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First POST: Positive Sums

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 11 2014

How Teachout won some wealthy districts while Cuomo won some poor ones; DailyKos's explosive traffic growth; using Facebook for voter targeting; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Messiness

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, September 8 2014

The latest in NY Democratic gubernatorial primary politics; how the Internet Slowdown protest is gearing up; Reddit as a "new type of community"; and much much more. Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

First POST: Fireworks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 4 2014

Why business should defend "net neutrality"; the civic tech scene in Chicago; the tech money behind a Washington state gun control initiative; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: If We Didn't Have the Open Web

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 15 2014

Why net neutrality matters to people angry about police brutality; how online tools enabled dozens of nationwide vigils responding to Ferguson; why we're not winning the war on online trolls; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Leaking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 8 2014

Are there now three national security leakers?; Yahoo Mail to get PGP friendly; where young libertarian voters may turn; how small donors and online clickers are making politics worse; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Polarization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 5 2014

How social media is making Israeli-Palestinian polarization worse; Brigade's plans to be an online "civic network," Turbovote's expansion across Florida campuses; and much, much more. Read More

[Op-Ed] Civic Tech and Engagement: How City Halls Can Help Construct Stronger Neighborhoods

BY Susan Crawford | Tuesday, July 29 2014

Boston's new District Hall, a public-private partnership for civic innovation

Last week, the UN reported that more than half of humanity now lives in cities; by 2050 two-thirds of people will, up from just 30% in 1950. Given the grave challenges facing the world's booming urban areas—including global warming, economic dislocation, and crumbling basic infrastructure, among other torments—tomorrow's mayors will need to take bold steps to ensure their constituents live in dignity and safety. But public distrust of dysfunctional, faceless government is profound, resources are limited, gaps between groups are widening, and many are unaware of the role of government in their lives—which makes citizens less likely to support major initiatives. One way to fill the drained reservoir of public trust in municipal government, writes Susan Crawford, is to make city hall more visibly—and continuously—responsive. Digital technology can help: by using data to optimize the use of limited city resources and communicate clearly (with a friendly voice) across a range of platforms, a city can make life noticeably better for its citizens. Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 24 2014

An old-fashioned barn-raising in Lansing, Canada (circa 1900-1919)

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: How SeeClickFix is Changing the Fabric of Local Reality

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 24 2014

To see how people using the Internet can thicken civic engagement in deep and positive ways, there is no better example than SeeClickFix.com, a community platform that was founded in 2008 by Ben Berkowitz, a computer programmer living in New Haven, Connecticut, and his friends Miles and Kam Lasater and Jeff Blasius. Read More