Clay Johnson

Clay Johnson

I help those with power open up to those without it

Washington, District Of Columbia

Areas of Expertise:

  • open gov
  • media
  • government
  • politics
  • information diets
  • information overload
  • open source
  • gov2.0
  • transparency
  • openness
  • consulting
  • speaking
  • training
  • writing
Clay Johnson is best known as the founder of Blue State Digital, the firm that built and managed Barack Obama's online campaign for the presidency in 2008. After leaving Blue State, Johnson was the director of Sunlight Labs at the Sunlight Foundation, where he built an army of 2000 developers and designers to build open source tools to give people greater access to government data. He was awarded the Google/O'Reilly Open Source Organizer of the year in 2009, was one of Federal Computing Week's Fed 100 in 2010.

Media Appearances include:
  • CNN TV -- Expert on Open Government Data
  • NPR Weekend All Things Considered
  • NPR All Things Considered
  • Regular on the Leslie Marshall Radio Show (nationally syndicated)
  • Kojo Naamdi Show (WAMU, Nationally Syndicated)
  • Appeared in Fast Company, Wired, The Economist, the New York Times, USA Today and other major newspapers

Johnson's combination of experience as a developer, working in politics, entrepreneurism, and non-profit work gives him a unique perspective on media and culture. His life is dedicated to giving people greater access to the truth about what's going on in their communities, their cities and their governments.

The Information Diet The Information Diet
by Clay Johnson
July 2015
Print: $24.99
Ebook: $21.99

The Information Diet The Information Diet
by Clay Johnson
January 2012

Webcast: The Information Diet: How to Control What You Consume
March 20, 2012
We'll talk about obesity -- where it comes from, and what's been done to prevent it.

"Any reader concerned about media marketing and information's underlying purposes will find this a thought-provoking, important guide!"
--James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review: The Bookwatch, The Computer Shelf, March 2012, Volume 7, Number 3

"Required reading for smartphone owners developing a gnawing dependency on social media, it is an invitation to think about things that matter to you as an individual, friend and member of society."
--John Gilbey, Times Higher Education

"In The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption, Johnson suggests that we should think twice before uncritically taking in whatever digital “junk food” may come our way."
--Jake Adams, Spectrum Culture

"It’s happened again: You said you were turning in early, but it’s 1:25 am and you’re still binging on Facebook and YouTube. This is not healthy. You must control info intake as carefully as calorie intake, says Clay A. Johnson, whose book The Information Diet has become the geek version of fad health programs like Atkins or the Zone. Media personalities and high-profile Google and Microsoft employees are publicly extolling the virtues of Johnson’s data plan. Ready to get in rock-hard info shape? Here’s his recommended regimen. "
--Jordan Crucchiola, Wired Magazine

"This strikes me as an important book for anyone who is highly plugged into the blogosphere, whether conservative or liberal. We call ourselves “information junkies” or “political junkies” for a reason: We’re addicted to that next hit of affirmation."
--Tina Korbe

"I think that the concepts and practices here desperately need to be practiced by far more people in order to stop the fragmenting of our society, as well as the ability of a few "leaders" to control the thoughts and actions of millions who don't or won't think for themselves. "
--Thomas Duff

"When it comes to your own consumption, the book has some good tips. They range from cutting down your total information consumption, building the ability to concentrate, and making sure you don't get lost in the rabbithole of email or social media."
--Trev Roberts

"An informative, pretty quick read, I'll be passing the book along to a friend and encourage them to pass it along too!"
--M. Schafer,

"A good framework to get started in feeding your brain better information. We need to treat our mental development with as much importance as our physical health (and, of course, they are connected). Conscious information consumption makes sense. You can’t go wrong by reading this book and trying out its ideas. "
--Mark Dykeman, Thoughtwrestling

"It is essential for everyone who strives to be smart, productive, and sane."
--Steve Bush, New Equipment Digest, February 2012

"A highly recommended article on how to start your information diet. No kidding. Isn’t it curious that a book called The Information Diet (Clay Johnson, 2012) spreads like wildfire even before its publication?"
--Francisco Sáez, FacileThings

"Read, watch and listen carefully, and continue to think critically."

"My favorite analogy of Johnson's...sums up the idea behind the book nicely: “The fried chicken isn’t making and purchasing itself and flying into people’s mouths. Blaming the information is equally as absurd.”"
--Chelsi Nakano,

"Johnson also is the author of The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption, and he has written the column not only to further the argument of his book, but also to market the tome by seizing some space in the Los Angeles newspaper, and now the Denver newspaper as well."
--Robert Schwab, The Huffington Post

"The Information Diet is a good introduction to the idea of turning off the noise, but it can go further in future editions."
--Ellyn Ritterskamp, About This Particular Macintosh

"Johnson’s point, well stated, is the principle that librarians have stressed for decades, peaking in the 1980’s with the launch of an energetic campaign to highlight “information literacy” as essential to the core curriculum from cradle through college. For the outset branding of that worthy campaign was unfortunate – stuffy, pedantic, boring. Though Clay Johnson’s food analogy is more catchy. the idea behind the information literacy brand is sound: Just as the way to avoid obesity is to be a smart consumer of food, the way to avoid ignorance is to be a smart consumer of information."
--Mary Treacy, Poking Around with Mary

"It's the perfect time, with this abundance of pages to read and videos to watch, to consider Clay Johnson's book, The Information Diet. In his words, the book is about "How the new, information-abundant society is suffering consequences from poor information consumption habits" The book also outlines a plan for metering the kinds of content that we consume, as we do with food diets that need to be balanced between junk food and healthier food that initially taste worse but will make us healthier and happier. (For every milkshake, I average out a glass of green kale juice.)"
--Brian Lam, The Wirecutter

"Clay Johnson's thesis is important, especially in an election year: whether we gravitate to Jon Stewart or Bill O'Reilly, to MSN or Fox, we must be conscious of how our chosen sources of information influence the stands we take. Society benefits when we consumers follow a healthy, whole-foods information diet. We are what we eat."
--Valerie Schultz, The Bakersfield Californian

"I recommend reading this book and integrating the parts that work for you into your consumption habits. Don’t go overboard, but cut out the obvious crap."
--Paul Drapeau, The PDogg Blog

"Clay, I like the fact that you are identifying or labeling something that needs to be labeled. You're talking about something that needs to be talked about...Thank you for starting this conversation."
--David McMillan, Strategies for Living