The Evangelist

What most people heard in Gilliam’s speech was the story of a man who had beaten death three times and who had lost his faith in God, only to find it in the Internet. Most didn’t realize that when Gilliam spoke of repaying a “debt” and creating a “new world,” it wasn’t a rhetorical flourish. A few months earlier, he had unveiled a piece of software called NationBuilder. He fervently believed that NationBuilder, which he had written from scratch in his apartment, would, in his words, “democratize democracy.” If the Internet’s power came from connecting humanity, then NationBuilder would give ordinary people the means to harness that power to make change. Run for Congress. Build a bridge. Topple a dictator. Get new lungs. Read the whole article.

The Internet is His Religion, but Changing Politics Will Be His Legacy

Gilliam believes the concept of community organizing is what the Internet wants. What works best in this era of many-to-many communications is all about relationship-building, and the power, size, and engagement level of your networks. NationBuilder is the manifestation of an Internet-based worldview of how to be effective in the digital age. Read the whole article.

Valley of God

Today, Gilliam is the founder of an internet start-up called NationBuilder, which builds and sells tools to help political organisers. And he’s become a kind of evangelist for his new internet religion, retelling his story – in person and online – and collecting similar stories from other entrepreneurs. He refers to this as testimony, borrowing the Christian term, and believes it will help build faith in the internet. Worship, to him, comes in the form of engineers building more web tools and software that connect people. “The internet is the saviour, so to speak,” he says, “and yet it’s not really that. It’s people connected that is. God is all of us connected together.” Read the whole article.

The best video on the internet

There are days, even weeks, when you will hate the internet. Your inbox will be overflowing. Twitter will be a garbage dump. Google will fail you. You’ll reach your article limit. Let’s not even talk about Facebook. And for those of us who have jobs on the internet, and can’t throw our laptops into the East River or hole up in a mountain cabin, I recommend that, on those days and weeks, you watch this video. Restore your faith, not so much in the internet—this strange platform that we’re all on that didn’t exist four decades ago—but people connected through the internet. Read the whole article.

Jim Gilliam's Viral Video as "Radical Sincerity"

Religion at a conference about technology in politics? A personal life story on the same stage that saw heady talk about statecraft and Internet infrastructure? A guy staring out at rows of faces tilted downwards at laptops, not up at him — at least at first — and explaining that he can feel Christ in the wi-fi? Unexpected. Transgressive. Radical, because it was painfully sincere. Read the whole article.

"The Internet is My Religion"

The Internet may be worshipped for all of the following things: crowd wisdom, missed connections, videos of baby elephants in a baby pool...none of them are what this stop-everything-and-watch-now talk, given by Web pioneer Jim Gilliam, is about. Gilliam went to college as a born-again Christian who had an affinity for computer programming. But, by his first spring break, he couldn't breathe. Not in a metaphorical way; he wasn't anxious. Gilliam had cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He told his story—how he fought the cancer, twice, and found a network of activists through his work—this week at Personal Democracy Forum. There was a standing ovation, and (warning) tears. So, just press play for a reminder of what having faith really means. After watching, we've only got one more thing to say: amen.

Facebook Revolution helps party break free of shackles

Kirk Torrance was working in film in California when he encountered IT professionals such as Jim Gilliam and Jesse Haff, who had links to the US Democrats’ 2008 campaign. From these connections, a year ago, came the opportunity to help to develop NationBuilder, a revolutionary computer package that enabled the SNP web team to integrate Facebook and Twitter within a new party platform. ... The statistics are astonishing. When it launched two months ago the site had 13,031 users (almost equivalent to its party membership). It has grown to 35,879 users, signing in through social media accounts. Read the whole article.

His Fans Greenlight the Project

Jim Gilliam is only 28 years old. In a previous incarnation, he was a venture capitalist and a chief technology officer. Now his voice is a old man's rasp and he does not have the strength to cook his own food. He is waiting for a double lung transplant. But sick in his bedroom, Gilliam had a revolutionary idea: Why not get the audience to pay for a movie before it gets made? He calls it "People Powered Film." It could be the start of something. Read the whole article.

Brave New Filmmaker

Jim Gilliam sits with his back board-stiff against the headrest of his bed, his legs dangling off the end. That's life when you're 6-foot-9. He has no hair, and he's about as white as they make white guys. He's not making a fashion statement, not trying to replace the lead singer of Midnight Oil. The breathing tube under his nose might have been your first clue. Read the whole article.

How to Make a Guerilla Documentary

Jim Gilliam, a 26-year-old former dot-com executive and a producer of "Outfoxed," is enthusiastic about the way Greenwald's projects meld grass-roots politics with the culture of the Internet. He predicts a future - augured by events like MoveOn's competition for the best 30-second anti-Bush advertisement - in which young political filmmakers will be as likely to wield a camera phone as a digital camera. "It won't be long before people will be shooting and editing short documentaries that they'll stream from their blogs," he says. Read the whole article.

Master Builder

Late last year, the founders of handed James Gilliam, now their chief technology officer, a hairball of a problem: build from scratch an operating system to neatly browse more than 300,000 companies, divided into 25,000 industry categories and over 1 million pages. And keep in mind that the number of categories, like rabbits, will constantly expand. It took him less than two months. Lucky for them, Mr. Gilliam, though only 23, had already given the matter of information retrieval a good deal of thought. Read the whole article.