ABSTRACT

Aldon Hynes was a professional systems analyst who volunteered for the Dean campaign and, among other things, helped build the social software program Deanspace. He has subsequently become a political activist who played a key role in Ned Lamont’s successful Democratic primary race against Joe Lieberman for the U.S. Senate, among other efforts. Hynes’s story of this journey nicely illustrates how the Dean campaign did not just draw upon existing activists or groups with known and fixed opinions, but instead drew new people into the campaign and eventually into politics. His story also nicely illustrates how the Internet’s evolution as an alternative news source during the 1990s created a context for both different and more interactive relations to politics to develop. Finally, Hynes’s gentle, personal style of narration points to a little-understood fact about the character of the campaign: The campaign offered a kind of supportive community that was not just about youthful bonding, or some kind of heroic or radical vision of change, but that was very broadly humane and welcoming.