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Hi there! I'm 'professed'. That's how I plan on signing my contributions to Gemini-space, at any rate. IRL my name is Josh Braun. I'm an Associate Professor in the Journalism Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My work examines sociological questions surrounding online media distribution, as well as the influence of business-to-business enterprises, like ad tech firms, on the health of the media ecosystem. My book on digital distribution of TV news was published in 2015 by Yale University Press.
I'm the co-editor, with Ramon Lobato, of "Distribution Matters," a forthcoming series of books on media distribution from The MIT Press. And I'm currently working on another book of my own on the civic impacts of media circulation.
I hold a Ph.D. and M.S. in Communication from Cornell University. Once upon a time, I also earned a master's in Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania and an individual-concentration bachelor's degree in "Sciences in the Media" from the University of California Santa Barbara. Lastly, I'm a former science journalist, having worked as a junior editor for Seed Magazine and contributed to WNYC's Radio Lab.
My research on the impacts of ad tech and commercial surveillance on the health of the media ecosystem has made me fairly cynical about the web and open to alternative spaces that espouse an alternative ethos.
I'm also old enough to remember, and think nostalgically about, the internet as it existed before the web — back when you'd listen reverently to the squawking of your dial-up modem, then subsequently spend hours exploring FTP servers in search of cool files, telneting into strange bulletin boards and computer networks, and chatting with kind strangers over IRC.
I'm not naive enough to think that the early internet was free of issues, but I'm game to try anything that attempts to recapture the best aspects of it. And this seems like one of those opportunities. I look forward to exchanging ideas and making friends here in the best traditions of plaintext online spaces.
I'll add links to a few essays here whenever I get the chance to convert them to .gmi files. :-) I also hope to write some new stuff for my Gemini space.
You can reach me at my faculty email, jabraun [at] umass [dot] edu.
Because what is a space like this without a few of these?
> "Maybe the only gift is a chance to inquire, to know nothing for certain. An inheritance of wonder and nothing more." —William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways
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