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For Members of Congress, Ryan's VP Nomination Raises a Tweet Dilemma

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, August 16 2012

Various tweets by House members reacting to Rep. Paul Ryan's selection as the Republican vice presidential nominee may have violated Congressional rules, the Sunlight Foundation* reports. Read More

Two Congressional Staffers Move to Twitter's @Gov Team

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 19 2012

Bridget Coyne, digital director for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sean Evins, a staffer on the House Administration Committee, are moving to the Twitter Government and Politics team, according to a tweet from @gov. Politico had reported Evins' move last week. He told Politico Influence that he would be "acting as a liaison between Twitter and elected officials and helping them better communicate with their constituents." Read More

What Congress Might Do With All Those Emails

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 15 2012

The Republican House leadership is experimenting with tools that might make it easier for members of Congress to more easily understand what all the emails they get in a day really mean. There are also tools that track messages headed outbound towards Congress, like PopVox, that hope to give perspective on what representatives are hearing from the outside looking in. In this video, Dan Beckmann from the technology firm ib5k describes how his company's platform, Correlate, is designed to solve one aspect of the problem. It is now in use by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer — a Democrat — and may appear elsewhere within House leadership soon, Beckmann says. Read More

For Transparency Advocates, the Honeymoon with House Republicans May Be Over

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 1 2012

When John Boehner promised at the start of his turn as House Speaker to make the House of Representatives far more transparent, and to use technology to do it, advocates for an easier-to-understand Congress were cautiously optimistic. But House Republicans are poised to take a move that transparency advocates see as kicking the can down the road on the single most crucial thing the 112th Congress could do to open up the business of lawmaking. Read More

Let's All Talk About Congressional Email

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 5 2012

What is the flood of emails pouring into Congress doing to national politics? Matt Glassman, an adjunct professor of political science at Catholic University, thinks it might be creating reasons for individual members to focus less on local politics and more on attention-getting national issues. Read More

Republicans in Congress More Effective on Twitter, Study Finds

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 22 2012

Image: Shutterstock

Congressional Republicans use Twitter more effectively than Congressional Democrats, according to a political analysis of Twitter conducted by Edelman and Simply Measured. The study analyzed 456 Congressional Twitter handles from September to December 2011. Read More

Which Member of Congress Has the Biggest Vocabulary?

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, February 28 2012

Using the Sunlight Foundation's* Capitol Words API, independent analytics consultant Dan Kozikowski has put together a look at the vocabulary of each member of Congress and mapped the results on a Google map.

By his analysis, the most loquacious legislator in the House of Representatives is Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, who holds a bachelor's degree from Yale and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Kozikowski also looked for words said only once in Congress by members of each party since 1996, which is as far back as the data available through Sunlight goes. (Sunlight gets its data from the Congressional Record.)

Read More

Issa's Still Sour On SOPA

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, December 13 2011

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued a statement today restating his opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act. Its chief sponsor, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), has introduced a manager's amendment that would alter the controversial anti-piracy legislation; Issa doesn't think it's enough. Read More

Capitol Hill's Dec. 7 Hackathon Means Government's Getting Geekier

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, November 28 2011

Photo: Elliott P. / Flickr Software developers, Capitol Hill staffers and transparency advocates will brainstorm about what's to come in this field at Congress’ first-ever hackathon on Dec. 7 at the Capitol Visitors ... Read More

New iPad App Hopes to Modernize Lawmaking on the Hill

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, November 17 2011

For years, BlackBerries have been the signature gadget that every Hill staffer has to have. PopVox's "MarkUp," app, which debuted in Apple's iTunes store Thursday, might be one more reason for the iPad to stake a claim ... Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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