interaction online. This talk examines four different models for the future of social media, including blockchain-based web3 models and decentralized open source models, and the ideologies animating each vision of the future.

Speaker's Bio

Ethan Zuckerman’s research focuses on the use of media as a tool for social change, the use of new media technologies by activists and alternative business and governance models for the internet. He is the author of Mistrust: How Losing Trust in Institutions Provides Tools to Transform Them (2021) and Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (2013). With Rebecca MacKinnon, Zuckerman co-founded the international blogging community Global Voices. It showcases news and opinions from citizen media in more than 150 nations and 30 languages, publishing editions in 20 languages. Previously, Ethan directed the Center for Civic Media at MIT and taught at the MIT Media Lab. In 2000, he founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer organization that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations with a focus on West Africa. Previously, he helped found Tripod.com, one of the web's first "personal publishing" sites. Ethan and his family live in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts.