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Did That Really Happen? A 2012 Tech-Politics News Quiz

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 17 2012

It's Friday afternoon and some folks think the world is supposed to end today, so we thought, while we wait for the apocalypse, why not make it fun to relive the highlights of the last year? What really did or didn't happen in the world of tech-politics last year? This quiz covers the hard questions. So, for your pleasure and amusement, try to match your wits against ours. No cheating. Answers at the bottom of the post. Read More

Jeremy Bird on the Future of Organizing for America, 2012 and Beyond

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 5 2012

"We weren't quick enough out of the gate," four years ago, says Jeremy Bird, the national field director of President Obama's re-election campaign. "We will be quicker this time." He's not talking about the race just concluded. He's talking about how Organizing for America, the president's political organization, operated in the days and months after Obama's first election in 2008, compared to what is coming now. Read More

Building on 2012 Grassroots Momentum, TheAction.org Launches Fiscal Cliff Calling Campaign in California

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, November 30 2012

TheAction.org, a new progressive coalition, is launching a phone campaign in California on Saturday that will target constituents in key congressional districts, asking them to call their member of congress to support ... Read More

Presidential Campaign 2012, By the Numbers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 26 2012

While not all of the numbers are in yet, we thought it would be useful to put in one place all the relevant data currently available about online and offline engagement by the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns. Some of these factoids are essentially unverifiable, but represent the claims being made by the campaigns in press reports. Others are drawn from available social network profiles and/or contemporaneous Google searches. Read More

After Obama 3.0, What Will 4.0 Look Like? TheAction.org Isn't Waiting for the Answer

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 21 2012

What next for the millions of people, tens of thousands of volunteers and several thousand staff who came together to propel Barack Obama to re-election? Will there be a real "outside" Washington strategy to put pressure on recalcitrant Members of Congress? Will they use the massive lists and online presence that were built around the campaign? Organizers of TheAction.org say they aren't waiting for answers to these big questions, but they are mobilizing to tap Obama's post-election, online and off, to try to keep him from compromising on repealing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans. 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

WeGov

How "We The People," the White House e-Petition Site, Could Help Form a More Perfect Union

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 20 2012

With nearly one million people signing petitions on the White House's "We the People" e-petition site calling for their state to secede from the Union, it's tempting to dismiss the platform as a lightning rod for the most disaffected Americans. But people petitioning the government could also be invited into a new kind of civic dialogue, one that might build on what "We the People" already promises: an official reply from the powers-that-be. Freed from the demands of another election and blessed with some of the smartest technologists in the country, the Obama Administration could use "We the People" to begin the work of constructing a real digital public square, not just another e-Potemkin village. Will they? Read More

Republican Digerati to the Party Establishment: "There You Go Again"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, November 14 2012

Some Republicans feel their brand is battered after 2012. Photo: Flickr/Johnath

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: For several digital strategists in the Republican party, 2012 is a haunting replay of 2008: As they ponder the magnitude of their party’s losses up and down the ballot, they’re casting around looking for leaders outside of the traditional party structure, which has failed them, in their eyes, two presidential election cycles in a row. The problems, they say, are both technological and organizational, the result of a failure to adjust the party platform for a changing America and to adapt an approach to the web for changing times. Veterans among the party's digerati hear the young Republicans who want to seize the levers of power and overhaul their political machine singing a tune that sounds depressingly familiar. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] How Obama’s Foreign Policy Can Be Savvier about Tech and Democratization

BY Phil Howard | Tuesday, November 13 2012

600,000 Georgians Rally for Democracy, Sept 2012 (Photo from http://www.democracyingeorgia.org)

In this op-ed, author Philip Howard looks at recent events in Georgia, Hungary, Myanmar and Venezuela, countries that are all in flux--some moving toward greater democracy, some less. He argues that "the transportable strategy for all four countries—countries that have actually become archetypes for how a country can open up or close down—involves encouraging open Internet access and competitive media environments. These countries are now ideal points of intervention, where a deliberate US response on information policy reform would not only solve problems in those countries. It would send the right signals to the strongmen in neighboring countries." Read More

Obama Puts a Ring On It

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 12 2012

Now that the election is over, all kinds of inside stories are starting to work their way out of the tightly controlled Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago. Here, in a video taken last August during a visit President Obama paid to his staff, but just uploaded Saturday, two young staffers, Sara El-Amine (the campaign's national training director) and Matthew Saniie, tell the President how they had gotten engaged during the campaign. It's impossible not to enjoy. We especially liked Obama's instant familiarity with Beyonce, and thought we'd commemorate it for all time with a few .gifs. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Upgrades

Obama tech veterans heading to Hillary 2016?; renewed calls for Obama to stop collecting Americans' phone metadata; FCC upgrades its definition of broadband service, finally; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Blogrolling

How Canada spies on its citizens' web behavior; with uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan quitting the field, whither political blogs; how big data is helping prevent homelessness in NYC; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Jargon Busters

Changes in the RNC's tech team; big plans for digital democracy in the UK; how people in Cuba are making their own private Internet; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Stalking

How the DEA tracks millions of America motorists; will the Senate enter the 21st century?; Obama veteran Jeremy Bird's role in the upcoming Israeli election; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Video Stars

How the White House hit a home run on YouTube post-State of the Union; why the Barrett Brown sentencing casts a chill on online security research; how media producers use Crowdtangle to optimize their Facebook audiences; and much, much more. GO

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