J. Nathan Matias

Nathan develops technologies for media analytics, community information, and creative learning at the MIT Center for Civic Media, where he is a Research Assistant. Before MIT, Nathan worked in UK startups, developing technologies used by millions of people worldwide. He also helped start the Ministry of Stories, a creative writing center in East London. Nathan was a Davies-Jackson Scholar at the University of Cambridge from 2006-2008.

by J. Nathan Matias

How can we use data to improve our lives, our communities, and the world at large? At the recent Microsoft Design Expo, students from eight universities showcased design projects along the theme of “making data useful.” To prepare for the Design Expo, students take a semester-long course, in connection with a liaison at Microsoft Research. [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

Is there such a thing as Christian hacking? The organizers of Code for the Kingdom, a 48-hour hack day with cash prizes, certainly believe so. Last month, almost 150 people gathered in San Francisco for Code for the Kingdom, a hackathon that gave away $11,000 in prizes to teams developing Christian projects. The event also [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

A few weeks ago, I received a fascinating package in the mail. It was a copy of the gospel of Luke interleaved with graph paper and QR codes. Uncover, designed and printed by UCCF: The Christian Unions, is a digital campaign within a well-established tradition of gospel distribution that goes back to the 19th century. [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

A version of this post originally appeared on the MIT Center for Civic Media’s blog. How can writers nurture great commenting communities while still engaging with the tough questions? Ta-Nehisi Coates Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor and blogger at The Atlantic and author of the memoir “The Beautiful Struggle,” spoke recently at MIT’s Media Lab. Before [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

Can high-resolution data and innovative technology help us create better representation of women in the news? I believe so. Over the next year, my thesis project is to design a series of articles, artistic pieces, and technologies for gender equity. I’m going beyond mudslinging and hand wringing to apply technology in constructive ways that can [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

Citizen journalism and social media have become major sources for the news, especially after the Arab uprisings of early 2011. From Al Jazeera Stream and NPR’s Andy Carvin to the Guardian’s “Three Pigs“ advertisement, news organizations recognize that journalism is just one part of a broader ecosystem of online conversation. At the most basic level, [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

If anything sums up this year’s MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, it was MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito’s argument for creativity and risk, encouraging us to pursue visions that we do not yet know how to describe. The Civic Media Conference is a new breed of gathering for networked thinking and doing: action research woven [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

During my work on Social Mirror, tablet tech for social checkups, I have been inspired by other amazing Media Lab social technologies. Here are 12 of the projects which I have found most inspiring, including one or two from other universities. Did I miss a project you love? Post your favorites in the comments. Social [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

Today with MIT Civic Media Center’s Matt Stempeck and Stephen Suen, I’m live-blogging ROFLCon, a conference for things and people who are famous on the Internet. The livenote index is here. Christina Xu, the event organizer, starts off ROFLCon to cheers. It’s an amazingly packed venue. “One out of eight people in this room have [...] more »

by J. Nathan Matias

How can technology help journalists make sense of complex issues and explain them to the public in a clear, understandable manner? Last year, Jay Rosen’s journalism students spent an entire semester researching and making explanations in partnership with ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom which focuses on investigative journalism. The class did amazing work to highlight notable [...] more »