On Jim

In 2010 I created a Twitter petition using a tool called Act.ly, that called on then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to support Bill c-304: An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians.

At the time, I was piloting digital engagement at the community organizing NGO I worked at and was enamoured with this new tool, that I believed was weaponized Twitter for issue-campaigns.  I loved it. Anyone could turn a tweet into a petition, we could name and shame our opponents and rally our friends and followers.

I remember being so curious and inspired by this little tool that I clicked the link through all the footer and secondary page links. What I found was that this new tool was created by by a company called 3DNA and run by Jim Gilliam, Jesse Haff.

They described 3DNA as a company that made internet tools to shake up a broken political system.  Again, I loved it. Outsiders using the web to change politics and campaigns, not from some insider who-you-know party-politics bullshit but by building big things that make change and use the web. This. is. my. jam. I thought to myself.

Briefly, that petition I created was one of the top trending petitions on the platform. I started poking around looking to see if I could find a record and last night, after about 5 hours of searching through Archive.org snapshots I found it. That was my first introduction to Jim Gilliam, or more accurately, the first introduction of his life's work into my life story.

Last month, Jim passed away after a battle with cancer.

Jim’s contributions to humanity may not always be understood or even appreciated but he changed the direction of my life back in 2010 and several more time in since without ever knowing and for that I’ll always be thankful to Jim.

Recommended readings

CivicHall: Jim Gilliam, 1977-2018

Campaigns and Elections: Remember a tech pioneer

The Nation: In Memory of Jim Gilliam: Warrior, Brainiac, Friend

NationBuilder: Sad News about our founder Jim Gilliam