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About the Talk
The internet has let us down. From promises of democratic inclusion to radical reinvention of everyday life, early hype about the internet has given way to skeptical cynicism, thanks to misinformation, hate speech, industry elitism, hacks, and privacy harms. Suspicions about the internet are well-founded, but are they the whole story? This talk describes how we got the web we have and what it would take to build something different. Annenberg Professor Jessa Lingel draws on her research on digital culture to discuss themes of online publics, ethical design, and digital practices in conversation Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. Bringing together internet studies scholarship with industry expertise, this dialogue will reflect on the changing values of digital tech, with a focus on the websites, platforms, and communities that have carved out spaces of autonomy, creativity, and hope.
About the Speakers
Craig Newmark is a web pioneer, philanthropist, and leading advocate. Most commonly known for founding the online classified ads service craigslist, Newmark works to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement.
In 2016, he founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies to advance people and grassroots organizations that are “getting stuff done” in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, voter protection, women in technology, and veterans & military families. At its core, all of Newmark’s philanthropic work helps to strengthen American democracy by supporting the values that the country aspires to — fairness, opportunity, and respect.
Newmark serves on the board of directors of a number of organizations, including Blue Star Families, the Center for Public Integrity, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, Girls Who Code, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Poynter Foundation, Sunlight Foundation, VetsinTech, and Women in Public Service Project. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Journalism Review and on the advisory board of nearly twenty other nonprofit organizations, including DonorsChoose.org, EFF, New America Foundation, Voto Latino, Wikimedia Foundation, and Women Who Tech.
In 1995, Newmark started curating a list of San Francisco arts and technology events, which he personally emailed to friends and colleagues. People were soon calling it "Craig's List," and when Newmark turned it into a company, he monetized it minimally, opting for a business model that prioritized "doing well by doing good." Today, more than 5 billion ads have been posted on the site, the vast majority for free. Newmark has not been involved in the day-to-day management of the company since 2000.
Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Newmark earned degrees in computer science from Case Western Reserve University. He lives in San Francisco and New York City and enjoys birdwatching, science fiction, and Dad jokes. Newmark travels the country speaking about the initiatives he supports, and he uses Twitter to further get the word out — and share photos of birds.
Jessa Lingel is an associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, where she studies digital culture, looking for the ways that relationships to technology can show us gaps in power or possibilities for social change. She received her Ph.D. in Communication and Information from Rutgers University. She has an MLIS from Pratt Institute and an M.A. from New York University.
Lingel's research focuses on three key areas: alterity and appropriation, and investigations of how information and technology is altered, tinkered with, subverted, and articulated by marginalized groups; politics of infrastructure, where systems of categorization, organization, and design can reveal underlying ideologies and logics; and technological activism as a way of exploring how socio-technical practices can contribute to projects of social justice.
In her activist work, Lingel concentrates on prison abolition, libraries as vehicles for DIY education, and local access to mental health resources.