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The Rise and Fall of Social Media in American Politics (And How it May Rise Again)

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 6 2012

Four years ago for us here techPresident, Election Day was a moment to reflect on the Internet's impact on the campaign, and in particular how so many voters had ventured onto the playing field of politics by using new interactive media, self-publishing tools like blogs and YouTube, and nascent social networks like Facebook. But if you've spent any time reading techPresident this cycle, you've noticed that we've more or less stopped paying close attention to social media metrics. The reason is, they didn't make a difference to the race. The question is why. Read More

If Obama Wins on Tuesday, Give the Nerds More Credit

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 5 2012

While Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, math nerd and poll-meister supreme, has gotten a tremendous amount of attention of late for his confident prediction of an Obama victory in tomorrow's election, the largely unwritten story of 2012 includes a different group of math nerds who specialize in figuring out which voters might be persuaded to vote for their candidate and then making sure that they maximize the number of people who actually come out to vote that way. We know very little about their work for two big reasons. First, neither campaign has wanted to tip off their opponent to what they're doing, and second, with just a few rare exceptions, political reporters and their story-assignment editors aren't even looking to find out. But tomorrow is the biggest test yet for their analytic approach to targeting, persuading and turning out voters. 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

Thousands of People Have Used Remote-Controlled Pens Over The Internet To Register To Vote

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, October 26 2012

Photo: Crownjewel82 / Flickr

While it's a drop in the bucket in numbers, this election cycle has seen one science-fiction like innovation in an area that might seem dry as dust, yet holds significance for the future of voter engagement: Voter registration. This year, more than 100,000 people have used remote-controlled pens over the Internet to sign and complete their voter-registration forms. Read More

Who's Winning the YouTube War, Obama or Romney?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 24 2012

Obama Denver rally live on YouTube, October 24, 2012

While the presidential campaign appears to have tightened in the polls, in the last month Barack Obama has been trouncing Mitt Romney on YouTube, garnering nearly five times as many views overall. Here's how the two campaigns' strategies with online video differ, and why it matters. Read More

What Schieffer Should Ask: The Internet and Foreign Policy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, October 22 2012

The two presidential candidates aren't likely to get to this at Monday night's final presidential debate, but one revealing question CBS' Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer could ask is what role they think the Internet should play in conducting public diplomacy and in promoting freedom abroad. Read More

Why Campaigns Are Happy Your Vote Isn't as Private as Many Think It Is

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 22 2012

Is it "creepy" to pressure people to vote? Photo: mdfriendofhillary / Flickr

Among the tools campaigns are deploying this year are a number of technological innovations that lean on "social pressure" to get out the vote. These can include messages that use a voter's voting history in an attempt to "shame" them into voting in November or asking supporters to try and talk their friends into casting a ballot. This year, your political leanings are more public than ever. Is that a good thing? Read More

In New Videos, Obama Campaign Courts the Tech Vote

BY Nick Judd | Friday, October 19 2012

The Obama campaign's arm for outreach to the tech sector, Tech4Obama, today released a series of videos featuring big Silicon Valley names voicing their support for the president's re-election. Dave Morin of Path, Greylock's Reed Hastings, and Craigslist's Craig Newmark are all among the people to deliver their endorsement in this round of videos. Read More

Obama Tells Jon Stewart About His Campaign's Email Targeting Operation

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, October 18 2012

It may not be the answer that ProPublica is looking for after doing its own analysis of the Obama campaign's fundraising emails, but President Barack Obama jokingly offered Jon Stewart some insight into Obama for America's prolific email fundraising operation on Thursday. Read More

2012 Political Book Buyers Less Polarized Than in 2008

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 16 2012

Detail from Valdis Krebs, 2012 Political Book Network

Every four years, Valdis Krebs, an expert in network analysis, takes a look at the political book-buying habits of Amazon's customers, and performs a bit of data visualization magic. By looking at the data Amazon shares about people who buy books in common, along with the "also-bought" pairings, Krebs produces a network map linking books, and their buyers, into clusters. You can see the moats dividing many Americans into blue and red islands, but also the places where intellectual bridges may exist. (I've included a snippet of the map, but to see the full picture you should go to Krebs' website.) Read More

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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