Old Year, New Year

There has been a lot in 2012.  A lot of travel, a lot of working, a lot of personal changes.  Though the year didn’t start off great, it has gotten progressively better.  I discovered that I have truly amazing group of friends who are brilliant and wonderful and supportive and kind, and who are there for me despite my very poor asking-for-help skills.  I also gained a lot of personal confidence in my work this year, which is mostly thanks to my awesome colleagues and mentors at the Center for Civic Media, Comparative Media Studies, and the Berkman Center.  It’s been an honor to be a part of these research communities for the past year, and I’ll be very sad to leave them next fall.

For those who like their “This Is The Year That Was” Reviews in list form, you can find that under the cut. And for everyone reading along at home, I hope your 2012 was also filled with good discoveries and happy realizations.  I hope your new year is filled with good food and kind faces, that you find something and learn something, that you share something and make something, and that if you discover you need help, you also discover your world is filled with friends who can.

This year in Professional Life:

-Delivered talks and papers at five different conferences (SXSW, PCA/ACA, HOPE, NewsFoo, 29c3), got to moderate a super fun panel at ROFLCon with Dan SinkerLatoya Peterson, and Biella Coleman, and got to talk about the apocalyptic potential of AI with Stephen Levy and others at the Doomsday Film Festival

-Attended nine conferences all together (all the above, plus DEFCON and the Global Voices Summit in Nairobi). This involved way more travel them I’m used to, and I’m not sure that was entirely a good thing.

-Published three non-academic articles (In Media Res, HiLowBrow (one of the top 25 posts for the year!), The Atlantic, and my article on DDOS tool design was accepted by a peer-reviewed journal

-Helped facilitate the Harvard-MIT-Yale-Columbia Cyberscholars Forum and the Berkman Fellows Hacker Culture Reading Group, which are both made up of super-cool people whom I’m delighted I get to hang out with on a regular basis

-Interned at the EFF, where I learned a lot, met amazing people, and was a member of the highest-ranked legal trivia team of interns! Wooooo!

-Applied to a million PhD programs (ok, less than that. Fingers crossed!)

This year in Personal Life:

-I moved! Twice!

-Lived in a new city by myself for three months without starving or getting crushed by something heavy. Yay for San Francisco!

-Learned double sided knitting!

-Completed an entrelac scarf!

-Added three new stamps to my passport (Kenya, Germany, Switzerland)

-Visited five states, two for the first time (Texas, Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada)

Goals for the next year:

Blog more: Right now I blog approximately once a month. It takes me a long time to write a blog entry I’m comfortable posting, and I favor length and polish over incomplete or experimental thoughts. In the spirit of “working in public,” I’d like to get better at writing and posting quickly, and posting less polished pieces with the goal of starting conversations rather than making statements.  If I could get up to posting once a week, even small 100-500 word items, I would be super happy.

Collaborate more: I often say that my favorite work mode is sitting in a corner by myself with my books and the Internet. While I haven’t been unsuccessful operating in this mode, Working Well With Others is a skill I’d like to improve in the coming year. Some collaborations are already in the works with friends and colleagues at the Berkman Center and at MIT. I’m really looking forward to these projects, especially as they will represent a break from the solitude and subject matter of my Masters thesis.

Revise more: This has to do with improving my workflow.  Working with Zeynep Tufekci on the review and editing process for my DDOS tool design article was a really enjoyable and enlightening experience. In the next year I’d like to make more time in the initial stages of projects for review and reflection. This will mean making and keeping to regular writing schedules, and respecting internally-imposed deadlines.

Knit more: This is code for “do things that aren’t related to school or the internet more.” Knitting, cooking, reading sci-fi novels, singing, and drawing/painting all fall into this category. It’s been said that my work/life balance maybe isn’t as great as it could be.  Next year I hope to have a little more “life” in the mix.