Making Good

#MeToo comes to the Mavericks; rethinking social services applications for the 21st century; and more.

  • If the teens at the center of the new #MarchforOurLives movement have a chance at altering the politics of guns in America, it will be because they have more going for them than just their social media savvy, which has been widely covered. By framing the issue as a call to America’s youth to save their own lives, they are drawing on the kind of motivation that powered movements like ACT-UP to success. They are victims capable of speaking for themselves. And finally, they are already a tight-knit social group, as this great story by Remy Smidt in Buzzfeed illustrates. That fact may allow these budding leaders to weather the storm of attention they are now surfing.

  • History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes: Marjory Stoneman Douglas, whose name adorns the Florida high school whose students are now leading a national movement for gun reforms, was “a journalist, writer, feminist, environmentalist, and progressive activist, best known for her staunch defense of the Everglades against efforts to drain it and reclaim land for development,” writes historian Peter Dreier in The American Prospect.

  • Tech and politics: Last night, Twitter deleted a lot of bot accounts, and right-wing activists surprised to see their follower counts drop are rallying against what they call the #TwitterLockOut. Left-wingers are taunting them, sending their #BotsandPrayers.

  • It’s extremely difficult to take Christopher Mims‘ Wall Street Journal column on why the Internet has recentralized power through platforms like Facebook because he quotes Harvard joke historian Niall Ferguson as his main “expert.”

  • Tech and #MeToo: If tech VC Mark Cuban is seriously going to run for President in 2020, this dynamite story in Sports Illustrated by Jon Wortheim and Jessica Luther about rampant sexual harassment at the Dallas Mavericks is going to high on the list of questions about his qualifications for the job. Cuban says he is outraged by the allegations and has fired the Maverick’s HR director in response, but one of the women alleging harassment says that the notably hands-on owner looked the other way as long as the revenue was rolling in.

  • This is civic tech: mRelief, a Chicago start-up that is making it easier for Americans to apply for social services like food stamps gets a lovely profile in National Geographic by Christina Nunez.

  • Want your country to improve its open data policies? The best time to push may be around an election, according to a new report from the Open Data Charter and Open Data Institute. Looking at the experience of experts from the US, France, Kenya and the Philippines, “in uncertain times, the prospect of new and unpredictable administrations can incite civil servants to push reforms through prior to the election,” reports Anoush Darabi for Apolitical.

  • If you are using Slack for organizing, Gennie Gebhart and Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation have some warnings for you about how secure it is.

  • Dropbox’s co-founders have started a foundation to support organizations on the front lines of the global fight for human rights, Jon Pattee and David Callahan report for Inside Philanthropy.

  • Attend: Mark your calendars for June 7-8 and Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) 2018. This year’s theme is How We Make Good, on our promises, on our values, and on our commitment to using tech for the public good. And we changing up the format to be better suited to collaboration. Learn more by going to the splash page here and sign up to be alerted when tickets go on sale. 

  • Apply: Civic Hall is looking to hire a director of development.

  • Serious food for thought (and likely a decade’s worth of PhD dissertations): Ashley Hedrick, Dave Karpf and Daniel Kreiss on “The Earnest Internet vs. the Ambivalent Internet.” They write, “communication scholarship generally posits that people act rationally and in good faith; care about facts, truth, and authenticity; pursue ends in line with their political and social values and aspirations; and, more philosophically, are fundamentally good.” What the 2016 election shows us is that there’s another internet where such norms aren’t settled, and we are living in a world where political actors repurpose that “ambivalent” culture for all sorts of nefarious purposes.