A leader in digital communication and grassroots political campaigns explains how the internet and modern media have undermined America and how we can reclaim our voices for the good of civic life. The creators of the internet promised us jetpacks: better experiences, more choices, and deeper relationships. Built on a diversity of voices, our online freedom was supposed to spark a democratic transformation. But our platforms don’t work for us—we’re the inventory and our outrage fuels a tech revolution optimized for profit, not civic life.
As one of the top digital strategists for Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns, Michael Slaby saw the beginning of a new kind of national division. What he witnessed would spawn the Tea Party movement, upset the 2016 election, and accelerate the polarization of American civic life. Slaby presents the four core areas which can be reclaimed to work better for all of us: platforms, government institutions, corporations, and even the users ourselves. Optimistic, future-focused, and deeply passionate, For All The People breaks down how we got here, and how we, the users, can work toward a better democracy through tech.
"For ALL the People expertly lays out the broken logic of Big Tech’s business model. Our inability to rein in these companies has cost us more than our attention spans; the platforms driving our current media environment have given once marginalized extremists the tools they desperately crave to capture the attention of millions. Checking that system, including the steps outlined sharply in this book, is a crucial move towards racial justice. This book is required reading for anyone fighting for a truly equal and representative democracy and the culture required to sustain it."
"Michael Slaby offers us a new conversation about the societal stories that define us and how to leverage innovation to reclaim the political conversation. In a world dominated by hot takes and clever sarcasm, this is an earnest, optimistic must-read that can help us understand how we got here and can now lead us to a better place as a nation."
"In For ALL the People, Michael Slaby shows us how to think anew about media and the tsunami of information coming at us in our age of technology. This is a book for all of us, offering insights and actions to help make sense of our new world and connect more powerfully with one another."
"Nothing is easier than blaming social media for our broken national dialog. If only it was that simple. How we communicate with one another is both symptom and cause. In For ALL the People, Michael Slaby does stellar work explaining how we got to this point as a society, and even more important, presents a compelling—and constructive—vision of where we go from here."
"Michael Slaby offers a prescription to cure our social media ills, from redesigning the platforms to how we reclaim our own voices and stories. It's a must read for anyone interested in disrupting the toxic social echo chambers and bring about positive change."
"My greatest concern about the increased division and hyper-partisanship of the last decade is the unfounded belief that it is happening to us, not by us. The existential threat in that belief is the lack of agency to fix it. For ALL the People does two critical things: it helps us understand how we got here and reminds us that we have the agency to repair it. Perhaps most importantly, and prophetically, he shows that indeed we are the only ones who can."
"This book is for anyone who has thought to themselves, "It doesn't have to be this way." Michael Slaby offers a vivid re-imagining of civic life in America, one in which technology and media bring us together, instead of tearing us apart; one in which we unlearn the habits ingrained in us by a media economy optimized to capture our attention by any means necessary. Slaby shows us that it is possible to abandon the zero sum mentality we've been conditioned to embrace, and reminds us that it is up to us to create the culture we wish we had — one born of community, dialogue, and the stories we tell."