As you might be aware, I have accepted a place at the Oxford Internet Institute (part of Oxford University) to study an MSc in the Social Sciences of the Internet. The course starts at the beginning of October. My key focus will be on the philosophy and sociology of information access. I’d like to research echo chambers and their impact on society.
You may wonder why I’ve chosen to formally educate myself further in this area when I’m already running the ECC.
I firmly believe that if you want to find a solution to a problem then you first need to know exactly what the problem is. I would like to be around the best possible people to help me figure out how information can and should be accessed online. What would work best for a democracy? How are online communities (large and small) currently structured? How do we regain trust in the ‘facts’ we see online? And who will own future platforms and how might they be monetised?
The hope is I might be able to turn the ECC into a robust and credible organisation which can promote better methodologies for information access as well as improve the way we communicate in a digital world.
However, you should not underestimate the amount of work required to complete a Masters at Oxford. Already working on the ECC is a full-time job. Although some of this work will be accelerated and condensed into the studying I’ll do for the degree, at the same time I have to be realistic about the administrative work that eats up the bulk of my time. This includes marketing, media monitoring, finding potential contributors and writers for the ECC newsletter and podcast, financial upkeep and putting articles into the correct format for our various types of distribution. For this reason, to ensure that the Echo Chamber Club continues, I would like to raise enough money to pay an employee to take the administrative and marketing work off my hands.
I will still be intrinsically involved in the project. I will ensure that we are going out of our way to find different points of view. I will ensure we keep our editorial integrity and mission statement.
I’m not looking for a crazy amount of money either. A few thousand pounds a month will enable me to hire the quality person I need. Given this is a social project, I’m hoping to raise this money via donations from institutions, corporations and individuals. These entities will become our sponsors and patrons.
So I need your help!
If you know an organisation, institution or individual who is troubled by information access in the Western world, who cares about innovative and out-of-the-box thinking, and wants to support independent curated journalism, and may be able to offer a substantial monthly donation then please get in touch! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.