Politix hit Washington, DC to stage a happy hour and discussion of politics and technology. Expert guests such as Google‘s Account Executive for Elections Andrew Roos and Nathan Daschle, CEO of Ruck.us shared their views on connecting politicians and voters via new media and technology. Editor-in-Chief David Mark and Senior Editor Mary Noble hosted the event at The 201 Bar near Capitol Hill.
Daschle, Roos, and Craig Gilbert from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussed Paul Ryan’s role and whether his plan for Medicare helps or hurts the ticket. Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX, and Politix’s Mary Noble discussed whether there’s competition for political energy between sites that spark online debate – communities like Reddit and Politix – and sites that encourage political activism, like POPVOX. The conclusion was that discussion sites don’t channel voters’ energy away from political activism because political activity online isn’t a zero sum game. Online commenting feeds activism, rather than one activity displacing the other. Americans go to sites like Politix or Reddit to enjoy heated debate; and then they take that political energy with them into activism, online donations, and so on.
Meanwhile, DCI‘s digital guru Julie Barko Germany shared her knowledge of how social media like Facebook and Twitter can help politicians learn what voters think, as well as communicate their message to voters. Richard Benedetto, from American University, shared his thoughts about the role of media bias in this presidential campaign – and how campaigns can use social media and other technology to overcome it. And Darrell West, vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, discussed how emerging mobile technologies are shaping campaigns.
Andrea Seabrook described her new project, Decode DC, a radio podcast series that aims to get inside DC in new ways and get behind the conventional political wisdom. Natalie Jennings, election blogger at the Washington Post, talked about how presenting Twitter highlights – like her planned round-up of the best presidential debate tweets – has become a huge traffic driver. David and Mary also talked about how Politix is growing and beginning to realize its potential as a community that inspires online engagement and bi-partisan debate. The event went so well that we’re planning another in the Bay Area in late November, with a focus on how technology impacted the 2012 presidential race.
We’re excited to be in great company with others working to improve politics through technology, and look forward to bringing people together around these topics in the future.