The civic idea Bono went nuts for; activists on social media sabbaticals; and more.

  • Rich thinking: Mark Pincus of Zynga thinks “it’d be pretty cool” for “a million people to raise one billion dollars to run Mike Bloomberg for president. Through Kickstarter.” His friend Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn says it’s not going to happen. That’s just one highlight of Nicholas Lemann’s lengthy New Yorker profile of Hoffman, today’s must-read.
  • Given that both Pincus and Hoffman dropped one million dollars each on President Obama’s re-election Priorities USA Super PAC, and Hoffman tossed Lawrence Lessig’s MayDayPAC another million in 2014, you have to pay attention to how they talk about reviving civic engagement. Check out this idea from Pincus:

    “Summer of Love. Should I remind you of the concept? The idea is that, in 2017, it’s the fiftieth anniversary of the original Summer of Love in San Francisco. Can we use that to generate a year-long summer of service?” Pincus explained that a series of rock concerts might be organized, offering tickets competitively through a new app. “Start in San Francisco. It could be gamified civic engagement. It’s a different narrative for tech. It’s not the narrative that’s been written for us. It’s disruption on an establishment level, not a tech level. I spoke to Bono about it, and he went nuts!”

  • Speaking of big money and civic engagement, of the more than 18,000 grants since 2011 cataloged by the Foundation Center as focused on strengthening American democracy, just 962 have been focused on technology. That’s just $215 million out of a total of $2.435 billion, and just six foundations—Knight, Ford, Gates, Omidyar, the California Endowment, and Sloan—have provided more than half of that. In a guest op-ed for Philanthropy News Digest, I look at why so many major American foundations don’t seem to get tech.

  • Tech and the presidentials: Here’s our Jessica McKenzie reporting on Sen. Marco Rubio’s appearance at Civic Hall yesterday to talk about the “on-demand” economy.

  • Issie Lapowsky of Wired also reports on Rubio’s tech talk at Civic Hall.

  • This is civic tech: The New York State Senate has just launched the most innovative legislative website in the country, Jessica McKenzie reports for Civicist. A new feature shows senators up-to-the-minute constituent support for and opposition to proposed bills.

  • Lawrence Grodeska, founder of the Civicmakers Meetup in San Francisco, takes his stab at defining “civic tech,” arguing that it is “as a new “big tent” movement for democracy that encapsulates many smaller segments, such as gov tech, online campaigning, digital advocacy, and voting tech.”

  • Food for thought: If you are political activist who uses social media, you should read this interview by Kate Aronoff in Waging Nonviolence with Elijah Armstrong and Rachel Gilmer of Florida’s Dream Defenders, who have been at the epicenter there in the Movement for Black Lives. They’re in the middle of a six-week self-imposed “social media sabbatical,” which they’ve taken because they’re unhappy with how the culture of 24-7 online engagement is warping their work.