Monday, November 14, 2005


AUDIO: An e-Democracy pioneer celebrates son's birth with podcast

EDITOR'S NOTE -- An e-Democracy pioneer introduces an MP3 audio speech of his visit to Mongolia to advise on Internet and communities through the metaphor of his first son's birth.

By Steven Clift

Something wonderful happened last week. Liam Thomas Clift was born. This is the first child and son for my wife Laurel and I. Despite being surrounded with digital equipment, the miracle of birth is about the amazing power of life. Liam and Laurel are both doing great.

The first nights home in Minneapolis have been very good even through Liam seems stuck in Ireland's time zone. (Finding out that we were expecting on St. Patrick's Day and Laurel's Irish heritage made Liam, the 112th most popular boy name in the U.S., our number one choice.)

As I snapped photos of Liam, I happened to catch the first intrusion of digital technology in Liam life ... the digital thermometer being used the old-fashioned way. With his fist out, eyes wide and mouth open perhaps this is his first e-citizen protest? Earlier this year, I gave an important National Press Club "style" speech about Everyday Citizens: Community Life in the Information Age. When I walk down a street or drive through the countryside, I always imagine better ways to connect local people for stronger communities using information and communications technologies. There isn't one technical solution for this, but if we apply the required democratic motivation, we can make everyday citizenship part of our lives.

In this "coming home" speech, I summarize key e-democracy lessons I tend to present to different "democratic sectors" around the world. I do this by highlighting my trip to Mongolia and highlighting comments to their parliaments, Prime Minister and Presidential staff as well as civil society, students and media groups. I then reflect on "politics as usual" from Washington DC fostering a virtual civil war in the Unites States. A conclude with a positive outlook and how we can bring home many exciting grass roots uses of the Internet for everyday citizens in Minnesota (and beyond of course).


Please consider this one hour Power Point-free Everyday Citizens one hour speech in MP3 (15MB) my first podcast. Comments on the blog are encouraged:

If you have example links to share, add them on the Everyday Citizens wiki page:

So to Liam, I pledge to continue my efforts to strengthen local communities online and save democracy from the "default" path of the information age. I pledge to leave this world many many years from now a little bit better then when I arrived. I can help build a foundation for you, but it will be for you, like every other citizen before you, to decide that you want to make a real difference in the lives of others, in your local community and around the world.

Special thanks go out to the Information, Technology, and Everyday Life Initiative at the University of Minnesota for hosting this speech and Minnesota Public Radio for recording it.

This blog is now on parental leave until further notice. :-)

Steven L. Clift - - - W:
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