Social media has created a world in which communication with others is only the push of a button away, while in many cases reducing the depth of that communication.
William Powers will explain how to use this new interconnectedness wisely at his Chautauqua lecture on Thursday, Oct. 15, at Eastern Kentucky University. The author of New York Times best-seller “Hamlet’s Blackberry”, a research scientist at MIT’s newly-founded Laboratory for Social Machines and former director of The Crowdwire project, which analyzed social media in the 2012 presidential election, he will present “Deeper Digital: A New Philosophy of Social Media” at 7:30 p.m. in Brock Auditorium. His talk, free and open to the public, also serves as the keynote address for the EKU Reads Project.
“Hamlet’s Blackberry,” which received high praise from reviewers for its insights on the digital future, grew out of research Powers did as a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. It has been selected as a common read at a number of colleges and universities, including EKU, and published in many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German and Russian.
As a result of the book’s success, Powers became involved with the MIT Laboratory for Social Machines. This interdisciplinary collaboration uses philosophy not just to rethink social media, but to build technologies that the world needs in order to solve big problems and move forward.
Powers began his career as a U.S. Senate staff member before joining The Washington Post, where he initially worked for Bob Woodward in the investigative unit. As a Post staff writer, Powers covered business, media, politics, popular culture and ideas. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic and The New York Times, among other publications. He created the New Republic’s first media column, and for 10 years he wrote an influential column on the intersection of media and politics for National Journal.
Powers is a two-time winner of the National Press Club’s Rowse Award for best American media commentary. He studied the technology culture of Japan on a fellowship from the Japan Society and spent 2012 as director of The Crowdwire. The project was sponsored by and based at Bluefin labs, a technology company that grew out of the MIT Media Lab and was acquired by Twitter in early 2013.
Powers’ lecture is sponsored by the EKU Reads Project, First Year Programs, EKU Libraries, Information Technology and the Honors Program.