To What End? Introducing Democracy Online

    by Steven Clift
    October 16, 2007

    Over the next year as a Knight News Challenge “ideas blogger,” I’ll be blogging a bridge between my world of online citizen engagement and the world of online news/citizen media.

    As far as I can tell, both areas overlap as hosts of extensive expression. The end goals differ with media folks looking at news generation as the primary objective and online citizen engagement focused on participation and public problem-solving.

    I look forward to poking and prodding the online news world to exercise their power to move people and ideas online. As the number one destination websites in local communities, media sites have the opportunity… no, make that a responsibility to convene people for effective online participation in local democracy that goes well beyond reactionary comments to news stories. Stay tuned for more.



    Let me introduce myself a bit. With a group of volunteer citizens in 1994, I helped create the world’s first election-oriented website in Minnesota. We had everyone on our site, including election news from the Minneapolis StarTribune, and even hosted online candidate debates. Today, I lead the E-Democracy.Org organization full-time with support of an Ashoka Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. We focus on two-way online townhalls we call Issues Forums (more later) in ten communities across three countries. Between 1994 and the start of my fellowship last year I worked first as the coordinator of e-government for the State of Minnesota and then as an independent public speaker and consultant on e-democracy. I invite you to join the online communities of practice built in large part from my trips to 26 countries hosted on my Democracies Online site. Feel free to join. Finally, I have a couple dozen articles and speeches that may or may not bore you to death.

    Talk to you later.


    Steven Clift

    P.S. If you happen to be in Toronto this week at the Online News Association, you can meet some “e-democracy” interested folks at a side gathering by signing up on this wiki page.

    Tagged: democracy politics e-democracy blogging

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