Harvard Conference on Internet and Society 2004- December 9-11, Harvard University

Votes, Bit and Bytes- Blogging the Vote: has the web changed politics?  December 9-11, Harvard University (Conference site: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/is2k4/home)

How are technologies changing politics, both in the U.S. and abroad?  The purpose of this conference is to take a skeptical, results-oriented look at the current state of politics after the 2004 election and from an international perspective in terms of issue-based campaigns, emerging business models, and new tools that affect politics both online and off.

(This is the 5th in a series of conferences called the Harvard Conference on Internet and Society, which are high profile events held every few years at Harvard University. Attendees are leading thinkers, policy makers, prominent IT geeks and businesses that debate freely about key issues about the development of the internet. The first conference was in May 1996- read more here about the early years of the Harvard Conference on Internet and Society series.)

Some interesting topics (for me):

CitizenshipAre information and communications technologies making it possible for new forms of citizenship? Are new technologies drawing new people into the political process? Are we able to engage in politics in more meaningful ways than before? Is the impact greatest on local, state, federal campaigns? Are we able to become global citizens?

BusinessThe most promising Internet business models have a great deal in common with the most promising political movements. They empower the grassroots and serve as platforms upon which greatness can build. What can the politician learn from the businessperson, and vice-versa?

Case Study: South KoreaSouth Korea was the first country on the planet where the Internet had a serious impact on the outcome of electoral politics. What conditions made this possible? To what extent were these conditions unique to South Korea and to what extent are they replicable elsewhere? What are the differences in the way in which web-based political communities do - or do not - form in different countries? How does this compare to the way in which political communities form offline? What factors (other than the obvious issue of connectivity) enable web-based political communities to develop more readily in some countries than in others?

Case Study: Election 2004 in the United States
What happened here in the United States? Did the internet play a key role in the outcome of any aspect of this election year – local, state, Congressional, Presidential – or was it just another bubble? Did new actors come out to vote? And how, if at all, will the way this year’s leaders were elected change the way our leaders govern? Presume that new participants have gotten involved in the political process, and that longtime political activists are now further empowered to communicate with leaders in power. After election day, can ICTs help those elected to govern better? And whereto from here?

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