PPC staff, speaker or author?
Event Speaker

Melissa Ryan

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Title & Affiliation
Ctrl Alt-Right Delete

Melissa Ryan has spent more than a decade working at the intersection of politics, media, culture, and technology. Today, she uses her expertise to help people, policymakers and institutions combat online extremism and toxicity.

Melissa became fascinated with extremism and disinformation during the 2016 U.S. elections, as she watched once-fringe extremist networks rise to prominence as they were amplified by mainstream candidates and media. She was among the first progressives to chronicle the rise of the alt-right online when she launched Ctrl Alt-Right Delete shortly after the election, which has since grown to more than 15,000 weekly readers. Recognizing the international nature of the fight against extremism, Ryan partnered with Hope not hate, a UK organization fighting racism and fascism for a generation, to publish the newsletter bringing their expert research and campaigning work to the USA.

Ryan’s expertise is sought out by journalists, politicians, leaders and everyday Americans who want to better understand how current events are shaped by social media and how political campaigns use digital strategy to engage voters.

Ryan’s career has spanned nearly the full history of digital politics. She began as a blogger, writing about local and state politics for Connecticut Local Politics. Her commentary about the 2006 Senate race between Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman brought her into national political prominence, and where she formed the basis of her understanding of how online communities can affect real-world outcomes.

Ryan has been in the center of major progressive fights ever since. Her pioneering online fundraising work raised more than $5 million online for Senator Russ Feingold’s 2010 campaign. She played a key role in mobilizing protestors and framing the story of the #WIunion protests of 2011, helping create an international story about Scott Walker’s anti-union power grab.

As digital director at the New Organizing Institute, Ryan managed and drove the training program that created what The New York Times Magazine’s Robert Draper called “the yawning digital divide between the two parties.” During her tenure as digital director of EMILY’s List, Ryan’s team added more than 1 million supporters to the PAC’s online outreach. In 2012, she managed outreach to progressive media and influencers for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Ryan was honored in 2014 with a Campaigns & Elections Rising Star award and has spoken at top conferences and events for Netroots Nation, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the New York Daily News Innovation Lab, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Ryan currently lives in Boston, MA. Visit her website at melissaryan.net or follow her on Twitter @MelissaRyan.