publius project

I’m proud to share the link to the essay I recently wrote in response to Dan Gillmor’s “Principles of New Media.” It has been published as part of the publius project, which is a Berkman Center blog-site featuring “essays and conversations about constitutional moments on the Net.”

Having Gillmor as my advisor last summer when I was at Harvard for the OII Summer Doctoral Programme was inspiring, and it was great to get his feedback on my dissertation project. As I’ve been writing the past 8 months or so, I have often been skeptical about what new media genres can really do in terms of social change, but at the heart of my work will always be an appreciation for the writing and recovering that is happening in New Orleans quite independently of established channels.

New Orleanians like myself are a passionate people very much attached to our humid bohemian city, and the more my scholarly work and their blogs can remind the world that “we are not OK,” the more I hope people will take notice.

I hope you enjoy the essay and do leave comments!

7 thoughts on “publius project

  1. Very well done, Daisy. My question about the validity of sites like Brightkite, however, especially in the face of a environmental disaster, is how will this be accessed? With cell towers, electricity, and other infrastructure unattainable, how is it possible to reach out when where one is reaching out to isn’t available?

    Another point, universities are *assuming* that incoming students are ‘net literate. This isn’t entirely the case. They are literate in the areas that they communicate with friends in — but that doesn’t always translate to ‘net literacy. How do we, as educators, transcend that gap and assist our students in becoming more literate while also trying to impart information about composition? Is it our job, and if so, how much are we expected to invest into doing so?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Dawn!

    RE: the mobile technologies, somehow even during Katrina with so many cell towers down, texts would go through when calls didn’t. I don’t know the Brightkite service well but as long as Twitter doesn’t sell out on us, I think it could be a place where one could send/receive updates during times of crisis.

    As for the tech literacy–I know that as a teacher both in the classroom and online, I find it imperative to ask all of my students to reflect upon their uses of technology. This is another reason I’m especially excited to be going to teach at UW-Stout b/c as a laptop campus I feel the students will be more willing to try things out and tell me what works and what doesn’t when it comes to accessing and comprehending material. I know there are teachers who might not like or know enough about technology to utilize it in their writing projects, but the more university administrators push for it, the more interdisciplinary I think departments will have to become.

  3. Re: .. the writing and recovering that is happening in New Orleans ..

    When computer users were expected to write programs, their possible failures could be traced back to coding or logic faults (if they were not due to system “hangs” or “crashes”).

    In any case .. information could be obtained from the machine or from system analysts .. supporting what was called an error “recovery” procedure.

    I’m an Italian reader of the publius essays and i’ve been wondering about your use of the word “recovery”. We don’t write programs any more; we write blog posts instead; however, posting cannot be related to “error recovery”, in the sense i’ve just remembered. To me, it’s a huge “literacy” problem; however, it’s more “gut feeling” than anything i would know how to talk about.

    So, i’m writing this comment and expecting an outcome: does it make sense? does it not? if not, how could i “recover” from my failed attempt?

    Thank you,


  4. I use “recovery” to refer to the rebuilding of New Orleans, both emotional and physical. A lot of my research has focused on “writing to heal,” with my argument being that the more hurricane survivors and locals blog about the realities of their lives, the more people will take notice and help. It’s all about the authenticity of their voices.

  5. Publius ate my comment! Grrrrr….

    I was simply saying that you highlight in your essay something that gets pushed aside too easily and dismissed as little more than individual rantings – when what it is is a network born out of disaster and sustaining itself on its sense of community and (one of the more important things being a part of the NOLA blogpocheh has taught me) the courage to never fail to back up what is being said with direct experience and the citing of reliable sources. We all do our best to back each other up in these ways, despite our leaky levees, our Swiss-cheese coast, and our shoddy city, state, and federal leadership.

    I hope this comment makes it !!!! 😉

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