Ethan Zuckerman, Class of 1993

zuckerman-outsideWe forgive you. Yes, you invented the popup ad, but perhaps because of being married to a rabbi, you have spent the rest of your life atoning. In the first dotcom wave, you helped develop the Williams-based startup Tripod, the first company to make it easy to post on the web. Combining your love of Africa, technology, and social change, you then founded Geekcorps, which mobilized volunteers to help build computer infrastructures in developing economies. You co-founded the citizen media reporting network Global Voices Online, and have become in a way the conscience of the Internet, pointing out its shortcomings and helping imagine and develop tools through which new media can become not just social but civic. You direct MIT’s Center for Civic Media, focused on meeting just these needs. Your frequent speeches and writings challenge all of us to use technology mindfully to both broaden and deepen our civic engagement. MIT Technology Review has given you its “Technology in the Service of Humanity Award” and Foreign Policy magazine has listed you as a top global thinker. We’re tempted to say, “Enough already,” but will instead look forward to seeing how much further you can lead this effort to harness the Internet for social change.