1.5

Safe (Digital) Spaces

In recent years, the “safe space” idea has been stretched nearly beyond recognition, transforming the concept from a tool for protecting minority populations from bigotry into a strategy for insulating various communities from each other. And as our lives increasingly take place online, this transformation has also been reflected in the digital sphere. Concerns over digital “safety” (including privacy and security), however, are especially acute for women and Muslim Americans. And as the nebulous state of government data collection of its own citizens continues to evolve and during a time when hate speech online is reaching unprecedented levels, the scale of these intrusions and risks is certain to only grow in magnitude. In response, a number of projects and guides, are being rolled out to inform people of...

1.4.2

From Anxiety to Action

In the wake of the largest public demonstrations in U.S. history, during an extended period of diminishing participation in civic associations, we’re examining the process of getting off the sidelines and becoming the change you want to see in the world, especially in the midst of a national mental health crisis. The podcast-o-sphere has been abuzz with fascinating discussions about changing your behavior based on the world around you, such as deciding whether to march (and sing) in D.C., watching out for the public safety of others, remembering to engage in self care, while a profusion of guides for staying engaged and taking action for the first time have been published with personalities of all types in mind, including shy, anxious, quiet, nihilist, and busy people, and careful consumers and newcomers too. Perhaps some of the most insightful pieces we’ve come across emphasized the importance of common ground, and coalition-building, a common refrain in coverage of the Women’s March on Washington, and especially sympathy.

1.4.1

Digital Democracy and You (Part Two)

As the dust settles after one of the most controversial and contested U.S. presidential elections in history, unprecedented attention is being paid to the adverse influence of emerging technologies on American democracy. Critics argue that echo chambers lock opinion in rather than expand our horizons, and amplify bad behavior, making civic engagement a race to the bottom. While some have disputed this reasoning, others have set up considerable monetary prizes to investigate it, while others extend the logic further and point towards the tech industry’s disruptive effect on the economy. In response, tech employees have formed secret task forces to combat the fake news epidemic, and quit high-paying jobs to enlist in the effort to tackle these challenges.