The Values of Technology
Michael Slaby, Chief Technology Strategist for TomorrowVentures
Tuesday, March 30, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
We have reached capacity for this event; this event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.
As Deputy Director of New Media then Chief Technology Officer for Obama for America, Michael helped create and lead the internet and technology apparatus of what has been described as the most technology-savvy presidential campaign in history. Most of the discussion of Obama for America (OFA) and the use of technology in the 2008 Presidential campaign has focused on the tactics deployed and the metrics produced. While there were some interesting firsts and some dramatic results – the true power of OFA was in the values that drove the creativity and use of the technology – not the technology itself – and the willingness to articulate and stand by that consistent set of values. Tactics are mutable – values and by extension mission must be permanent to be effective. The meaningful lessons for the use of new media and technology for ongoing advocacy are rooted in the frameworks that made OFA possible. Sorting out what can be recreated and what cannot raises important questions about the nature of community, the difference between values and goals, the line between persuasion, motivation, and propaganda, and the balance between top-down message control and empowering the grassroots. All of these questions have significant implications for technology and new media in government, diplomacy, advocacy, and the private sector.
Michael Slaby spent several years working in multimedia design & development and web application & platform development with a series of startups before migrating to work predominantly in politics and campaign strategy over the past 5 years. He is currently technology advisor to several non-profits and Chief Technology Strategist for TomorrowVentures. Most recently, he spent the last two years as the Deputy Director of New Media then Chief Technology Officer for Obama for America and was the Technology Director for the Presidential Transition Team. As Deputy Director of New Media, his responsibilities included operations and strategy execution for all web, online organizing, video, text, social networking, and design for the campaign. Michael was promoted to Chief Technology Officer in order to lead the technical strategy and execution for multiple web platforms, data integration, systems and architecture scaling for the general election. He managed operational and long-term planning for technology during transition process and for the new Obama Administration including web utilization, data integration opportunities, and cybersecurity standards and initiatives. Michael is a graduate of Brown University.
- How Obama’s Internet Campaign Changed Politics (NYTimes)
- What Businesses Can Learn from Barack Obama's Social Media Strategy (Fast Company)
- OFA Case Study -- Blue State Digital
- The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit (PDF)
- Ethan Zuckerman liveblogged the talk
- David Weinberger liveblogged the talk