Daily Digest: Millennials of the World, Unite!
BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, July 1 2008
[If you haven't yet, be sure to take the TechPres poll Does a Connected World Need a Connected POTUS? and join the discussion in the comments.]
The Web on the Candidates
The Center for Community Change's Sally Kohn has a provocative piece calling for millennials -- those born between 1980 and 1995 -- to make their political activism more up close and personal. These younger Americans, writes Kohn, are masters of connective tools (think email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter) but were reared in an age shaped by Ronald Reagan's "lone cowboy" vision of the world and have developed some measure of hyperindividualism. But, she says, from the desegregation fight of the '60s to the anti-apartheid struggle, social change has been rooted in collective action. It's a short, great read. Highly recommended.
Focusing on activism of the more virtual sort for a moment, the group on MyBarackObama.com that has been calling on Barack Obama to vote against a surveillance bill that includes retroactive immunity for the telecom companies, has accrued about 3,000 members since this time yesterday, putting it on pace to be the single largest group on the campaign's social-networking site by Thursday. With 7,200 members right now, it's currently in 4th place and trailing the ambitiously named "1,000,000 Americans for Obama" by about two thousand members. Wired's Ryan Singel has more. At what point, if any, does the Obama campaign take public notice of the group? At what point does the "group" not care, as long as its success draws attention to the anti-FISA fight?
The Candidates on the Web
As Obama quickly distanced himself from Wesley Clark's questioning of whether whether John McCain's Vietnam service gives him national security chops, Clark found a succinct way to stand his ground: via his Facebook status line: "Wes Clark knows that John McCain is largely untested and untried when it comes to national security matters." (Also worth keeping an eye on: in a recent speech on the subject of patriotism, Obama made special mention of the online-based activist giant MoveOn, though the reference was veiled. MoveOn, which took considerable heat for an ad in the New York Times that used the phrase "General Betray Us" in the context of the congressional testimony of General David Petraeus, was the target of Obama's disapproval: [T]those who opposed administration policy were tagged by some as unpatriotic, and a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal." No response yet from MoveOn on Obama's criticism.)
Speaking of MoveOn, is Newt Gingrich's rather successful Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less petition drive, with its 1.2 million signers, poised to blossom into its conservative equal? On the yes side: offshore oil drilling is proving to be an argument that unifies the disparate parts of the political right. Arguments against: beyond maybe reviving the nuclear debate, where does a group named "Drill Now" go from here?
TechCongress and Beyond
Two cautionary tales about the dangers of trusting automated tools. The first is the simmering question over whether pro-Obamaites improperly used the Google Blogger service's one-click Flag Blog tool to shut down a raft of anti-Obama blogs. (This is going to sound incredibly dorky, but Google's description of how the flagging tool is meant to improve the community experience is well worth a read.) Google has defended itself, saying that the shut down was linked to the fact that the "Just Say No Deal" network -- slogan: "NObama" -- that the sites are part of was mentioned in spam emails. But anti-Obama blogger Blue Lyon, at least, has decided to abandon the Blogger community for the relative Wild West that is WordPress.
And the second comes from Steve Benen, who reports that the American Family Association's auto-conversion of words found in Associated Press stories that they find intolerable -- like "Democratic" and "gay" -- resulted in the tagging of world-class U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay as "Tyson Homosexual." I'm sorry, but that's just funny. (Well, maybe not to Tyson Gay, but congrats on the 100 meter win!)
Reflecting upon PdF '08, USA Today's Chuck Raasch concludes that all politics is local and getting localer. On that front, check out the newly launched EveryBlock Philadelphia and EveryBlock Charlotte launched, which join sister EveryBlock sites in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. While not explicitly political, EveryBlock's hyperlocality reawakens the connection between human and community, and if that's not political, what is?
In Case You Missed It...
[A note from Micah Sifry] Congrats to Adam Mordecai on the birth of Dean Barack Mordecai, or is it Megatron Fantastico Mordecai? Actually, the name isn't decided yet, but Mordecai, whose firm Advomatic runs the back end of techPresident and PersonalDemocracy.com and many other sites, seems to be crowdsourcing the process of deciding. We lean towards Andrew Micah Mordecai, Adam! Mazel tov!