Question Box Question: How do I start a career in internet research?

In an effort to blog just a fraction more than hardly ever, I’ve added the Question Box, where citizens of the internetz can submit their questions and thoughts and I will try my hardest to answer them. As with everything on the internet, YMMV.

The first Question Box Question comes from Grace:

I am currently in a job where I do online consumer behavior research and strategy work. I love it, but I would prefer to use the skill for “good” (education) instead of “evil” (advertising/direct benefit of large corporations). I feel like a research role would be a great fit for me and would allow me to delve deeper into cultural trends and patterns, particular segments and issues, etc. However, the financial/time investment of moving my career in this direction is daunting, as you need a PHD. (I only have a BA). Where would you recommend someone start if they want to explore this as an option? Is there anything you would you have done differently on your journey to where you are in your education/career?

TL;DR: What advice would you give someone looking to research internet culture as their career?

The first job I ever had as an internet researcher, as an RA at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, I got straight out of undergrad.  The idea that you need an advanced degree to do research, especially in the field of internet culture is, as a colleague just told me, “an enormous crock.”  One of the great things about this field is that it’s still very much an open playground. A lot of the most important work is being done by people without tenure or a shiny endowed chair.

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What I Did at SXSWInteractive: Hackers in the Media!

First, I’d like to point out that I’m posting this blog entry FROM A PLANE IN THE SKY.  How awesome is this particular slice of the future?

SXSW was, as usual, awesome and exhausting and loud.  I had a great time delivering my talk on depictions of hackers in the media and how that affects computer crime legislation and jurisprudence.  The audience was engaged and sharp, with excellent questions.  There’s a recording of the talk floating around somewhere, but until I find it, please check out my slides from the presentation.  There will also be a paper coming out of this research, so stay tuned for that as well.

EDIT: Audio from my talk is now up! (and when I say that the CFAA was passed in the mid nineties, what I meant to say was it was passed the mid eighties.  Oops. ::facepalm:: )