Personal Democracy Forum rebooting america

ISBN 13: 9780981750903

rebooting america

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9780981750903: rebooting america
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it's time to reboot america.

When the Framers met in Philadelphia in 1787, they bravely conjured a new form of self-government. But they couldn t have imagined a mass society with instantaneous, many-to-many communications or many of the other innovations of modernity. So, replacing that quill pen with a mouse, imagine that you have to power to redesign American democracy for the Internet Age. What would you do?

This anthology offers forty-four essays, some large and sweeping, others more specific, that respond to this challenge. They are infused with the hopes of reenergizing, reorganizing, and reorienting our government for the Internet Age.

America s wonderful, messy experiment with a republican form of democracy is a work in progress, an unfolding story of astonishing possibilities and periodic disappointment. The storyline of this new century is the yawning chasm between the passion that Americans, particularly young people, have for a fair and just society, with the reality of near permanent incumbency for elected officials and a gridlocked political system.

Voting is our most visible political activity; it's easy to see and measure, but it s only a small part of the spectrum of political activities that form the backbone of our democracy. Political campaigns have begun to use an array of social media tools to connect with potential voters, but there are far greater uses for these tools beyond campaigns and elections. Social media and broad, enthusiastic participation together can profoundly affect governance and policy development, who runs for office and how, the communications between elected officials and citizens beyond elections, and the loosening of the death grip of moneyed, interests on politics and policies. This jarring juxtaposition of our political reality against the potential for great political change is vividly revealed in the awful uses of technology (e.g., touch-screen voting machines or microtargeting of voters by what beer they buy) versus wonderful uses of technology (e.g., cell phones used to mobilize voters or live-blogging of political events that engage thousands of people in direct conversation with candidates). Rebooting America is dedicated to understanding these differences and providing a vision of how we can realize our collective hope for a better future.

The essays are naturally as varied as the participants. They range from revisiting the need for checks and balances within government and between the government and its citizenry, to a radical reinterpretation of the public s right to know, to the exponential power of many-to-many deliberation to shape public policy. These essays confirmed our optimistic sense that the political system is due for substantive changes. Essayists Include:

Morra Aarons-Mele
Yochai Benkler
Lance Bennett
John C. Bonifaz
danah boyd
Harry C. Boyte
Matthew Burton
Steven L. Clift
Susan Crawford
Pablo del Real
Zack Exley
Allison H. Fine
Jan Frel and Nicco Mele
Julie Barko Germany
Newt Gingrich
Kaliya Hamlin
Richard C. Harwood
Scott Heiferman
Tara Hunt
Jeff Jarvis
Martin Kearns
Avery Knapp and Tennyson McCala
Gene Koo
Joshua Levy
Ellen Miller
Mark Murphy
Craig Newmark
Beth Simone Noveck
Andrew Rasiej
Glenn Harlan Reynolds
Howard Rheingold
Douglas Rushkoff
Clay Shirky
Micah L. Sifry
David B. Smith
Matt Stoller
Aaron Swartz
Nancy E. Tate and Mary G. Wilson
Zephyr Teachout
Brad Templeton
Joe Trippi
Michael Turk
David Weinberger
Marie Wilson

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About the Author:

Allison Fine is a civic futurist and writer dedicated to understanding the intersection between social change efforts and social media. Her first book, Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, was the winner of the Terry McAdams National Book Award and the Axiom Business Book Award.

She is a Senior Fellow on the Democracy Team at Demos: A Network for Change and Action in New York City, and a Senior Editor at the Personal Democracy Forum. Her paper, Social Citizens(beta) about the ways that young people are using social media for social change was released in May 2008 by The Case Foundation. She is a prolific writer and her articles have been published in the Boston Globe, San Jose Mercury Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is also a frequent contributor to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and The Huffington Post. Fine was the Founder and Executive Director of Innovation Network, Inc. from 1992-2004 and the C.E.O. of The E-Volve Foundation in 2004-2006.


Micah L. Sifry is co-founder and editor of the Personal Democracy Forum, a website and annual conference that covers the ways technology is changing politics, and TechPresident.com group blog on how the American presidential candidates are using the web and how the web is using them.


Andrew Rasiej is a social entrepreneur, futurist, and Founder of Personal Democracy Forum, an annual conference and community website about the intersection of politics and technology. He is also the co-founder of techPresident, an award winning group blog that covers how the 2008 presidential candidates are using the web, and how voter generated content (a term he coined) is affecting the campaign. In the 2004 presidential race he served as Chairman of the Howard Dean Technology Advisory Council. In 2005 he ran a highly visible campaign for Public Advocate of New York City, running in the Democratic primary on a platform to bring low cost wireless Internet access to all New Yorkers. He co-writes a bi-weekly column for Politico.com.


Personal Democracy Forum is an annual conference and online community that covers how technology and the Internet are changing politics. Started in 2003 by Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry, Personal Democracy Forum (PdF) has become the seminal gathering place for the growing community of leaders and activists from the increasingly interconnected worlds of technology, politics, journalism, blogging, and advocacy who want to make sure they stay on top of what s coming next.

The annual Personal Democracy Forum conference is a cross-partisan event. Keynoters in past years have included: Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Stanford University Professor Larry Lessig, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the Christian Coalition's Ralph Reed, Elizabeth Edwards, SEIU President Andy Stern, Arianna Huffington, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, political strategist Joe Trippi, and bloggers Markos Moulitsas, Hugh Hewitt, Jane Hamsher, Matt Stoller, and Josh Marshall.

PdF is also the home of techPresident.com, a group blog on how the candidates are using the web and how the web is using them, which was launched in February 2007. TechPresident.com covers the gamut of online campaign activities: from campaign websites, online advertising and e-mail lists to video postings on YouTube and who's got the fastest growing group of friends on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. TechPresident's Daily Digest e-mail newsletter has become a must-read for the many journalists, bloggers and activists who are watching how voter-generated content is changing the contours of the electoral process, and are learning how to adapt and thrive in this new world.

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