My name is Chris Peterson. My title – all Serious People have titles, and I am nothing if not Serious – is Admissions Counselor for Web Communications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, like Dave, perhaps it is simpler to introduce myself as part of the team of people that have joined together like a Megazord to become the new Ben. I don’t recall much about the process, but I seem to remember it as going something like this:
(dramatic simulation – actual results may vary)
As one of the constitutive elements of this new borg-Ben newly arisen from the digital ooze, my job is to help make the Internet go for the Admissions Office. If I wanted to be “professional” – which is to say, if I wanted to obscure my individual unimportance behind interlocking bulkheads of buzzwords, like a pufferfish wrapped in chain mail and festooned with mines – I would say that I leverage social software to facilitate digital conversations between MIT and its latent global community. If I wanted to be truthful, I’d say I try to use cool technology to help MIT and prospective students talk to each other.
This blog is a huge part of that effort. It’s fairly incredible that MIT allows both current and prospective students to converse openly as they do on this site. It is perhaps unsurprising that MIT jumped aboard the cluetrain in this regard – to paraphrase Matt McGann, Tim Berners-Lee does work upstairs, and if we didn’t use the web as a way to freely share information he’d probably whack us upside the head – but it is no less unique for that. The fact of the matter is that MIT could survive without this blog and avoid a lot of potential headaches and most of my salary. However, the Institvte recognizes that conversations bring communities together, and so here we are, sharing our hopes and dreams through wires and screens and it’s awesome enough that I’ll even put up with Dave’s lolcats to be a part of that vision.
One thing I’d like to do is figure out some shiny new toys to add to the already shiny site we have here. Dave and I are working on some Top Secret web projects that we’ll be rolling out in the indefinite future, projects that will help the entire MIT community (past, current, and prospective) share its considerable collective intelligence and enrich all involved. In the tradition of a true webitocracy, if anyone has any ideas about cool tools or features they’d like to see incorporated into the website, please post something about it and why you think it rocks. Time permitting and FSM willing, we’ll see if we can work it in.
I can’t wait to work with all of you to continue to build what Ben began:
an intergalactic space empire run by an alien witch living in a dumpster on the moon a first-class online community for some of the best and brightest students in the world.