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Howard Rheingold on Congress, Digital Literacy, and Making Political Movements

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, May 24 2012

From Congress to the classroom, digital literacy is a key skill that's often sorely lacking, Howard Rheingold, author of the new book "Net Smart: How to Thrive Online," said on Thursday's Personal Democracy Plus call — but there are ways to change that.

Rheingold derided "the degree of technological ignorance" in government and in particular Congress. "It's worse than ignorance," he said. "It's know-nothingness ... it's so endemic." During the fight over the Stop Online Piracy Act, members of Congress could often be heard pleading their ignorance of the Internet and its inner workings even as debating legislation that some said would alter the structure of the global communications network.

The call, moderated by TechPresident editorial director Micah Sifry, was recorded and is available online here.

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PD+ This Thurs 1pm: Thriving Online With Howard Rheingold

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, May 22 2012

I'm really looking forward to talking with author Howard Rheingold this Thursday on the next PD+ teleconference. His new book, Net Smart, is a concise and thoughtful guide to understanding and making the most of the ... Read More

Split by SouthWest: My SXSW 2012 Diary

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 15 2012

danah boyd and Alex Howard at SXSW 2012 (Photo by Micah L. Sifry)

PDM editorial director Micah L. Sifry spent last Friday through Monday at South by SouthWest Interactive, attending panels, keynotes and hanging out. Here's his report: SXSW is still a place where sessions packed with thousands of attendees cheer for the iconoclasts and the game-changers. It is also much more of a business networking conference than an internet futurists' playpen. In short, it has a split personality. Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

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

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? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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