Alexandra Samuel is the CEO of Social Signal, a Vancouver-based company that builds online communities for nonprofit, government and business clients. Alex has guided the online strategy for some of the web’s most ambitious community ecosystems, including Change Everything and NetSquared. This work builds on her years of consulting, research and writing on online community and civic participation by harnessing the latest generation of web tools to the challenge of community engagement.
In 2004, Alex received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. Her dissertation examined the phenomenon of hacktivism – politically motivated computer hacking – as a window on how and why people engage in online community action. Alex interviewed more than fifty programmers and activists worldwide, tracking their motivations for participating in projects ranging from circumventing China’s online censorship scheme to creating a parody of the WTO web site at http://www.gatt.org.
Alex has a history of leadership in envisioning the Internet’s potential as a tool for community-building. She is a member of the advisory board for DotOrganize, a project that has mapped the non-profit sector’s technology needs. In 2001 she co-founded DO-Consult, the world’s leading forum for researchers and practitioners in online consultation and public engagement. As the Research Director for Digital 4Sight’s Governance in the Digital Economy, Alexandra created and guided an investigation into the future of government and democracy for a consortium of twenty governments and businesses from around the world. Previously, she researched online social capital for Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, and co-founded one of Canada’s first online political forums.
Alex’s writing on technology issues has appeared in media outlets like the Toronto Star, CBC Radio, Business 2.0, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her work on topics like RSS, tagging and online engagement is accessible on her blog.
Alexandra holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University and a B.A. in Politics from Oberlin College.
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