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Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 The wired Agora. Minneapolis, the Internet, citizen participation, and squirrels?

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 The wired Agora. Minneapolis, the Internet, citizen participation, and squirrels?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 The wired Agora. Minneapolis, the Internet, citizen participation, and squirrels? Speech available at:

2 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Say What? The most democratizing aspect of the Internet is the ability for people to organize and communicate in groups. Steven Clift from Democracy is Online article in, OnTheInternet, April 1998 Online at:

3 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Crisis in Politics Government/ Politicians Voters/ Citizens Disconnected View 1 Government/ Politicians Citizens 1 Citizens Disconnected from Each Other My View Citizens 2 Citizens x Citizens 500 Citizen Special Interests Dominate

4 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Wired Government Government/ Politicians Institutions Wired Citizens 1 Citizens Disconnected within Geographical Area/Democracy Citizens Semi-Wired Islands Citizens 2 Citizens x Citizens 500 Interconnected Major Flows minor

5 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Wired Citizens Government/ Politicians Citizens 1 Citizens Reconnected with each other within Geographical Area/Democracy Wired Citizens Citizens 2 Citizens x Citizens 500 ? Something is still missing Wired Government

6 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Interactive Public Commons An Agora online! Wired Democracy Government/ Politicians Citizens 1 Citizens 2 Citizens x Citizens 500 An example next.

7 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 n Democracy Online with an Interactive Public Commons n We must build them one at a time! Democracy Online Future Civic Organizations Private Sector Government Media and Commercial Content Online Public Sphere From Democracies Online: Building Civic Life on the New Frontier Presentation

8 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 What do you mean? Improving democratic participation online. An example from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

9 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 They look innocent.

10 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Minneapolis Issues Forum MPLS-ISSUES is an announcement and discussion forum on public issues in Minneapolis. - Launched in June 1998, Like MN-POLITICS from Direct Participants/Subscribers - - David Brauer, Forum Manager - Sponsored by Minnesota E-Democracy

11 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 My message. From: "Steven Clift" To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Squirrels Attack (November 1998) It seems that about once a day a squirrel runs across my window screen in my home office. I have never experienced this nor seen so many squirrels in Minneapolis. Here is my public policy question - are squirrels in such density ever considered a public health risk? Last winter one came down the chimney and we managed to shoo it down the stairs and out the door (once we got it out of the fireplace after three days!). Who should you contact with the city? if problem occur this winter? :-), Steven Clift

12 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Re: SQUIRRELS ATTACK!!!

13 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Where it went… via MPLS- ISSUES City Hall Secondary Networks Animal Control Personal Networks Local Media Political Activist Reporter Citizen #1 City Staff Citizen #2 Candidate Researcher Council Member Neighborhood Leader Student List Manager Citizen #500 Crazy Person MPLS-ISSUES group server sends post direct to 230+ people and to web Send- Receive Public Sphere You subscribe once Commitment made May post via

14 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Eavesdropping on the electronic neighborhood... From Southwest Journal newspaper by Martiga Lohn Most days, mpls-issues is a substantive discussion of important public policy issues… However …here are a few excerpts from this burning issue >Go to hardware store…buy trap…set track…kill squirrel. End of public policy question. >Grab a trap and KILL the squirrel????????? Why must we destroy a living thing as a solution? >Rocky and his friends are out of control. … If you want evidence, try to eat a sandwich on a bench in Loring Park. >Quit telling people to move their nasty attack squirrels to wooded areas (i.e., Minneapolis parks) we already have our fair share. >I ran on an anti-squirrel platform for Student Legislature at Syracuse University in my freshman year in college. I promised to eradicate the nuisance squirrel population. It was my first election loss.

15 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 The big discussion. Sparked media interest. St. Paul Pioneer Press calls. We understand you are an expert on squirrels. We are doing a story. Government calls. City Animal Control Division asks, We hear you are having a problem with squirrels.

16 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Beyond Squirrels Postings to MPLS-ISSUES are helping set the public agenda in Minneapolis. Some postings may be influencing government decision-making. This is very, very unusual. Recruitment, guidelines, facilitation.

17 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 More examples. Target store downtown - Posts read at council meeting Shopping Cart Policy - Opinions Crocus Crime Control - Ideas Cable modems - Save Advocacy Hennepin County - Special election online debate

18 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Learn more. Visit Minnesota E-Democracy: Check out St. Paul Issues Forum Join MPLS-ISSUES to develop ideas for your own community:

19 Presentation by Steven Clift, Copyright 1999, 2001 Conclusion Every community from your neighborhood up through cities, counties, states, and even countries should build an active and dynamic online public sphere for citizen-to- citizen and citizen-government discussions.


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