Steven Clift is an online innovator focused on the use of the Internet in democracy, governance, and community. For the last decade he has worked to fundamentally improve democracy and citizen participation through the use of the Internet. He seeks to change the world one e-mail at a time…. Read my biography or a list of highlights below.
Honors and Awards
- White House Champion of Change for Open Government – 2013
- Ashoka Fellow – Inducted as an Ashoka Fellow in November 2006
- Prix Ars Honorary Mention for Digital Communities, Austrian Cyberarts Award – 2005
- 25 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics 2003 and 2001 – Selected by PoliticsOnline and 4th World Forum on e-Democracy
- 100 People to Watch – Listed among Minnesota’s rising stars for the decade by Mpls/StPaul Magazine
- Appointed to OECD E-Government Project Advisory Group
- Minneapolis Award – Presented the Mayor’s Award with David Brauer for our community work with E-Democracy’s Minneapolis Issues Forum
- Project awards received by efforts that I (co)founded/coordinated: 2001 Freedom of Information Award for Minnesota E-Democracy, 1999 – Computerworld Smithsonian Awards for Web White & Blue 1998,1996 – Freedom of Information Award for North Star, the State of Minnesota’s portal.
- I’m Linked – I’m am the number two “Clift” on Google, over movie star Montgomery Clift. For most of this decade I was the number seven “Steven.” Above actor Steven Seagal but below Steven Spielberg, (Then I changed domain names …)
New Short Biography
Steven Clift is @democracy on Twitter. He launched E-Democracy.org in 1994 – the world’s first election information website. His “government by day, citizen by night” insights were built as leader of the State of Minnesota’s first e-government initiative. He spoke across 30 countries for over a decade from Estonia to Libya to Mongolia on open government and civic participation to support non-partisan, volunteer-powered efforts for inclusive online local democracy. An Ashoka Fellow, today he is E-Democracy’s Executive Director. He leads a dedicated team with the BeNeighbors.org effort to connect all neighbors online (and off) in public life across race and ethnicity, generations, immigrant and native-born, and more. In 2013, Clift was honored as a White House Champion of Change for Open Government. He lives with his lovely wife and two children in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
(Please shorten as appropriate if used in speech introductions or conference programs.)
Steven Clift is an online strategist and public speaker focused on the use of the Internet in democracy, governance, and community. For the last decade he has worked to fundamentally improve democracy and citizen participation through the use of the Internet. He seeks to change the world one e-mail at a time.
One of world’s leading experts on e-democracy, he is actively networking people around the world determined to make a difference with this new media. A frequent media commentator, Steven Clift speaks publicly with meaning, energy and enthusiasm while providing accessible and useful information. He has presented hundreds of times across twenty-three countries.
Through Democracies Online, he shares knowledge and practical advice directly to thousands of subscribers on his DO-WIRE e-mail announcement list. His Publicus.Net web site contains dozens of original articles and presentations, including his E-Democracy E-Book. Behind the scenes, he supports peer-to-peer online networks for parliamentary online leaders, civic online consultation facilitators and others.
In 2002, Steven received the Minneapolis Award. In 2001 and again in 2003, he was listed among “The 25 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics” by Politics Online and in January, 2000 he was selected as one of Minnesota’s 100 rising stars of the decade by Minneapolis St. Paul magazine.
From 1998 through 2001 he advised the Markle Foundation’s Web White & Blue online election information partnership. In 2000, Web White & Blue organized a major online presidential debate. He provides advice to foundations, governments, civic groups and others on an ongoing basis.
He volunteers as Board Chair of Minnesota E-Democracy. E-Democracy is a non-profit organization that hosts some of Internet’s most highly regarded citizen discussions on state and community affairs. In 1994, E-Democracy created the world’s first election-oriented web site and online candidate debates.
For three years until September 1997, he coordinated the State of Minnesota’s government portal effort and served as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Government Information Access Council in 1997. He served as Co-Editor for the G8 Democracy and Government Online Services Publication that was released January 1999.
After a session working in the Minnesota Legislature, he attended graduate school at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. He worked for their Center for Democracy and Citizenship from 1991 to 1993 and built his online experience with the launch of the online Public Policy Network in 1993. As a graduate intern in the U.S. House in 1993 he was among the first users of their e-mail gateway to the Internet. He graduated from Winona State University, a state college in his hometown, with a B.A. in Political Science in 1990.
A fourth generation Minnesotan born in 1969, he was raised in the Twin Cities and the Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota. When not speaking abroad, he works out of his home in Minneapolis. Married to Laurel Clift (formerly Waldoch), a fellow E-Democracy volunteer, he has come to realize that his hopes and dreams related to the information age have wildly exceeded his expectations. Laurel and Steven have two young children.
3211 East 44th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406
E-mail: clift @ publicus.net
- Helped create the world’s first election-oriented web site in 1994 and current host of active citizen-based online Issues Forums – E-Democracy.Org
- Inducted as an Ashoka Fellow, the premier international network of social entreprenuers, in November 2006.
- Public speaker with hundreds of presentations across 26 countries
- Editor of DoWire.Org – the Democracies Online Newswire e-mail announcement list. Started in 1998, DoWire now reaches over 2750 e-democracy/e-government/e-politics practitioners and experts in over 80 countries
- Global media source on e-democracy with hundreds of appearances and interviews including a recent interview on BBC World television
- Produced extensive research on “E-Government and Democracy” for the United Nations 2003 World Public Sector Report
- Leading Global E-democracy Best Practices research effort through March 2005 for the UK Local E-democracy National Project
- OECD E-Government Project Advisory Group Member in 2002-2003
- Co-Editor, G8 Democracy and Government Online Services Publication
- Twice listed on the list of the “25 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics” by PoliticsOnline.com
- Consultant on e-democracy for the Markle Foundation from 1998-2001. Included the creation of an online Presidential campaign debate in 2000
- While employed with the Office of Technology/Department of Administration in the State of Minnesota 1993-1997 he was the Government Online Project Coordinator (managed the first web portal) and staffed then served as the Executive Director of the Government Information Access Council
Older Shorter Biography
Steven Clift is an online innovator focused on the use of the Internet in democracy, governance, and community. For almost two decades he has worked to fundamentally improve democracy, community building, and citizen participation through social media online. He is the founder and executive director of E-Democracy.org and serial social entrepreneur recognized as an Ashoka Fellow. E-Democracy.org created the world’s first election information website in 1994 in Minnesota. Today the effort he leads builds inclusive and effective online participation at the neighborhood level in three countries including the Knight Foundation-funded BeNeighbors.org inclusive community engagement online project working in low income, high immigrant neighborhoods in St. Paul. He has spoken across 30 countries from Iceland and Libya to Mongolia and Kenya on government and citizen use of the Internet to improve democracy and build community. Steven Clift is married with two small children and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can follow Steven via http://stevenclift.com and @democracy on Twitter.