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O'Reilly Digital Democracy Teach-In
February 9, 2004

Featured Sessions

Session Detail 

Down from the Mountain: My Experience with the Dean Campaign
Former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi took Internet campaigning to a whole new level, and, in the process, catapulted the obscure ex-governor of Vermont to front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Trippi used the Internet to raise over $40 million in small donations, and to marshal a committed, decentralized corps of volunteer campaign workers. Dean may no longer be in the lead, but the political process will never be the same. Trippi will tell the story of how he used the Internet to change the rules of the game.

MoveOn: Bringing Ordinary People Back into Politics
In five short years, MoveOn.Org has become one of the largest and most effective advocacy organizations in the world, with more than two million members and a unique bottom-up style that allows the members to set the organization's priorities. MoveOn is working to bring ordinary people back into politics. With a system that today revolves around big money and big media, most citizens are left out. When it becomes clear that our "representatives" don't represent the public, the foundations of democracy are in peril. MoveOn is a catalyst for a new kind of grassroots involvement, supporting busy but concerned citizens in finding their political voice. Co-founder Wes Boyd will explain the principles and internet-based tools that make MoveOn so effective.

Advocacy as Application
If we think of democracy as a social/political operating system, advocacy is a key source of "application development," where advocacy groups and processes may be seen as the applications. The Internet can also be seen as an operating system where innovative applications support interactivity and social network development. Currently we see an explosion of activity as the synergy of the two systems is increasingly obvious as campaigns focused on candidates and issues of the day successfully form, enhance, and sustain coalitions using Internet applications along with traditional work on the ground. This panel will discuss best tools and practices for online advocacy, as well as online advocacy's impact on participatory democracy.

Effective Political Blogging
Blogging is the voice of the revolution. Unscripted, bottom up -- blogging lets people on the ground tell their own stories -- while syndication technology gives wide readership and lets news and insights bubble up to the top. This session will teach participants the essentials of successful blogging. What works. What doesn't. How to track the conversation flow and measure the impact of your own contributions using tools like feedster, technorati, blogdex and daypop.

Meetup and "On the Ground" Organizing
Strategists from both sides of the aisle note that Meetup and other tools for "on the ground" organizing have been even more important to their success than blogging. From Howard Dean's record-breaking Meetups and quick adaption by the all the leading Democratic presidential contenders to how the conservatives stake claim to the fasting growing Meetups of all time as forged by Townhall, the online voice of the Heritage Foundation, Scott Heiferman, founder of Meetup.com, will explain how Meetup works, and how it can be used to set up face-to-face meetings for your own local volunteers.

Electronic Voting and Transparency
The vote counting problems of the election in 2000 created much interest in improved voting systems. The natural inclination of many technologists would be to apply computer technology to the problem, but whether this can be done in a reliable and trustworthy way is a controversial subject. Many respected computer scientists don't think it can be done at all. This panel will explore the issues and let each side make its case. Come, listen, and decide for yourself.

Emergent Democracy Worldwide
While we're building great new tools to build communities, we've done very little to ensure that people around the world have access to them. And even when we've made it possible for people in developing nations to speak, we've done little to ensure that anyone listens. How do we ensure that the "Second Superpower" Jim Moore proposes includes the poor as well as the rich? When a new democratic structure emerges from highly-wired westerners, how do we ensure it's fair and just for those currently unwired? The answer is more complex than bridging the so-called "digital divide" - it involves bridging countless cultural divides. Emerging technologies make it easier than ever to bring first-person perspectives, as well as images, movies and music to people in other nations - is this enough to bring cultures together and ensure they care about one another?

View details for all sessions here.

View details about speakers here.

About the Teach-In

Don't miss our Conference CoverageDigital Democracy and ETech News!

TrackBack for the Teach-In

Internet technologies are putting power back into the hands of the people. Using blogs, MeetUp, cell phones, websites, and plain old email, citizen activists have already altered the face of the next US presidential election. In a less-noticed but potentially seismic shift, concerned citizens are using the same tools to have more say in the day-to-day tasks of governing. Are we on the verge of a fundamental shift towards truer democracy, or will these new Internet-fueled tools be co-opted to maintain the status quo?

We'll address that question and more at the O'Reilly Digital Democracy Teach-In, a day that brings together the pioneers who are re-inventing democracy for our networked world. Hear from those who are defying conventional wisdom and changing the rules of the game--whether they're supporting a political candidate, advocating for a cause, or pulling back the covers on the workings of their local government.

The O'Reilly Digital Democracy Teach-In will be co-located with the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. The Forum is slated for Monday, February 9, 2004 from 9am - 5pm at the Westin Horton Plaza.

Featured Speakers

Speaker Detail 

Joe Trippi, political consultant and former Dean Campaign Manager

Wes Boyd, co-founder of MoveOn.org

Britt Blaser, technology advisor to the Dean campaign.

Scott Heiferman, founder of Meetup.com

Jonah Seiger, Visiting Fellow with the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at George Washington University

Mitch Ratcliffe, President Internet/Media Strategies Inc.

Joi Ito, venture capitalist, blogger, author of Emergent Democracy

Doc Searls, blogger, co-author of The ClueTrain Manifesto

Jay Rosen, Associate Professor of Journalism, NYU

Jon Lebkowsky, CEO of Polycot, author, blogger, president of EFF Austin

William Greene, Founder and Director of RightMarch.com

Adina Levin, VP of Products at SocialText, director of the CyberLiberties project at the University of Texas.

Phil Windley, Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University, former CIO of the State of Utah

Ethan Zuckerman, founder of GeekCorps; fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School

Ed Cone, Senior Writer, Baseline Magazine newspaper columnist, blogger


Register here. Registration for the Teach-In is $100. If you've already registered for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and you want to add the Digital Democracy Teach-In to your registration, contact Linda Holder by email ( ) to update your registration. Please don't submit an additional registration.

Additional Information

For exhibition and sponsorship information, contact Andrew Calvo:

For registration questions, contact Linda Holder:

For media related inquiries, contact Suzanne Axtell:

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