Photo: Google’s HQ in Mountain View, CA.

But is that democracy worth our dependency on information?

by Michael Marinaccio

In a world filled with immense noise and distraction, what could be more harmful to political discourse than limiting what can be said and how? Twitter has banned political ads outright and now Google is cutting off all data targeting in its political advertising — a misguided move that will merely make all political advertising more expensive, less efficient, and, generally, stupider. It may seem counterintuitive, but I am not sure the targeting ban hurts us more than it helps clarify a very important problem of technology.

It is hard to disagree with those who share a…

Twitter bird affixed on Lake Como

Returning home in the 1920’s, Romano Guardini reflects on the paradigm shift afflicting the southern Italian countryside. He is saddened by new technologies and manufacturing growth which threaten to break his fellow countrymen who lack “the grim seriousness, violent power, and inner alertness to the monstrous that is demanded.” (What social platform does that sound like to you?)

The men who are to replace these countrymen, he says, are Italian urbanites who have mastered abstraction; those who are ready to move beyond small cottages and human wants; those who will embrace the future. …

(Photo credit:

On Thursday, I will be in attendance as the White House gathers technologists at a social media summit to discuss the growing concern of major tech companies and their role in online bias. While I agree that prejudice against conservative outlets is occurring, I do not believe the crisis is a concerted or purposeful effort. Rather, the bias is a sign of the growing rot among online habits and attention, rooted in the worship of value-defunct information gathering. As Senator Josh Hawley put it in his speech at the Hoover Institution:

there is something deeply troubling, maybe even deeply wrong…

As COO of Data Trust and Founder of Magnitude Consulting, Michael draws on fifteen years of experience as a strategist, designer, and developer. He has built relationships across the political communications space to bring people and causes together. Michael has managed branding, messaging, data, design, and video for dozens of Congressmen, candidates, and organizations.

He previously worked for Adam Putnam’s gubernatorial race in Florida and served as senior digital director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, overseeing their online publication Above the Fold and working to modernize the Chamber across all digital platforms.

Before joining the U.S. Chamber, Michael helped…

From one finance amateur to another: it’s actually easy

We sat around the yule log this holiday with my extended family, discussing the latest crash in the market. I quickly realized that not many people understand how the stock market works. Or, if they do, they have pretty typical fears that are validated the moment they trade their first stock. This naïveté makes me sad because a) trading stock is not very difficult at all, and b) big investors make their money on the backs of total amateurs who trade poorly. …

(Voter clusters prepared by Cambridge Analytica for North Carolina in 2014.)

Rereading Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle

By Michael Marinaccio

The strangest thing about…

Cambridge, Facebook, Donald Trump, the Russians, and all my friends who milked 2016 for everything it was worth

…is that no one really did anything wrong — not from a technological standpoint, at least. And none of it is even new technology.

And yet, everyone innately senses that something is very wrong. All the huge amounts of data, personal information, foreign countries, and malicious advertising? It all stinks of something foul. They just cannot put their finger on what it is, and therefore require a scapegoat.

Whether about Trump, Facebook, or some other…

Carrying a tome around has more benefits than you think

To be honest, I don’t know where I first picked up this bit of advice (probably in some Medium blog!), but it’s been with me for close to three years now:

“If you spend enough time carrying a book around, you’ll eventually read the damn thing.

It may be annoying at first. It may be outright stupid for weeks or more. But like any hobby, diet, or habit change that you want to commit to, you have to stick it out for the painful beginning no matter how badly you fail.

Then, once you’ve endured the grueling embarrassment of admitting…

You’ve had the internet for 20 years now. Are you smarter?

How we’re fueling the despairing class

When I look back at my nascent career in Washington, D.C., I survey a mixture of tangible and ambiguous accomplishments — all of them paper pushing in some regard. I began as a fundraiser in 2012 and have since transformed into a communicator, one of the online sort.

I would say I am luckier than most: a couple elections won, some laws passed, and handful of other markers. But I still often struggle to explain concretely to folks back home what I do. …

Michael Marinaccio

I write on technology & ethics.

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