Melissa Ryan
Writer.  Organizer.  Digital Strategist.

Hi, I’m Melissa Ryan. I help people, policymakers, and institutions combat online toxicity and extremism. (AKA trolls, the so-called alt-right, disinformation, and fake news.)

I write Ctrl Alt-Right Delete, a weekly newsletter in partnership with HOPE not hate, that reaches more than 15,000 readers. I’ve also written commentary for outlets like Buzzfeed News, Refinery29, and NowThis.

Previously I was a digital strategist for Democratic campaigns and progressive causes. I worked with influencers and online communities to raise money, mobilize activists, drive online conversations and shape media narratives. My familiarity with this space gives me a unique insight into how trolls and extremists organize.

Interested in hiring me to consult, train, or speak? Let’s talk!

Want to learn more about me? Read my full bio.


I speak at conferences, universities, progressive groups, and select corporate settings. Recent engagements include The NY Daily News Innovation Lab, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The American Constitution Society, and Pepperdine University.

I’m also available for trainings. Currently, I have a 45-minute and a 90-minute module on information warfare.

Want to book me for your event? Get in touch.

Recent Engagements

Strategy Discussion: Preparing for Opposition Tactics

Counting for Democracy, Census and Redistricting Conference, Washington DC, December 13, 2018

Going Global: Let’s build a transnational coalition to fight online toxicity and extremism

Mozfest, London, UK, October 27, 2018

Crisis Scenario: You're the target of disinformation. Now what?

MisinfoCon London, October 24, 2018

Fighting Back Against Russian Active Measures

Netroots Nation, New Orleans LA, August 4, 2018

How Online Harassment is Ruining Democracy

Netroots Nation, New Orleans LA, August 3, 2018

Fake News Horror Show! Opening Keynote Panel

Fake News Horror Show, NYC Media Lab, June 7, 2018

Culture and its Discontents: A Public Conversation

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, April 6-7

Fake News: 2016 was a cakewalk. Here’s what’s coming in ‘18 and ’20, and how you can prepare your clients

Reed Awards, Charleston South Carolina, February 27, 2018

Fake News, Social Media, and Polling

2018 UAW National CAP Conference, Washington DC, February 6, 2018

American Constitution Society National Lawyer Convening

Milwaukee Wisconsin, October 21, 2017

How to Fight the Alt-Right

Democratic Women of Westport, September 17, 2017

Combating Fake News Online

Netroots Nation, August 12, 2017, Atlanta Georgia

We Can Solve The Fake News Problem

Daily News Innovation Lab, February 8, 2017

Keynote: From Kissing Babies to Liking Posts: How Social Media has Changed the American Campaign

Technology and Civic Engagement 2016, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, October 14, 2016

Communications MythBusters: Best Practices vs. Bad Advice

Non Profit Technology Conference, March 25, 2016

Getting it Right in 2015

2015 Reed Awards, February 18, 2016

What Crowdfunding Can Do for Your Campaign or Organization

Art of Political Campaigning, July 18, 2015

How to Write a Fundraising Email

CampaignTech East, April 22, 2015

Running Digital Campaigns: What's Changed and What's Still Working?

Netroots Nation, July 19, 2014

The Organizing Edge: Online Predictions for the 2016 Elections

Netroots Nation, July 19, 2014

Screwing with People Fast: Rapid Response Videos in Campaigns

Netroots Nation, June 22, 2013

Social Media and Labor Activism

AFGE Editors Association Conference, February 17, 2012 VIDEO

Organizing the Occupation

New Organizing Institute at University of Wisconsin May 12, 2011

Title of talk

Talk info: conference, date, etc



About Melissa

Melissa Ryan's work lives at the intersection of politics, media, and technology. For more than a decade she has been a staple in the progressive movement, helping progressives build and grow online communities. Ryan is currently visiting fellow at Media Matters for America, where she works alongside the researchers and writers studying the intersection of disinformation and technology, sharing her own expertise and identifying opportunities for content that benefits the public.

Following unprecedented foreign interference in the 2016 election, Ryan launched Ctrl Alt-Right Delete making her one of the first progressives to chronicle the rise of the alt-right. Since then, she has partnered on the newsletter with Hope not hate, a UK organization fighting racism and fascism for a generation, which has brought their expert research and campaigning work to the USA. Her newsletter has grown to more than 14,000 weekly readers -- and led Ryan to launch Factual Democracy Project, an organization pioneering a multi-disciplinary response to the extreme right coalition and the weaponization of the Internet.

As a consultant and digital campaigner Ryan has worked on more than 20 federal, state and local campaigns, leading teams that have built vibrant online communities that have knocked on thousands of doors, made tens of thousands of phone calls, and contributed millions of dollars to political candidates.

Ryan was instrumental in the #WIunion protests in 2010, helping organizers turn the occupation of Wisconsin’s State Capitol Building (to protest Scott Walker’s legislation that stripped public workers of their right to collective bargaining) into an international news story. She amplified voices of local Wisconsin bloggers and influencers at the protests and helped their work find an global audience, helping their stories be heard by millions.

As digital director at the New Organizing Institute, Ryan helped train over 500 digital strategists, helping build what The New York Times Magazine’s Robert Draper called “the yawning digital divide between the two parties.” She later signed on as digital director of EMILY’s List, which helps elect pro-choice women leaders into office. During her tenure there her team added 1 million new members to the PAC’s online reach, an increase of more than 50 percent. Ryan also worked on Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign on the digital team where she managed outreach to progressive media and other influential people.

Ryan was honored in 2014 with a Campaigns & Elections Rising Star award and was twice named by the Washington Post as a top tweeter for Wisconsin politics. She’s spoken on digital strategy at Netroots Nation, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Wellstone’s School of Campaign Management, among others. She’s often called on by both journalists and conference organizers to help everyday Americans understand how our current events are shaped by social media and how political campaigns use digital strategy to engage voters.

Ryan launched her career by writing about local and state politics for Connecticut Local Politics, then Connecticut’s most popular political blog. Her commentary about the 2006 Senate race --where Ned Lamont successfully challenged Joe Lieberman for his party’s nomination -- brought her into national political prominence. In 2008 Ryan moved to Wisconsin where she served as Senator Russ Feingold’s new media director. She led a team that raised more than $5 million over the cycle -- including the “CheddarBomb,” a coordinated fundraising campaign that raised nearly $500,000 for Feingold in a 24-hour period.

Ryan currently lives in Washington, DC. Visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @MelissaRyan.