The goal of our new Institute is to spur real, practical changes in how online social media works. RSM aims to generate, identify, elevate, and connect work across disciplines and sectors, and to see how efforts in one sector or mode—say, technical—might intersect with efforts elsewhere, such as in the legal and policy realms.
A cornerstone of the Institute is its sociotechnical approach. Institute participants will analyze the benefits, risks, and possibilities of networked communication using broad perspectives from science, law, public governance, economics, design, engineering, and other fields. Through this collaborative and holistic approach, the Institute seeks to enable online ecosystems that encourage technical and social innovation and mitigate social harms.
Our team leads this initiative, which is situated within the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society This Fall, the Institute will welcome nine visiting scholars and a cohort of fellows to take up work across the legal, technical, and institutional engineering tracks.
The Institute and its programs are supported by generous contributions from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Reid Hoffman, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and Archewell Foundation.
Our Three Pillars of Work
As an interdisciplinary research center with a global scope, our interests and activities range across a broad spectrum of topics related to how the Internet and technology affect our lives, our society, and our world.
Develop new ideas, analysis, and theory and strengthen existing ideas that could make progress in the digital social sphere. (e.g. papers, digital humanities projects, op-eds and other public writing)
Analysis and Theory
Build expertise, interest, and networks for students and professionals to work in the social media field in the public interest, broadly defined. Bring in new voices who have a stake in the conversation but aren’t yet part of it. Host convenings for brainstorming and sharing solutions and ideas. (e.g. public events, workshops, student groups)
Building the Field
Build, support, and strengthen tangible ideas and prototypes that could be implemented or show new possibilities for future implementation to improve the state of the digital social sphere. (e.g. code, draft policy, tools)
Engineering and Policy Development