Something quite amazing happened this past week. I was called up by young green (Mp) politician Jakop Dalunde. Apparently he works for the thinktank Fores (with a green liberal profile) and his area of responsibility is "digial freedoms and rights" ("programområdet digitala fri- och rättigheter"). Although non-political, the political parties closest to Fores' point of view would seem to be the Center (C) and the environmental (Mp) parties. This was just the non-amazing background, so quickly on now to the more amazing part:
1. Jakop had found a bachelor's thesis that was was written by two of our students two years ago (2010). I was their thesis advisor and Jakop called me to get help to get in touch with the (ex-)students.
2. Jakop had read the thesis (quite amazing in itself as the thesis competes for his attention with "everything else that has been written in the world"). Not only had he read it, but he liked it very much.
3. Jakop wanted to invite the authors/ex-students to a seminar that Fores is organizing this summer at the Almedalen week. The Almedalen week (official homepage) is a yearly event, the premier event in Sweden for politicians, lobbyists and decision makers to meet and schmooze and it is held in Gotland during the first week of July.
The thesis in question was written by Amel Wely and Dhavyd Vanderlei and it's called "Personlig integritet i social medier: En studie av ungdomars privatliv i Facebook" ("Personal integrity in social media: A study of people's privacy on Facebook" [sic]) - abstract in Swedish and English, pdf of the report.
The specific event he wanted to invite them to is described as follows in a follow-up mail from Jakop:
En sak vi kommer göra är att ha ett seminarium i Almedalen och vi tänkte snäva in oss på integritet i sociala medier. Om frågor kring hur sociala medier påverkat det offentliga samtalet, människors förhållande till privat/offentlig sfär och tillit till de företag som tjänar pengar på deltagande i sociala medier.
Vi skulle också vilja komma in på gränsdragningen på vad som enskilda användare måste ta ansvar för och vad som är upp till politiken att säkerställa.
Den formella progamtexten är som följer:
"Rättigheter uppe bland molnen – hur värnas individens integritet i sociala medier?
När hela våra digitala liv finns lagrade på en server på andra sidan världen - vad har användaren för rättigheter och kontroll över den information man delar med sig i sociala medier? Tankesmedjan FORES bjuder in till seminarium om hur en progressiv nätpolitik främjar frihet och öppenhet."
Great fun with transfer between the academy and society/politics and one of the two authors is very interested in going. I hope that 1) he gets to go to Almedalen and talk, and that 2) I get some kind of short information/report about it afterwards.
I still happen to think that a bachelor's thesis that was written that same year (2010) should have garnered an official KTH press release - but the students in question didn't want to. I was of course the advisor, or I wouldn't write or know about the thesis in question... The thesis is called "Blogg: Med metriken i fokus ("Blog measurement"). It treated politicians' use of (or lack of use of) social media and it was published very timely, just before the last election to the national parliament. Abstract in Swedish and English, pdf of the report.