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Some of the most remarkable impacts of digital media on political activism lie not in the new types of speech it supports, but in the new forms of listening that it fosters among organized pressure groups. Organized advocacy groups are increasingly turning to digital analytics in order to gauge supporter interest, monitor public sentiment, experiment with new tactics, and craft strategies that resonate in the new media environment. In his new book, Analytic Activism, Dave Karpf discusses the heretofore overlooked role of analytics in organized political engagement. He explores how this new mode of activism works, how it is produced, what it is useful for, and what its limitations are.
Dave Karpf is associate professor and director of graduate studies at the George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs. His primary research focus is on how the internet is changing civil society organizations and large-scale movements for political change. He is the author of The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy (Oxford University Press, 2012) and Analytic Activism: Digital Listening and the New Political Strategy (Oxford University Press, 2016). He also writes about technology, politics, and strategy for a wide range of outlets.