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Egypt

Egypt has been called the center of Arab civilization, and today it is the red hot center of the Arab Spring. What happens there is influencing the entire region, and creating ripples even in places like Madison, Wisconsin. Below, links to features covering some of the seminal leaders and moments in Egypt's struggle to create a more democratic future.

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Civic Hacking

Today, government and public life is being reimagined and reconfigured by a new generation of civic engineers. Only instead of using concrete and steel, they're using data and code. Some come from inside government, where they're opening up public data to outsiders and inviting developers to work with them on new kinds of services and apps. Others aren't waiting for government to act, and they're hacking on the public space using data that they scrape from government sites along with bottom-up data that the public itself generates and shares.

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Grassrootsiness

Watch out. Just because a campaign is using social media or getting a lot of support online, doesn't mean it's really grassroots. Claims of money raised via the Internet, as well as tallies of small donations versus large donors, or other newer metrics of public participation like Twitter retweets or YouTube views, don't prove anything. Such signs offer hints that a candidate or movement is resonating with the public, nothing more. If anything, campaigns often want to encourage the appearance of being "grassroots" while obscuring where the real money and power resides.

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Organizing for America

After the 2008 presidential election, the Obama for America political machine that carried Barack Obama to the White House went through its own transition, eventually emerging as a semi-independent arm of the Democratic National Committee called "Organizing for America." Many people thought OFA would be Obama's secret weapon, an internet-powered grassroots army that could push Members of Congress from below while Obama used the more traditional bully-pulpit powers of the presidency. The reality, as we all know now, was a lot more complicated.

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Blogging

Someday we'll probably stop talking about bloggers, the same way that no one refers to people who use phones as "phoners." But blogging deserves its own category because the phenomenon so clearly illustrates how the old boundaries between professionals and amateurs have fallen in this age of hyper-connection and hyper-empowerment. Political bloggers in particular are of special interest because of their ability to nurture communities of readers, followers and participants.

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Romney 2012

The Republican primary of 2011-2012 is more than a battle for the privilege to take on the incumbent, President Barack Obama. It's also a test-bed for Republican political-tech consultants and activists alike, who are all trying a mix of old and new tactics to attract support, engage volunteers and win over voters and donors. As we did with the presidential contest four years ago, we're tracking all the candidates and their online operations, along with the efforts of citizen activists to use the web to move the election their way.

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Hip or Hype?

This is where we distinguish between the truly important and the simply shiny, the technology efforts that matter and the ones that are just fluff, the bold claims vs the reality. From social media to fundraising to community engagement, there's plenty of hype. We need to become digitally literate enough to distinguish what is smoke and what is real. What follows is an eclectic selection of posts that try to put the discussion on solid ground.

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Debates 2.0

Can we use interactive real-time media to make the political process more engaging and accountable? In particular, can we make candidate debates and live town halls into something more than a joint TV appearance for the regurgitation of sound-bites and talking points? Since 2007, we've had more than a detached interest in this topic, launching our own interactive platform for crowdsourcing questions called 10Questions.com. We've worked with partners like the Knight Foundation, the Omidyar Network and Yahoo! News and Finance to try to inject some new ideas into the process.

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SOPA/PIPA

The battle over so-called 'online piracy' has awakened a sleeping tiger. For years, the Internet community has been outgunned and outspent by Hollywood and the copyright cartel in Washington. Now, proposed legislation that would enable the government to take drastic action against rogue websites and force internet service providers to police content moving through their services far more stringently has triggered a growing response from tech companies large and small.

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Timeline

Technology is changing politics, government and civic life. We built this timeline to show the accelerating pace of change in the United States, in the international arena, and online. The initial research was done by Kristina Redgrave, Diane Chang, Becky Kazansky, Andrew Seo and Micah Sifry, and edited by Micah Sifry. It is a work-in-progress. To view the actual timeline, visit this page: www.techpresident.com/timeline. This topic page aggregates our ongoing updates to the timeline.

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