Here’s my list of culture hackers. By intent and design, they use the Internet as a positive cultural force. Hats off to them.
Karen McGrane wants to make the Internet more awesome. She delivers by creating usable digital products and content strategy through the power of user experience (UX) design. Currently, she’s one of the voices accelerating responsive design, a technology makes content mutable to easily format for any size screen. It’s an innovation that will further democratize web-based publishing. A content strategy guru, McGrane is managing partner at Bond Art + Science, where she develops interaction designs for a broad range of clients. A proponent for elevating the quality of online advertising, McGrane asserts “If you’re a UX (user experience) person, and you’re going in to talk to your clients with a snotty, condescending attitude about advertising, then you’re not doing your job. If you hate ads, then figure out a way to make the experience of ads better.” Now that would truly make the Internet more awesome. Follow her @karenmcgrane.
Liza Daly is changing the world of books. In 2008, she developed Bookworm, one of the first open source EPUB readers, and in 2010 she released Ibis Reader, the first HTML5 ebook platform. She was the lead developer on major online products for Oxford University Press and engineered e-resources for Columbia University Press. Founder of threepress, Daly helps publishers play catch-up in a world exploding with free content and she charts the course for the book industry’s future as a member of the Board of Directors for the International Digital Publishing Forum. Follow her @liza.
Shelley Bernstein keeps the Brooklyn Museum breathless at the cutting edge of social technologies. She engages audiences with projects like web-casting a 28-foot tepee being built in the museum or by testing people’s art smarts with a visual art quiz. Her efforts have expanded the museum’s reputation globally, making her a role model for museums around the world struggling to transform the connection between their content and audiences in a digital era. You can join one of the 403,000 Twitter followers Bernstein has cultivated @brooklynmuseum or check out her personal feed @shell7.
Constance Steinkuehler pioneered the idea that multi-player online games could change the way we teach and learn. She studies, for example, why teenage boys who are struggling readers can plow through complex video game instructions. Currently, she advises on national policy relating to the impact of video games on learning at the Office of Science and Technology Policy for the Obama Administration. A founding fellow of the Games+Learning+Society Initiative, Steinkuehler chairs the annual Games, Learning & Society Conference. In 2009, she served on the National Academy of Sciences committee on games. Follow her @officeofedtech.