Institute for Rebooting Social Media Client: Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
Scope: 3-month project with 3-month advisory services
Brief: Create a 3-year strategy for the Institute for Rebooting Social Media
The Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society launched a new Institute focused on addressing social media’s most urgent probems. In order to effectively address the systemic challenges and envision viable alternatives, the Institute needed to be purpose-built for the scale of the problem and the urgency of action. The objectives of this project included:
- Define a framing narrative and strategy for the Institute, including purpose statement, theory of change, differentiators, key stakeholders, and metrics of success.
- Generate program design options that bring the strategy to life, including operational & community models, roles & incentives, and community activities.
- Understand needs, mindsets, and wishes of the Institute’s existing and desired community; create mechanisms to accelerate their work and deepen relationships with them.
From Emergency to Prevention: Protecting Journalists from Online Abuse
How can online technologies evolve to provide better safeguards to journalists? PEN America and the Institute for Rebooting Social Media hosted an interdisciplinary workshop with reporters, academics, civil society experts, and platform representatives to brainstorm solutions.
The Technology Future We Want
Data visualization by Kim Albrecht
Every day we see social media going awry: disinformation campaigns, privacy breaches, hate speech, harassment, data extraction, and more. These problems are analyzed in books, articles, lectures, and even memes. We know what we don’t want.
But it is harder to describe what we actually do want for the future of social media. What might healthy and flourishing online communities look like? Should they be big or small, public or private, should they be moderated? How should they be regulated in a global and interconnected world? And who is served (or harmed) by each of these visions? Individuals across the world have different needs, preferences, norms, hopes, jurisdictions, and boundaries. Is it possible to articulate a coherent vision of a future we actually want?
This creative workshop will bring together a wide range of participants to consider the opportunities and risks of online communication, imagine the futures we want, and acknowledge the difficulty (and importance) of such explorations.
Social Media As A Crisis Discipline
How can the science of catastrophic collective behavior provide insight into the woes of social media platforms? The inspiration for the workshop came from the paper "Stewardship of global collective behavior" spearheaded by Dr. Joseph Bak-Coleman and co-written with authors from the physical, biological, and social sciences. The paper uses examples from climate change and conservation biology to illuminate critical questions about social media, including: What does it mean to treat social media like a crisis discipline, or a discipline that lacks the luxury of time? How does network structure, and the types of interactions allowed via that structure, affect the spread of information in a group?