Bloody Mexica

We may never fully fathom other cultures, so claims this Nautilus essay. To bolster its case it presents Friar Sahagun’s ethnography of the Mexica civilization. It’s gruesome and bloody, with lurid tales of a mountain of human sacrifice. But it’s also part of a strange culture with a hierarchy of nobility that the article equates to upper crust England.

Forming identity in an online hate group

These findings indicate that processes of group identification and adaption take place in online forums in a similar way as in real life settings. The decrease in use of ‘I’ and increase in use of ‘we’ signals a collective identity formation within the forum. The increased use of ‘they’ signals increased distancing to one or more outgroups. The linguistic adaption is also a signal of normal group processes, showing that individuals in online forums want to be part of the group and hence adapts to the norms of the group.
— Read on From I to We: Group Formation and Linguistic Adaption in an Online Xenophobic Forum

Civic engagement in the time of the #hashtag

Ethan Zuckerman is studying how technology is changing how we try to effect social change.

We used to make change mostly using law as our primary lever. Now we use the legal lever less; we use the levers of norms of markets and technology more often. #MeToo is an example of a norms-based campaign. It’s basically saying, “We’re going to challenge how people talk about sexual assault and sexual harassment.” And once we change that norm, there’s other legal pieces, market pieces, that’ll come into play. But at its heart it’s trying to change how we have certain conversations.

Zuckerman, by the way, is also known as the inventor of the pop-up ad, an achievement for which he has since apologized. In his reformed life, he is professor of MIT’s Media Lab.