Love Amsterdam like XO

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I have just returned from an awe-inspiring two-week trip to Amsterdam where I was enrolled in the University of Amsterdam’s Digital Methods Summer school.

The focus for this year was : Geolocation: Remote Event Analysis (Mapping Conflicts, Disasters, Elections and other Events with Online and Social Media Data)

The course involved a combination of new skills acquisition (umm, Gephi graphs!), deep data dives, and inspirational talks, all culminating in weekly research projects we worked on in groups. The first project we did was on the political discourse surrounding the world cup looking at how activists were ‘hijacking’ the official hashtags and platforms. This reminded me some of Clay Shirky’s Political Uses of Social Media classes at NYU. Man if only I had known about google scrapers then.


The second project we did was The City as Interface, where we worked with geosocial media platforms (such as Foursquare, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Meet-up, and Geocaching) to determine what kind of Amsterdam they present. Using digital research methods (like an awesome Pinterest crawler built by one of my teammates) we were able to identify the parochial and the public spaces of the city.

Not sure how far I’ll get with my skint knowledge of CatoDB in building complex geodata visualisations on my own – but I now know more than I did before. So, all in all, it was an awesome experience.

Here’s to the eternal student life!

The day I became a teacher….

I’ve always loved working with young people, but I never had the opportunity to teach till this Summer when I landed a graduate assisting job with the 2012 NYU Urban Journalism Workshop. The program has been running for over two decades mentoring and teaching minority teens in the New York interested in journalism. I was honoured to be chosen to continue that legacy. My work included helping the high school students with reporting writing, video shooting and editing, multimedia training as well as chaperoning. I became a bit of a digital consultant since I’m studio 20. It was awesome to realise that I now know enough about social media, digital and video production to teach others. I’m particularly proud of the video and slideshow packages since none of them had edited before and some had never picked up a camcorder – you can check out all the videos/slideshows here.

The students work is showcased on a news site called The Spectrum which was created and launched as a culmination of the programme.

All the students were such stars and we had so much fun. Check out some pics of the UJW babies… they’d die it if they knew that’s what we called them 🙂