As more and more people awaken to the threats against our basic rights online, we must start a debate – everywhere – about the web we want.- Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Web We Want is a global movement to defend, claim and change the future of the Web. The focus is on using innovative approaches to build support for national and regional campaigns to create a world where everyone, everywhere is online and able to participate in a free flow of knowledge, ideas, collaboration and creativity over the open Web.
One of the projects and campaigns around the world is 100 quotes from Women about the Web. Behind this campaign is Renata Avila, Global Manager for the Web We Want Initiative, collected the quotes, pointing out that “one must remember that both the Web and the Internet were designed by men and that still the 50% of the global population has a lot of ideas, new structures, architectures and innovation to contribute to each layer. And women in our space are really present and active and vocal.”
Joanne Manaster is a cell and molecular biology lecturer at the University of Illinois. She currently works as an online course developer and lecturer of science courses for the School of Integrative Biology. Prior to this current position, Joanne has taught histology, cell biology, and tissue engineering laboratories to biology and bioengineering students for nearly 20 years. Beside her academic career, she is a science writer and communicator, science video host, and STEM advocate. Joanne has run a girls’ bioengineering camp, and helped with the iGEM synthetic biology team and other outreach activities. She also makes video reviews of popular science books as well as whimsical science experiments with cats, cookies, gummy bears and make-up.
Joanne writes about science at her website, Joanne Loves Science and also at Scientific American blogs. She has been named by Mashable as having one of the 25 Twitter Accounts That Will Make You Smarter. You can find her on Twitter as ScienceGoddess.
Would you, please, tell our readers a little bit more about yourself? What is your scientific background, and your professional scope?
Thank you for asking me to join you!
I am a faculty lecturer at the University of Illinois. I initially started my college studies with plans to head to medical school but through my course of studies I found I really clicked with cell and molecular biology and was very adept at lab work. Through various opportunities, I also discovered I had a knack for explaining scientific concepts so eventually changed my path to teach at the university level. I studied muscle development at the microscopic level in grad school and eventually transitioned to teaching cell biology and histology.
How did you initially get interested in science? When did you start to express your curiosity for science?
I always loved nature and had a fascination with human health. I spent a lot of time in nature and did a lot of reading on science topics. I didn’t know any scientists. I knew they existed from reading textbooks, but the whole field seemed shrouded in mystery. However, I understood what doctors did and thought that becoming a physician would be a valid way to pursue my passion for science. As I mentioned above, it wasn’t until college that I realized how scientists did their work, and could then consider that as a career path.
It is interesting to mention that you are a former international model, back in the days of your adolescence. Did you find something scientific in the world of modeling and fashion?
As far as modeling goes, I was discovered while I was in high school. Initially, I wasn’t enthusiastic about it but realized it would be a great way to earn money for medical school. While I was modeling, I wasn’t thinking about it in any scientific manner as I was learning to interact with a very new and somewhat foreign world. It wasn’t until I completed my science training in college did I really start to see how science explained just about everything. In my course of teaching students, I also began to see the value in piquing their interest by talking about things they could relate to in terms of science, and that extends to my online outreach!
Would you tell us more about your role within executing online courses for current and future science teachers?
One could call Simon Phipps a real eclectic geek, having in mind his background and activism globally: from campaigning for digital liberties, open data, open source software and political transparency, through his columns at InfoWorld to presidenting at the Open Source Initiative.
Simon studied electronic engineering at the University of Southampton, after which he worked for IBM, being involved in introducing the Java programming language, then he was leading Sun’s open source projects for Sun Microsystems – where he also worked on open source licenses. When Sun Microsystems and Oracle merged in 2010, Simon joined ForgeRock startup as Chief Strategy Officer. Now, he heads his own consulting company, Meshed Insights Ltd.
He is the president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) since 2012 – the non-profit organisation that advocates for open source software and builds bridges between open source communities and maintains the open source licenses. Also, he is a board director at the Open Rights Group in the UK and on the advisory board of Open Source for America.
Simon has been giving talks at many conferences on open source, free software, digital rights, etc. I had a chance to meet Simon couple of years ago in Oxford (UK), at the Transfer Summit conference on open innovation, development and collaboration, and ever since I’ve been following his work online and offline.
Would you, please, tell our readers a little bit more about yourself? Where do you come from, both geographically and philosophically?
I’m originally from south London but have lived in Southampton for 35 years. I’ve been programming computers and making electronics since I was a teenager, with other interests in general science. I’ve always been fascinated by networks and the capacity for action at a distance, so my career has embraced many aspects of both.
Back in the days of Sun Microsystems, you were leading Sun’s open source projects, and later got involved in the Open Source Initiative. How did you initially get interested in open source software?
At one point I ran a company that helped programmers create and distribute software as Shareware. I realised most people who use software could be trusted to support the developers behind it; our business was successful as a result! That opened my eyes to the deeper reality that underlies open source software. If you remove the obstacle of needing permission to contribute, a community will naturally collaborate to create what they need individually and share it with everyone else. So when I arrived at Sun from IBM, I already believed that open source was a crucial part of the new society emerging because of the Internet. At Sun I was privileged to oversee the relicensing of pretty much the whole of Sun’s software portfolio, including Java, identity management, Solaris, and much more. The legacy we created is still important, especially the code that has ended up as LibreOffice and the ongoing releases of Java under the GPL.
Would you explain to our readers what do Open Source Initiative (OSI), beside promoting open-source software, do for the Internet, science, research, and academia?
OSI was formed in 1998 as the steward of the then-newly-coined “Open Source” concept. It checks that copyright licensed labelled “open source” really do deliver the freedom to use, study, improve and share software source code. The OSI’s evaluation of licenses is globally respected and provides a benchmark that’s written into law and policy in many countries.
