2008 was the first Election in American History where bloggers and vloggers helped shape the political narrative and carry President Obama to the presidency. 4 years later, the Administration has not nurtured these pop cultural connections. Will the blogosphere turn out for Obama in 2012?
How do you get reliable information about elections? Many voters get their information about who is running for election and what the issues are from friends and family. Increasingly, those friends and family are online, getting their information from social media sources and passing it on. What’s the conversation between voters and election officials? What’s the potential for increasing civic engagement through social media? This panel will discuss breakthroughs and cautions, experiences and pointers. What you learn about who is using what and why will surprise you.
Most things in our lives are now custom fit. If we want coffee, we can order it 50 ways. If we want to watch a movie, we can choose between Netflix, iTunes, On Demand, etc. If we need a restaurant review, we have OpenTable, Yelp, etc. However, for one of the most important aspects of our life, politics, we still have only two "meat or fish" options. We are also at a point where people are more disaffected than ever by political parties. A Pew post-election poll in 2010 found for the first time in modern American history, Independents outnumbered Democrats and Republicans in terms of party affiliation. This need for tailoring our lives has now met our distaste for political institutions. While political parties will always be a piece of American politics, their relevance is being severely diminished by the growth of social media. The biggest political movements in the last year (Wisconsin, the Arab Spring, the Tea Party movement) all came together OUTSIDE of political institutions, not from within (and largely due to social media). This panel will discuss this trend.
In the United States, only 50% of people vote in presidential elections. That drops to 40% for midterm elections, and 10% for primary, local and special elections. Worldwide, we rank 138th in voter turnout. The Internet has made it easy to find your old friends from college; download any song you want; get shoes delivered the very next day, and help create social change by signing petitions, making donations and lobbying congress.So why hasn't the Internet made voting awesome? Seth Flaxman and Paul Schreiber of Democracy Works will talk about why the voting system is so broken, and how the Internet can route around inefficiency and bureaucracy to increase voter turnout and make voting fit the way we live today.
9th–13th March 2012