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Measuring Internet Activity: A (Selective) Review of Methods and Metrics

Measuring Internet Activity: A (Selective) Review of Methods and Metrics
Source: Berkman Center for Internet & Society (via Social Science Research Network)

Two Decades after the birth of the World Wide Web, more than two billion people around the world are Internet users. The digital landscape is littered with hints that the affordances of digital communications are being leveraged to transform life in profound and important ways. The reach and influence of digitally mediated activity grow by the day and touch upon all aspects of life, from health, education, and commerce to religion and governance. This trend demands that we seek answers to the biggest questions about how digitally mediated communication changes society and the role of different policies in helping or hindering the beneficial aspects of these changes. Yet despite the profusion of data the digital age has brought upon us — we now have access to a flood of information about the movements, relationships, purchasing decisions, interests, and intimate thoughts of people around the world — the distance between the great questions of the digital age and our understanding of the impact of digital communications on society remains large. A number of ongoing policy questions have emerged that beg for better empirical data and analyses upon which to base wider and more insightful perspectives on the mechanics of social, economic, and political life online. This paper seeks to describe the conceptual and practical impediments to measuring and understanding digital activity and highlights a sample of the many efforts to fill the gap between our incomplete understanding of digital life and the formidable policy questions related to developing a vibrant and healthy Internet that serves the public interest and contributes to human wellbeing. Our primary focus is on efforts to measure Internet activity, as we believe obtaining robust, accurate data is a necessary and valuable first step that will lead us closer to answering the vitally important questions of the digital realm. Even this step is challenging: the Internet is difficult to measure and monitor, and there is no simple aggregate measure of Internet activity — no GDP, no HDI. In the following section we present a framework for assessing efforts to document digital activity. The next three sections offer a summary and description of many of the ongoing projects that document digital activity, with two final sections devoted to discussion and conclusions.

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"Ike and Dutch: Mentor, Protégé, and Common Sense by Dr. Gene Kopelson" presentation at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

https://youtu.be/9jZSI6bF7d0

Published on Feb 24, 2017

As Ronald Reagan traveled across the United States campaigning for the highest office in the land, the Governor of California possessed an ace in his hand unmatched by his opponents: the ear and advice of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Reagan was in constant contact with Ike, following his advice at every turn and going so far as to base his entire 1966 campaign on his mentor’s own successful run years before. Eisenhower’s astute view of internal Washington politics, foreign affairs, military matters, and the swirling pool of primary rivals, provided his protégé the fuel he needed to learn, and eventually win, the war of words. In his latest book, Reagan’s 1968 Dress Rehearsal: Ike, RFK, and Reagan’s Emergence as a World Statesman, Dr. Gene Kopelson outlines the story of Reagan’s first presidential bid with an in-depth look behind the scenes. On Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Dr. Kopelson gave a lecture titled, “Ike and Dutch: Mentor, Protégé, and Common Sense,” to delve deeper into the relationship between Reagan and his mentor and how it not only shaped Reagan’s future campaigns, but his presidency, as well.

In his lecture at the USAHEC, Dr. Kopelson uses never-before-tapped audio clips, interviews with the original 1968 campaign staff, Eisenhower’s personal diary, and material straight from personal correspondence to show how Eisenhower influenced Reagan’s politics and eventually, his far-reaching presidential policies. From Reagan’s hawkish views on Vietnam to his perspective on the Arab-Israeli situation, his groundbreaking steps with Gorbachev and the Soviets to nuclear defense, Eisenhower and Reagan had a close and personal relationship which changed America’s future.

Lecture Date: February 15, 2017

Length: 52 Minutes
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