When it was announced that the President's Distinguished Speaker Series, the Kravis Leadership Institute, and the Athenaeum were going to bring Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to CMC, the word spread like a viral blog. On Wednesday night, the wait was over. The social media pioneer and entrepreneur spoke to a packed Athenaeum of curious and thoughtful attendees.
Hughes began his career as a developer and entrepreneur of new media in 2004, when he co-founded Facebook with his Harvard roommates and served first as the site's spokesperson, then as leader of its product and user experience team. In 2007, he became director of online organizing for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, where his success-generating grassroots support revolutionized the use of the Web as a political tool. Hughes helped Obama raise more than $500 million online, with over two million donations.
Hughes currently serves as editor-in-chief and publisher of The New Republic, a renowned American magazine of politics and culture. And while he may seem an unlikely champion of print magazines, as a respected digital innovator he is well positioned to both defend and revolutionize traditional journalism.
His Athenaeum talk, "The Changing Media Landscape: How Social Media is Transforming News and Information," focused on technology's impact in recent years on news production and consumption. The advent of blogging and the rise of other social media venues has empowered individuals outside the traditional circle of journalism to function as reporters and narrators of life events and issues, and cultivate audiences across the world. However Chris emphasizes, "The growth in social media does not mean the end of serious journalism".
Athenaeum Fellows David Leathers '15 and Meredith Reisfield '13 caught up with the Facebook co-founder for a few questions preceding the evening's event. Watch For more on this impactful and inspiring talk, read this article by Shannon Miller '16 in the CMC Forum.