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Romney Campaign Digital Director: Online Efforts Enjoyed Success

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, December 12 2012

In a blog post, Zac Moffatt wrote that just because the Romney campaign lost the election doesn't mean its digital efforts were not successful. Read More

The Obama Campaign's Legacy: Listen, Experiment, and Analyze Everything

BY Nick Judd and Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 21 2012

Photo: Torbakhopper / Flickr

The big story of the 2012 Obama campaign was not just that staffers were able to weave together information about voters using data integration in ways that had bedeviled the campaign in 2008. Nor was it the campaign’s ability to test nearly every tactic, from email subject lines and landing pages to the scripts that volunteers read from as they went door to door. If any one engine powered the campaign down its road to victory, it was the system that turned every voter, field staffer and grassroots volunteer into a political signal — and the mix of technology and analysis that allowed Obama’s Chicago headquarters to find those signals among all the noise. Read More

How Obama for America Made Its Facebook Friends Into Effective Advocates

BY Nick Judd | Monday, November 19 2012

During the summer, OfA chief data scientist Rayid Ghani and analyst Matt Rattigan brought the technology team a prototype piece of software. More a simple script, really, the prototype took a given supporter's Facebook ID, scanned the supporter's Facebook friends, checked what the campaign knew about those friends and returned content the campaign might want to put in front of them. By midsummer, they had a tool to spread content for the campaign that staff say was more than twice as effective as a traditional banner ad. Read More

So You Just Got the President Re-Elected. What Do You Talk About Next?

BY Nick Judd | Monday, November 12 2012

Obama for America's technologists have new obsessions: Rediscovering sleep, moving out of Chicago and pondering the wondrous world of unemployment. Read More

When Victorious Obama Spoke to “Distant Nations,” China’s Web Users Were Listening

BY David Wertime | Friday, November 9 2012

In his acceptance speech in the early morning of November 7, re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama seemed to be talking to the world when he said: “We can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.” If the President was attempting to project his words to “distant nations,” he succeeded. People in China, at least, were listening. Read More

Where Obama's Ground Soldiers Were, and Who They Are

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 8 2012

Ryan Enos / Eitan Hersh
A just-concluded research project studied thousands of Obama for America ground volunteers as they knocked on doors and made phone calls in their effort to get Barack Obama into the White House for another four years. Field organizers and volunteers answered a survey presented to them as they accessed a common piece of campaign software. This map shows where they were as they were answering the survey — campaign data exhaust that proves Obama's ground game was at its strongest exactly where Mitt Romney's campaign needed it to be weak. Read More

For Romney's Digital Campaign, a Second-Place Finish

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, November 7 2012

At every phase of the campaign, Mitt Romney's digital operation was half a step behind the technological savvy of Barack Obama's online team — at several moments, announcing features or ideas hours, days or months after the Obama campaign had already rolled them out. Read More

As Election Nears, Mormon Democrats a Newly Significant Voice Online

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, November 5 2012

No matter who wins the election Tuesday, the campaign has helped establish an online voice for a population with a unique perspective in this election -- self-described Mormon Democrats and supporters of Obama. Read More

Online Tools to Help You Get from the Ballot Box and Back

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, November 2 2012

In just a few days the long presidential election campaign will be over, and — hopefully — the deciding votes cast. But Election Day will for some mean polling places changed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, voter ID laws to comply with, potentially long lines to get to the voting booth and maybe even some unfamiliar decisions to make on the ballot.

There's an entire fleet of online tools to help voters through this process, whether they're dedicated to helping report problems at polling place or to get up to speed on where to vote and what to vote on. TechPresident has been compiling a list of election-day resources that we're ready to share. We think we got most of them but invite you to help by letting us know about any we've missed. We're also sharing an anyone-can-edit Google spreadsheet with the list we've found so far, and hope you can add to it.

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Oh, The Places They'll Go (To Find a Few More Voters)

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 22 2012

A glance at the Sportsmen for Obama page shows how hard the campaign works for even the smallest gains. Erin Hannigan, the group's online leader, has sent dozens of emails to its members. Most of these are the same generic emails everyone on the Obama campaign gets, like the fundraising pitches that have become ubiquitous, and which ProPublica has been tracking in great detail with its Message Machine project. Those numbers don't appear to be on the rise for Obama, but that hasn't stopped the campaign from trying. Read More

News Briefs

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Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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