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Announcing PdF Meetup Everywhere Day July 12

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, June 23 2011

For a couple of years, our friend Scott Heiferman, the founder of Meetup.com, has been urging us to start holding Personal Democracy Forum local meetups in addition to our annual conference. A year ago, he announced the creation of Meetup Everywhere, a very cool free tool that is designed to enable anyone with a cause or common interest to spark simultaneous meetings around the world. Since then, we've been thinking, why not see what happens when people who are excited by PdF's focus on how technology is changing politics, government and civic life get together locally? So, after eight years of cultivating the field and building our core community, we've decided to take a leap of faith. The seeds are scattering on the wind, and we're excited to see what sprouts.

Join us for the first-ever Worldwide Personal Democracy Forum (PdF) Meetup Day this July 12! Whether or not you attended our 2011 conference in New York City last June 6-7, this is a great opportunity to come together with fellow PdFers in your community. This is an experiment that only you can help make happen. So far, there are more than a dozen PdF Meetups in formation, including New York City, Washington, San Francisco, San Juan and Sydney, Australia! If you don't see a PdF Meetup in your community, you can start one yourself.

While every Meetup is different, based on the people who come, to help you set a framework for conversation, either before you attend or at the Meetup itself, we are asking attendees to watch Jim Gilliam's amazing "The Internet is my Religion" talk from PdF 2011. Jim's talk expresses some very inspiring views about the power of being networked to change and better lives, and has since received countless views across various channels - it was even recently featured on Oprah Winfrey's blog (if you haven't seen the video, watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4WKle-GQwk). Our attendees have declared this to be one of the best and most provocative presentations delivered during PdF's eight years of holding conferences, and we agree. So, we're suggesting that you use "The Internet is My Religion" as the jumping-off point for your Meetup conversation.

Please note, PdF is a nonpartisan community. Please don't use your PdF Meetup as a place to debate partisan issues. Instead, we are asking that focus on how people, using the Internet, are changing the way politics, government and society works. Come to your Meetup having watched Jim's video and ready to delve into what is sure to be an enlightening discussion on the way the Internet impacts the world.

Some questions you can use to get the conversation started:
-How has the Internet changed your life?
-Do you think it is making politics or government work better?
-What are some local networking projects that you like?

Once you RSVP on our Meetup page, post a comment giving a short description of yourself and why you're joining the PdF community. If you want, mention what kind of work you do. Also, be sure to take photos at the event and share them with us at meetup@personaldemocracy.com. Tweet using the hashtag #PdFmeetup. Thanks, and enjoy your Meetup!

A final note: This is a one-time call, not a push for monthly meetings. But depending on the feedback we get from you, and the kind of meetup you have, we're certainly open to the idea of monthly PdF Meetups evolving from this first one. From tiny seeds mighty trees may grow.