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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: Launch Codes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 4 2014

The latest on the Crimea crisis; Sen. Al Franken casts doubt on the Comcast-Time Warner merger; Vice, Brookings and GovLab all have new launches; and much, much more. Read More

Editorial: How @Google And Friends Can Build Local Internet Power

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, March 26 2012

Poster from Google's Take Action page against SOPA/PIPA

Just over two months ago, somewhere around 10 million people emailed, called, faxed and otherwise cajoled their Members of Congress to express their opposition to the Stop Online Privacy (SOPA) and Protect IP (PIPA) Acts. An approximated 115,000 websites either went "dark" or joined the campaign in related ways, with Google, Wikipedia, Firefox, Wordpress, and Tumblr all playing leading roles. In two days, legislation that had been moving through Congress like a dose of salts was withdrawn from consideration, with dozens of Members suddenly announcing their opposition, including many who had originally supported the bills. The Internet had won, at least this once. Micah Sifry asks, now what? He writes: "We urgently need a conversation about one other huge piece of the puzzle: What's going to happen with all those email addresses Google and the other anti-SOPA groups collected from people who responded to their call to action on January 18th?" Read More

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street: First They Meetup, Then They Take Over

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 1 2011

On Monday, I heard Scott Heiferman of Meetup.com give a great five-minute rap to a group of foundation and nonprofit types on the relationship between communities and movements, with a focus on the surprising parallels ... Read More

#911Plus10: How 9/11 Begat Meetup.com

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 9 2011

Scott Heiferman by jdlasica, on Flickr Read More

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 ... Read More