From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

us losing control

Since the internet began (in Al Gore's garage I believe), the US has maintained control of the authoratitaive DNS servers...the master "phone book" if you will for the internet. This has been tolerated uneasily by the rest of the world, but recently other nations have been making noises about wrestling control from the US (specifically, ICANN, a private company set up by the Department of Commerce). And can you blame them? Brazil does 90% of its tax collection online. Most countries have come to rely on the Internet for governance, commerce, and communication. But this change has huge implications. What will an international group say about standards? How about human rights applications?

Submitted by todd on October 7, 2005 - 12:55pm

Is Web 2.0 killing the Semantic Web?

At oreillynet, Dan Zambonini asks the seemingly heretical question: Is Web 2.0 killing the Semantic Web? Zambonini suggests that the rush to give power to the people with Web 2.0 impedes important progress toward developing the semantic web, which he argues is much more critical in the long run.

Submitted by kvarnelis on October 7, 2005 - 12:46pm

Is Cyberterrorism just for terrorists or is it a new business practice?

Today's Slashdot carries a frightening article that suggests that what we previously thought of as [[w: cyberterrorism]] may be a new competitive business strategy. See Blackout Shows Net's Fragility. Slashdot is blogging an a ZDNet article discussing a dispute between Level 3 Communications and Cogent Communication that has left subscribers to both networks unable to talk to another.

Submitted by kvarnelis on October 7, 2005 - 12:36pm

More or Less Democracy in the Internet Age?

In the mid-1990s, the growth of the Internet revitalized the democratic imagination. Within a few years, however, theorists and advocates of digital democracy exhibited a tendency to view civic volunteers, amateur participants, and populist majorities as uninformed, impulsive, and materialistic. Even progressive promoters of digital democracy demonstrated distrust for the demos.

Submitted by mkann on October 6, 2005 - 8:26pm

Thoughts On Web 2.0

What are the consequences of Web 2.0 for Networked Publics—not this academic group but rather our object of study? Web 2.0 is based around the model of consumers becoming active producers, not only creating their own content but actively remixing content themselves. In that, Web 2.0 splendidly embodies Roland Barthes's concept of the writerly text replacing the readerly text. Depending on your epistemological paradigm, the web has moved from the classical era to the modern era, or from the modern to the postmodern. But the jury is still out on Web 2.0's consequence to social structures. In a response to an essay by danah boyd, I suggest that if Web 2.0 will lead to greater bonds between dispersed localities based on interest and lifestyle communities, it may well also lead to a greater disconnect between individuals in close physical proximity.

Submitted by kvarnelis on October 6, 2005 - 6:34pm

Bush's War on Terror (and Digital Freedom)

In President Bush’s speech about war on terror to the National Endowment for Democracy today it seemed at first as if he might give Arab media outlets and the Internet a break by including some good old fashion media in the catagory of spreaders of evil when he said, “We know the vision of the radicals because they've openly stated it -- in videos, and audiotapes, and letters, and declarations, and websites.

Submitted by arussell on October 6, 2005 - 5:51pm


see if you can win...

Submitted by todd on October 6, 2005 - 5:21pm

Birth Stories

Thanks to the speedy work of our netpublics web team our site has seen the light of day! Kudos to Kazys, Marc, Todd, and Jameson for getting us up and running. Actually, double kudos to Kazys who birthed this web site and did drupal tweaking in the midst of welcoming his newborn son to the planet. We have great hopes for our spanking new web site too. While the work of the web team was speedy, this research cohort and conversation was a long time in gestation. Having us all in residence now at the Annenberg Center, and opening this web portal is truly a moment to celebrate.

Watch this space for reports from our ongoing research seminar, information on our speaker series, and news and publications being fomented by our collective networked intelligence. This site is also a gateway for the web presence of our individual netpublics researchers. We have a fabulous cohort of minds in residence who promise to bring you the latest news and thinking on the changing landscape of public participation in a digitally networked world.

Submitted by mito on October 5, 2005 - 3:55pm

Hive Networks and Emergence

At the World Summit on Free Information Infrastructures, Community wireless network activist, Julian Priest (of, and author of the seminal State of Wireless Networking in London) speaks here (in the attached Quicktime movie) about Alexi Blinov's project Hive Network in which he has modified an off-the-shelf ASUS, Linux access point to become a stand alone streaming media device, capable of organizing with other sich devices into authomous ad-hoc networks.

Submitted by mtuters on October 5, 2005 - 2:58pm

Digital Derive and Redefining the Basemap

MIT's Digital Derive project will be shown at the M-City exhibition (curator: Marco De Michelis) in Kunsthaus Graz, Oct 01, 2005 - Jan 08, 2006.

"Digital Derive harnesses the potential of mobile phones as an affordable, ready-made and ubiquitous medium that allows the city to be sensed and displayed in real-time as a complex, pulsating entity... Digital Derive (re)presents the city displayed simultaneously in the Kunsthaus Graz and in a publicly accessible website... The Real-Time City Map will register and visually render the volume and geographic source of cell phone usage in Graz, thus showing a different layer in the use and experience of the city. Furthermore the users of A1 Mobilkom Austria in Graz will be tracked anonymously by 'pinging' their cell phones as they move through the city. The record of this movement will be collected, processed and finally displayed as set of dynamic traces showing their paths through the city on the same map..."

Submitted by mtuters on October 5, 2005 - 6:58am