I had the chance to attend the Personal Democracy Forum at NYU this past summer on a fellowship from Tumblr. At Click Rain, we do a fair amount of work in politics, helping campaigns harness the power of the web. While much of the Personal Democracy Forum was focused on citizen activism and the convergence of technology and politics, there were some key emerging themes that are helping mold the future of the political web, including:
-Protecting internet freedom has been a bipartisan effort to date that is going to require even more bipartisanship going forward.
-Senator Ron Wyden (OR) says we are in need of a digital bill of rights, protecting our online freedoms. Without one, these rights will continue to be attacked and eroded. I tend to agree.
-Big data is getting bigger, and utilizing that data in 2012 and beyond is "the next big thing".
-The Pirate Party in Germany is on to something, pushing transparency and utilizing the free-web for highly engaged activism.
-The 2012 election will be defined by using big data and micro-targeting via paid mediums to create voter pursuasion online, so says Zac Moffatt, Digital Director for the Mitt Romney campaign.
-The Tom Barrett folks, at least the ones at PDF, were extremely bitter about the results of the WI recall election. Let it go, folks!
-The day Rick Santorum dropped out of the primary, making Romney the likely nominee, Romney had 70+ staffers dedicated to digital. Obama, 700+. Pretty telling numbers on the importance campaigns are placing on digital.
Digital and democracy and becoming increasingly intertwined. Some would even say that without the Internet, Obama would not be our president. As the next generation of voters evolves, the role of digitial in political and citizen activism cannot be underestimated. Those that fail to realize this will quickly find themselves on the digital defensive.