Personal Democracy Forum’s “Rebooting America” Essay Contest


Our friends at Personal Democracy Forum (PdF) have launched an essay contest around the issue of Rebooting America: Democracy in the 21st Century, which is the name of an anthology of essays they are publishing on the topic. PdF will include the contest winner’s essays in the book that will include pieces written by leading thinkers and activists and citizens like you. They are publishing the book in conjunction with their Personal Democracy Forum conference June 23-24 in New York City. Contest winners will also receive complementary passes to the conference.

I’m honored to join the likes of Clay Shirky, Yockai Benkler, Susan Crawford, Beth Noveck, Craig Newmark, danah boyd, Scott Heiferman, Tara Hunt, Josh Marshall, Jeff Jarvis, Howard Rheingold, John Bonifaz, Brad Templeton, Mike Turk, James Rucker, Morra Aarons, Patrick Ruffini, Lisa Stone, Joe Trippi, David Weinberger and others in offering ideas on how to reinvent democracy in America using the Internet and Web 2.0. Here is what the folks at PdF are asking us all to respond to:

When the Framers met in Philadelphia in 1787, they bravely conjured a new form of self-government. But they couldn’t have imagined a mass society with instantaneous, many-to-many communications or many of the other innovations of modernity. So, replacing that quill pen with a mouse, imagine that you have to power to redesign American democracy for the Internet Age. What would you do?

But PdF doesn’t just want experts to contribute to this project so they are asking their readers and the general public to submit their own ideas. Plus, they are also inviting people to read the various submissions and help decide which ones are worth including, by voting them up or down. It’s not a pure Digg model, Micah Sifry wrote me in an email, since PdF is going to make the final choices, but they are going to be paying close attention to that feedback loop.

Time is tight! Submissions are due May 1st, and the book’s release date corresponds with the June 23-24 conference. The essays are not to be long, 800 to 1,500 words. You can get all the details here. Help us all reimagine democracy.

(Full Disclosure: Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej who run PdF are strategic consultants to Sunlight.)