Four years ago, at ETech 2004, O’Reilly hosted a seminal one-day Digital Democracy Teach-In, focused on how internet technologies were “putting power back into the hands of the people.” Well, how far have we come? In 2008, the internet has become a central battlefield for the presidential campaigns, but how much are they actually using the net to empower their supporters? How much are networked practices altering politics from the outside? In this talk, Micah L. Sifry, the co-founder of the award-winning <a href=”http://www.techpresident.com”>TechPresident.com blog, will review the landscape, covering the role of social networks, video-sharing, open-source fundraising, “onffline” organizing, and voter-generated content. We’ll also look at the leading candidates’ tech policy platforms and what to expect from the White House in 2009.
Micah L. Sifry is co-founder and editor of Personal Democracy Forum, a website and annual conference that covers the ways technology is changing politics, and TechPresident.com, an award-winning group blog on how the candidates are using the web and how the web is using them. In addition to organizing the annual Personal Democracy Forum conference with his partner Andrew Rasiej, he consults on how political organizations, campaigns, non-profits and media entities can adapt to and thrive in a networked world, and is currently a senior technology advisor to the Sunlight Foundation . From 1997-2005, he worked closely with Public Campaign, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on comprehensive campaign finance reform, as its senior analyst. Prior to that, Sifry was an editor and writer with The Nation magazine for thirteen years. He is the author of Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America (Routledge, 2002) and co-edited The Iraq War Reader (Touchstone, 2003), The Gulf War Reader (Times Books, 1991) and Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), with Nancy Watzman. He is also an adjunct professor at the Political Science Department of the City University of New York/Graduate Center, where he teaches a course called “Writing Politics.” His personal blog is at micah.sifry.com.