Personal Democracy Forum

Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.

Although I begged them (and they agreed at the time) to change their name from Personal Democracy Forum to Participatory Democracy Forum, the name remains the same. But the purpose remains the same, too, so I'm glad I got invited to participate in the Forum's conference again this year in New York City on June 29 and 30.

The one thing that has changed, however, was my ability to negotiate a short-term discount of $100 for BoingBoing readers who want to go, by using the discount code "boingboingpdf". That's only going to work for the next 24 hours, but that's better than nothing. (They are pretty good about finding roles for interns, too, so try for that if the entry fee is still too high.)

On the brightest side, this year's confirmed participants include Danah Boyd, Clay Shirky, Frank Rich, Dan Gillmor, Jack Dorsey, Dave Troy, Baratune Thurston, Ana Marie Cox, Vivek Kundra, Amanda Rose, Tara Hunt, Nate Silver, Craig Newmark, Gina Bianchini, Beth Noveck, Jeff Jarvis, Scott Simon, Michael Wesch, Joe Rospars, David Weinberger, and Mark Pesce. And unlike a lot of conferences, these folks actually participate in the whole thing.

(Micah Sifry of PDF informs me that they tried to change the name to Participatory Democracy, but couldn't find an unused url for it.)


  1. Forgive me for being picky, but I believe it’s danah boyd, sans capitals. I don’t really see the point, but she’s got a whole bit on her website about it, so I guess it’s important to her.

  2. $100 for entrance to a forum on participatory democracy? Sounds like people with enough $$$ to spend on something like this doesn’t make this very participatory at all. And yes, i’m aware of production costs.

  3. and actually #3 if I’m reading this right its $100 off the quite high price of admission, rather than $100 flat out. So for the “cheap” early bird rate, you’d then “only” pay $355.

    While it seems an interesting and notable event, I too would poke fun at it for the sky high costs. :) At $455 advance, $700 day-of prices, you better be getting a caviar lunch with them there speakers. :)

  4. This thing is way too expensive for a poor college student like myself. Who would I contact about internship information, though, Douglas? I sent an e-mail to the general feedback address, but I’m not sure if that is sufficient enough. Any advice?

  5. #3: That’s just $100 off the price of admission.

    It’ll be at least a cool grand to do this conference, plus airfare, etc. No one I know who’d be interested could come close to being able to afford going.

    This leaves the wealthy and those who can get someone else to pay their way… attorneys, corporati and academics (that last group truly burns my biscuit, as that’s where the money for my hideously inflated tuition goes). Seems like a fairly narrow perspective on democracy to me.

    I swear, there are people out there (some dear friends included) who seem to do little more than attend and/or speak at expensive conferences and festivals all year long. Nice work if you can get it.

    That all said, I’m sure the folks with this particular gig all do good work, and I’m glad they’re out there.

  6. Hey everyone. I am a student and I just e-mailed and explained my situation and they gave me a student discount – the 2-day pass cost me $195.

    Also, when you compare that to what TED costs ($6,000!) and Pop Tech ($3,500!) it’s really not that bad.

  7. I still love Grant Morrison’s idea of the Multiple Personality Complex, as the ubiquitous and not necessarily pathological version of Multiple Personality Disorder. See his 1999 disinfocon speech, he was on right after Douglas btw.

    Wouldn’t it be cool if someone found a way to run a fully functional, peaceful and creative democracy, on the platform of *the person*. Could be hella-participatory if you ask me!

    There you go, conference name saved :-)

  8. I’ll be there for Tipjoy, and hopefully we can do some cool things for the conference.

  9. Awful lot of McCain/RNC people on that agenda, hm. And just went to a link to a video by one “expert” asking for image-based definitions of “democracy.” I’m a visual artist and love visual art; but the verbal definitions of democracy never stopped working; we just chose to trash them. Maybe we should re-read the US Constitution, or whatever’s governing Norway right now, ’cause their socialist democracy’s doing great lately.

  10. Yup. It’s expensive. I commented on that when I spoke last year. But it is less than 10% the price of TED, and the whole thing is webcast for free, etc.

    And there’s plenty of other things people can do instead of going. I’m not a conference type, myself. But every once in a while I go to one and am glad I did.

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