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Chairman of NY TechMeetup. Professional Doer and Founder of Personal Democracy Media


Philadelphia Inquirer: Social Media and the 2012 Election

By Andrew Rasiej

Last year the world watched as Arab Spring protesters used the Internet and social media to organize demonstrations and to share them in real time across the globe, toppling Middle East dictators and reordering human history.

This year, technology and social media sites, most visibly Facebook and Twitter, continue to have a dramatic impact on the political world.

In January, millions of people signed online petitions and contacted members of Congress protesting efforts to pass poorly crafted legislation on online piracy. Lawmakers were forced to withdraw the bills. Similarly the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation was forced to reverse course on Planned Parenthood after a massive public outcry over its suspension of funding to the organization. And an international firestorm ensued after a small not-for-profit organization called Invisible Children brought attention to its cause — and in some cases not-so-welcome scrutiny upon itself — after it posted its Kony 2012 documentary.

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Can a Tech Meetup Change the World?

Interview with @Mashable

New York Tech Meetup was founded in 2004. Each month, 10 companies get the floor for up to five minutes to demo something cool to 22,000 members of New York’s tech community — geeks, investors, entrepreneurs, developers and hackers included. In short, they’re interested in game-changing technology that will level the playing field.

“The Internet is much more mature than it was ten years ago,” says Andrew Rasiej, chairman of New York Tech Meetup. “The systems that were designed in the 20th century are now being challenged by networks, and those networks don’t really care for top-down hierarchy, they don’t really care about nation-state borders, they don’t really care about diplomatic channels — they care about connectivity, they care about openness, they care about trust.”

The maturing Internet has birthed a new entity, what Rasiej dubs the “Internet Public” — and you’ve heard its voice during the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements. These social movements invested in social media to organize themselves, gather their voices and challenge authority. While SOPA and PIPA bills were before Congress, 2,000 people showed up for an “emergency meetup” to protest outside the offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand. “The next day, Congress pulled those bills from consideration,” says Rasiej. “The authorities now are realizing that these forces have been unleashed, and they’re trying to put the genie back in the bottle,” say Rasiej.

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Keen On… Politics: How The Internet Offers The Opportunity To Create We-Government

There are few more articulate or passionate commentators on digital politics than Andrew Rasiej, the founder and CEO of Personal Democracy Media and the organizer of the upcoming Personal Democracy Forum. As Rasiej told me when we talked in New York City earlier this month, the Internet offers the opportunity to create what he calls “we-government” – a much more accountable and transparent form of 21st Century politics than the type of governance that existed in the 20th century. But for this to happen, Rasiej reminded me, politicians need to be able to distinguish between “a server and a waiter” and we need to dilute the impact of money on our political process.

While Rasiej is critical of traditional politicians and political parties, he also recognizes that online activists have much to learn. “It’s a lot easier to say no to something than yes,” he says, suggesting that the real challenge now for digital political networks is to come up with viable policy and organizational alternatives to the status quo. Rasiej also gave me his insights into how social media would have a “massive” impact on the 2012 Presidential election and how even President Obama needs to more fully embrace the democratic nature of online networks.

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The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

The Daily Show April 4th 2012: Spamalot

So Now I can say I appeared on The Daily Show!

And what John Stewart claims here is what I've been saying for a long time; What Barack Obama promised as I call We-Government thanks to the use of Social Media, has become an I-Government just looking for foundraising without really connecting with the people.


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Mayor Warns on The Pitfalls of Social Media

Nicky Loh/Getty ImagesBy Michael M. Grynbaum for The New York Times | March 21, 2012

On Twitter, he is @MikeBloomberg, a popular online avatar with more than 230,000 followers. His official Foursquare account leaves tips about Shake Shack and Kennedy International Airport. And his Facebook page energetically promotes the programs and values of New York City Hall.

But the actual Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg? When it comes to social media, he has a few concerns.

In a speech on Wednesday in Singapore, where he received a prize for urban sustainability, Mr. Bloomberg spoke about the difficulties of leading a city into the future amid a political culture that is often focused on the short term.

The mayor noted that technology, despite its benefits, can add new pitfalls to an already grueling process. “Social media is going to make it even more difficult to make long-term investments” in cities, Mr. Bloomberg said.

“We are basically having a referendum on every single thing that we do every day,” he said. “And it’s very hard for people to stand up to that and say, ‘No, no, this is what we’re going to do,’ when there’s constant criticism, and an election process that you have to look forward to and face periodically.”

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