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Alec Ross and Emily Banks at the AMCHAM reception in Auckland, August 31, 2012 | by US Embassy New Zealand
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Alec Ross and Emily Banks at the AMCHAM reception in Auckland, August 31, 2012

The Project [R]evolution Digital and Social Media Conference offers a unique opportunity for business, government and media managers to glean insights, ask questions and mix with some of the leading players in the field.


One of the keynote speakers:


Alec Ross


Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.



Alec Ross serves as Senior Advisor for Innovation in the Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In this role, Alec is tasked with maximizing the potential of technology in service of America’s diplomatic and development goals.


Before that appointment, Alec worked on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team and served as Convener for Obama for America's Technology, Media & Telecommunications Policy Committee.


In 2000, Alec Ross and three colleagues co-founded One Economy, a global non-profit that uses innovative approaches to deliver the power of technology and information about education, jobs, health care and other vital issues to low-income people. During his eight years at One Economy, it grew from a team of four people working in a basement to the world's largest digital divide organization, with programs on four continents.


Power to every citizen


To me “digital revolution” can be defined as the massive shift in power that has taken place from hierarchies to citizens and networks of citizens as a result of powerful digital technologies.


What this means in practical terms is that everyday citizens have power today that they did not have as recently as five years ago. Anybody with a smart phone now has the kind of global reach that was once reserved for governments and large media companies. This shifting power has disrupted commerce, communication and governance.


I see this “digital revolution” as being overwhelmingly positive. Some of the disruption it has caused (and will cause in the future) is negative, but this has been far outweighed by the ability of people to connect and engage with the world and with the marketplace in ways that were previously unimaginable. I think about my own experience as a school teacher in an impoverished community. When I was a teacher, the only educational resource my students had beyond my own knowledge were a set of tattered, 30-year old textbooks. Today, that same classroom is equipped with an internet connection that can deliver world-class educational resources directly to the students that most need them. While there is no replacement for a good teacher, our students should not have to suffer with out-of-date and substandard educational resources. With the digital revolution, that no longer needs to be the case.


Another Keynote speaker:

Emily Banks

Associate managing editor for Mashable

Emily Banks is responsible for organizing and overseeing Mashable‘s growing editorial operations, including assigning, editing and publishing stories, as well as sharing them to Mashable's social accounts. She is also responsible for coordinating with partners on video and syndicated content. She joined Mashable‘s New York team in October 2010. Mashable is well known as the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology.


Some of Emily’s recent engagements include "Social Media 101" for New York Women in Communications, "The New Face of Social Good: How to Make Your Own Social Media Magic!" and "Challenging Conventional Wisdom of Social Media".


Abstract: Social media and the newsroom: the Revolution of the Newsroom

Without question, social media has changed the pace of news; how and where it breaks and who breaks it. How does this change our trust in media organisations, journalists as individuals and news-makers? As we remove the layer of authority provided by news organisations, by placing the news directly in the hands of journalists on social media, how do -- or should -- our readers approach the news? This talk will discuss tools for verifying news through social media, cases of misinformation caused by the rapid nature of breaking news on social and the ethical questions involved in reporting in this new age.






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Taken on August 31, 2012