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Eli Pariser is an online organizer and disorganizer. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Upworthy, the former Executive Director of MoveOn (he now serves on the board), a co-founder of Avaaz.org, and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Filter Bubble.
Shortly after the September 11th terror attacks, Eli created a website calling for a multilateral approach to ﬁghting terrorism. In the following weeks, over half a million people from 192 countries signed on, and Eli rather unexpectedly became an online organizer.
The website merged with MoveOn.org in November of 2001, and Eli -– then 20 years old — joined the group to direct its foreign policy campaigns. He led what the New York Times Magazine called the “mainstream arm of the peace movement” — tripling MoveOn’s member base in the process, demonstrating for the ﬁrst time that large numbers of small donations could be mobilized through online engagement, and developing many of the practices that are now standard in the ﬁeld of online organizing.
In 2004, Eli co-created the Bush in 30 Seconds online ad contest, the ﬁrst of its kind, and became Executive Director of MoveOn. Under his leadership, MoveOn.org Political Action grew to 5 million members and raised over $120 million from millions of small donors to support advocacy campaigns and political candidates — helping Democrats reclaim the House and Senate in 2006. Eli focused MoveOn on online-to-ofﬂine organizing, developing phone-banking tools and precinct programs in 2004 and 2006 that laid the groundwork for Barack Obamaʼs remarkable campaign. In 2008, Eli transitioned the Executive Director role at MoveOn to Justin Ruben and became president of MoveOnʼs board.
Eli’s newest project is Upworthy, a social media start-up with a cause, which was announced in late 2011. Fellow cofounders include Chris Hughes of Facebook and Peter Koechley of The Onion.
Eli grew up in Lincolnville, Maine, and graduated summa cum laude in 2000 with a B.A. in Law, Politics, and Society from Simon’s Rock College. He gave the Commencement Address there in 2005, and received an honorary high school diploma — one of very few ever given to a non-graduate of high school — from Camden-Rockport High School. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
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"The Filter Bubble shows how unintended consequences of well-meaning online designs can impose profound and sudden changes on politics. All agree that the Internet is a potent tool for change, but whether changes are for the better or worse is up to the people who create and use it. If you feel that the Web is your wide open window on the world, you need to read this book to understand what you aren't seeing."