Ethan Zuckerman

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Ethan Zuckerman
Ethan Zuckerman
Nationality American
Alma mater Williams College
Occupation Media scholar

Ethan Zuckerman is an American media scholar, blogger, and Internet activist. He is the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media and the author most recently of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection, which won the Zócalo Book Prize.[1]


He is a graduate of Williams College, spent a year in Accra, Ghana on a Fulbright scholarship, and currently resides in Lanesborough, Massachusetts with his wife Rachel Barenblat.

Zuckerman is on the board of directors of Ushahidi,[2] Global Voices,[3] and the Ghanaian journalism training nonprofit, PenPlusBytes.[4]

Zuckerman was one of the first staff members of, one of the first successful "dot com" enterprises, where he worked from 1994 to 1999. There, he was in charge of the design and the implementation of the website which, at that time, marketed content and services to recent college graduates. The business model of this website was exclusively based on advertising. After a major car company, actually an advertiser using this website, freaked out that they had bought a banner ad on a page that celebrated anal sex, Zuckerman decided to imagine a way to associate an ad with a user’s page without putting it directly on the page. The solution was to open a new dedicated window with only the ad in it: the popup ad was born. While he claims having only written the code to open a new window, since then, he is considered as the popup inventor.[5]

In 2000, he founded Geekcorps and 2004, Global Voices Online.[6]

He won the MIT Technology Review "Technology in the Service of Humanity" award in 2002 for his work on Geekcorps[7] Ethan has been a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, where he is also a long-time fellow. His work at the Berkman Center has included research into global media attention,[8][9] as well as the co-founding of Global Voices in collaboration with Rebecca MacKinnon. For some years he was also a contributing writer for, where he served as president of the board of directors.

In January 2007, he joined the inaugural Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board.

In 2008, he coined the cute cat theory of digital activism.[citation needed]

In 2011, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers, in which he stated the Best idea is "The world isn't flat and globalization is only beginning, which means we have time to change what we're doing and get it right".[10] Also in September of that year, he became the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media.[11]

Works by Zuckerman[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ethan Zuckerman Wins Zócalo’s Fourth Annual Book Prize". Zócalo Public Square. 
  2. ^ "Board of Directors". Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Board of Directors". Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "About Penplusbytes: Board of Directors". Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Zuckerman, Ethan (14 August 2014). "The Internet's Original Sin: It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web.". The Atlantic. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Zuckerman, Ethan. "Ethan Zuckerman | Berkman Center". Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Retrieved 22 April 2006. 
  7. ^ "2002 TR100". Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Zuckerman, E. (2004). "Global Attention Profiles - A Working Paper: First Steps Towards a Quantitative Approach to the Study of Media Attention". SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.487943.  edit
  9. ^ Zuckerman, E. (2007). "Meet the bridgebloggers". Public Choice 134: 47–65. doi:10.1007/s11127-007-9200-y.  edit
  10. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Ethan Zuckerman, cyberscholar and activist, to lead MIT Center for Civic Media,". MIT News. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]