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Announcing PDF 2013 Theme "Think Bigger" + New Speakers!

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 12 2013

Every year we choose a theme for Personal Democracy Forum, our annual conference on how technology is changing politics, government and civic life. This year, for our tenth annual gathering, the theme is going to be "Think Bigger." We've chosen it in part to honor our late friend Aaron Swartz, who used that phrase it in an email he wrote me, where he asked, "Why not harness the power of the Internet to work on the larger-scale problems?" Why not, indeed.

Thinking bigger can also mean imagining how we can use the explosive growth in data and computing power, as well as the rapid spread of connection technologies into billions of hands, to approach problems in better ways. Bigger data and more powerful technologies can also mean bigger threats to freedom and bigger misunderstandings too--we're hardly of the view that just because it's technology that must mean it's changing things for the better. But as with every PDF conference, we're aiming to focus on the people, ideas and projects that are really making a positive difference in how the world works and people live.

To that end, we are also pleased to announce the following keynote speakers, joining our first group of exciting presenters:

Over the coming weeks, we'll continue fleshing out the rest of the PDF 2013 program. Watch this space for further announcements.

Register now.

HOW TO SUGGEST A SPEAKER OR PANEL: If you have an idea for a speaker or a suggestion for a panel, please email us at info@personaldemocracy.com with PDF 2013 in the subject line. Use "Think Bigger" as your guide, and feel free to look at past conference programs for inspiration. We can't guarantee that every proposal will make it into this year's program, but we promise to respond to all your suggestions.

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New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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