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SXSW Interactive 2013

Disrupt DC! Defining the Politics of the Internet

We’ve all read about “social media revolutions” and the Internet’s power as an organizing tool. But what if its influence is even greater than that? The Internet is a global community with the power to take on governments. More and more, people are using it to solve problems where both political parties have failed. In the coming years, we are likely to see increasingly pitched political battles about the Internet, as entrenched incumbents fight to slow the pace of change -- Hollywood today, education, health care, and maybe government itself tomorrow. Left and right are unlikely to be the dividing lines in this fight. What will be? As the Internet becomes more ingrained in our lives, will we, the users, define a new political identity for ourselves that challenges traditional party politics?

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  1. The Industrial Revolution brought about a political realignment that created the existing party system. Can the Internet do the same?
  2. Beyond "openness," what are the essential characteristics that define the Internet’s political identity? Market oriented or socially conscious? Libertarian or progressive? (Or all of the above?)
  3. Politically, does the Internet most resemble an interest group (like big business or labor unions), a movement, or something we haven't seen before?
  4. Is Internet culture weakening partisanship -- or making it worse?
  5. Technology drives growth, but some say it also kills jobs. How do we make sure that the benefits of the Internet are widespread? Is there a consistent political viewpoint here among Internet activists, or does this break down along typical political lines?



Patrick Ruffini, President, Engage

Meta Information:

  • Tags: government, politics
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Government and Civic Engagement
  • Level: Intermediate
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