Technology continues to integrate into our personal and work lives on a daily basis. And as this happens, institutes like Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) are leading individuals and communities in conversations related to digital engagement.
The Digital Civil Society Lab within PACS is specifically investigating "the challenges and opportunities for civil society to thrive in the digital age." Recently, the lab initiated a series of talks, guided by input from Stanford undergraduates. These events delve deeply into how technology can simultaneously help and harm civically motivated initiatives to increase mobilization and representation.
Two TechSoupers went to a recent lab event titled "The Active Citizen in the Digital Age: Mobilization and Representation." Let's look at some key takeaways from their experience.
The Persisting Success of Human InteractionDigital Civil Society Lab executive director Lucy Bernholz opened the talk by sharing her own background. Her mother was an elected official and on the state board for the professionalization of teachers. Her father was on the state mental health board.
Her parent's district (CA-District 10, which encompasses an area in the northern end of the Central Valley) was home to a hotly contested congressional race in 2018. By the time of election day, every door in the district was knocked on — twice — and a Democrat newcomer and venture capitalist won out over the four-term incumbent Republican.
This story underscores a motif throughout the talk: Even in this age of digital connectivity, person-to-person interactions and proactive engagement continue to play a huge role in the mobilization of an idea. Throughout the talk, Lucy and the panelists continued to highlight how technology may help, but it certainly cannot replace the value of human-to-human interactions.
Lucy facilitated questions between the three panelists to explore technology's impact on digital engagement in terms of infrastructure, information, and action. The three speakers each represented one of those areas.
Click here to continue reading about the different areas the speakers covered...