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March 23, 2007 |

It is spring, and changes are afoot.

We are inching towards closure on a collaborative research project that I was part of at the Annenberg Center in 2006-07. A few months ago I finished writing the introduction to the Networked Publics book that Kazys is editing, and I’ve just posted it here. I’m looking forward to this work getting out in print, but in the meantime, you can see drafts of the chapters on the networked publics site. Our goal for this book is to have a readable overview of current trends in Internet society and culture, centered around the shift towards the lateral networking of “publics.” I hope my introduction does justice to the collection of essays represented there as this was a truely interdisciplinary and collaborative project.

The legacy of the networked publics group does not end there. Ever since the conference that we put on, a group of us at the Annenberg Center have been putting together plans for an event that focused on one dimension of the networked publics research agenda. After the Networked Publics Conference a year ago, we targeted video as the medium that would be next in the pipeline for radical reconfigutation. This hardly sounds prescient at this point in time, but we really did not anticipate the degree to which Internet video has captured the limelight in the past six months. This work to plan a follow on event is becoming more concrete, and we have recently announced it on our DIY media blog and on a new live journal community.24/7: A DIY Video Summit” is an ambitious event aimed at making a statement and an intervention in the space of Internet video by drawing together creative, industry, and academic groups.

All of this comes at a bittersweet time because USC recently announced that it will be “decentralizing” the Annenberg Center, where all this work has been taking place, and which has been an ideal home for my research for almost five years now. There will no longer be a place for researchers and research projects at the center, and I will be moving, together with my projects and team, to another institutional home. I’m grateful for all the support that the center has give me so far – the warm and effective staff, the leadership, and fellow researchers. It really was an exceptional place to work, and the legacy of the research and relationships fostered there will have a lasting influence.