[an update 13.02.2013.] you can download the article directly from SSRN database.
Who controls our free speech online? What are the limits of free expression on social media? Index on Censorship launched Digitial Frontiers, the latest issue of its award-winning magazine, and the only publication dedicated to freedom of expression with an expert discussion on internet freedom.
I’ve contributed an article on how mobile technology plays a vital role in activism, spreading news, and bridging digital divides. An excerpt:
…it takes more than a computer to bridge the gap. The mobile phone is emerging as a powerful tool for social engagement; mobile technology and social media applications are playing a vital role in giving excluded groups a voice. And mobile technologies are almost ubiquitous. Around 70 per cent of mobile phone users are in developing countries, mostly in the global South, according to the UN agency the International Telecommunications Union.
Mobile phones are the first telecommunications technology in history to have more users in the developing rather than developed world – with no legacy infrastructure to service, new providers are jumping straight to mobile. Advances in technology have made mobile phones an indispensable part of development. New mobile platforms are simple and portable.
Many thanks to Global Voices community for the insight information and conversations with citizen media activists, and to Simon Phipps for contributing. Subscription options are available from Index and Amazon. The publication will be available to order from December 15th.
Radovanovic, Danica (2012). “Going Mobile: digital divides must be bridged”. In Digital Frontiers – Index on Censorship. SAGE, Vol. 41, No.4, 2012. pp: 112-116.
Ok, here’s what I’ve been doing in the previous couple of weeks (among other things). I cannot reveal it completely right now, just a little sneak-peak (see the snapshot). Beside e-resources and data I’ve been collecting, processing, and analysing, I’ve created a huge analogue map made out of more than 60 printed spreadsheets all over the office wall, and added some colour and cross-thematic coding. Now my creativity, the scientific story-telling, and writing is what I am challenging myself with in the next couple of weeks. Many of you searched in the box up here on the site how to overcome digital divides, and what are digital divides present in social media now so I know there is also a lot of interest in those topics. Some of my work on this will be published early in December. The book chapter I’ve contributed to the Routledge Advances in Sociology series will be published in May 2013. The link to the forthcoming book is http://www.routledge.com/
Please check the summary of posts, articles, and media release after the World Wide Web 2012 conference (#WWW2012).
Scientific American published the article “Phatic Posts: Even the Small Talk Can Be Big” – where I’m discussing the paper I presented at #WWW2012 on ‘phatic’ communications online: on brief and apparently trivial or mundane updates posted on social media.
For Australian Science online, I published ”Global Web, Society and Knowledge at #WWW2012”, some of my thoughts on workshops, sessions, and presentations as Part I of the #WWW2012 highlights. Part II “Connected and Free: World Wide Web professionals at #WWW2012” presents random notes and micro-opinion bits, focusing on people, attendants who have been actively participating in this web professionals meeting and their impressions of the conference. I’ve been tweeting before, during, and after the conference, you may check my Twitter stream and the hashtag #WWW2012.
This week Advocacy Global Voices Online published my article, reporting from France, on an inspiring keynote by Tim Berners-Lee (TBL), the inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Tim Berners-Lee: Protect the Open Web! #WWW2012
On April 16-20, 2012 the 21st International World Wide Web Conference (#WWW2012) gathered around 2,500 internet and social science professionals, web and mobile technology creators, researchers and scholars, in Lyon, France to discuss matters of global concern for the Internet and the Web. The main themes were “Society and Knowledge” and “The Future Direction of the Web”.
The conference agenda covered both social and technological issues, as well as Internet and democracy, free access to services, freedom of expression, regulation and censorship, control and copyright. The #WWW2012 proceedings are available online, so the many interesting papers can be downloaded. Plenary keynotes videos are also available.
I was a program committee member for a Making Sense of Microposts (#MSM12) workshop. I also presented a research paper on “phatic communication” and why tweets and Facebook updates on weather, food, and mundane life are useful for online communities, human relationships and social networks (I have written about this subject here, here, and here).
“Imagine what you want the world to look like”
But perhaps the major highlight of #WWW2012 was an inspiring keynote on April 18 by Tim Berners-Lee (TBL), the inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). He shared insights on the current situation of the web, as well as future directions that could threaten the vitality of the Internet. Rallying the crowd, he said, “Democracy depends on an open internet. Go out in the streets and complain that your democracy is being threatened. (It’s) a duty, something you have to do.”
TBL touched on the most pressing issues of open data, open government, privacy and control, Net Neutrality, and future generations.
Brief information for those coming to WWW2012 – you can check the programme. On Monday I will be presenting at ”Making Sense of Microposts”#MSM2012 workshop. For others – please take a look at the article I wrote for the Scientific American on better understanding the phatic element of communication as applied to online discourse and networked connectivity.
Phatic Posts: Even the Small Talk Can Be Big
Social media and micro-blogging have been fascinating to me ever since I first encountered them. In the last 3-4 years there has been an enormous growth in social network sites and in the numbers of people using them, especially on the two most popular services, Facebook and Twitter.
That fascination grew to become a doctoral research focus that has explored the different forms of communication dynamics being formed online. I was, in particular, curious why people post trivial, mundane updates and messages to each other – a behavior I have come to term “phatic posts”. It’s not just young people, but also professionals from different walks of life as well as internet researchers, including myself.
I used to tweet from the airplane before taking off, or being alone at the airport at 5am checking into Twitter to see if anyone’s awake in “my time zone’’, or logging in to my Flickr account to see if someone commented on my latest photography. I was not the only one engaging in such behavior; au contraire, many internet researchers and geeky people I know would demonstrate similar patterns of