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First POST: Headlining

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 15 2014

Republican efforts to catch up to Democratic techies begin to bear fruit; TV ads are getting targeted at specific viewers; comments to the FCC on its net neutrality/open Internet proposal close down; and much, much more. Read More

How to Raise $5 Million Online For Campaign Finance Reform: Why MayDay PAC Succeeded

BY Ben Wikler | Monday, July 14 2014

Lawrence Lessig as the president from the movie "Independence Day" (photoshop by Represent.us)

When Lawrence Lessig's MayDay SuperPAC reached its $5 million crowd-funding goal on July 4, on top of an earlier first-push target of $1 million, observers were sent reeling. The target had seemed not just ambitious, but naive: there just couldn't possibly be enough people out there who cared enough. And even if there were, there was no way to reach them—Lessig and his team gave themselves less than two months for the entire campaign. Not only that, but if they fell short, the money would all be refunded. It was a fool's errand. And then, literally as fireworks exploded up and down the East Coast on Independence Day, they hit their goal. How did they do it? Read More

First POST: Intercepted

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 7 2014

NSA intercepts of foreign targets capture data mainly from Americans and other uninvolved parties; Participant Media's new tool for determining the impact of socially-conscious media; Lawrence Lessig's MayDayPAC hits its July 4th crowdfunding goal; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Georemixing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 22 2014

Ethan Zuckerman on the global politics of YouTube georemixes; Facebook's flip-flop on user privacy; California's push to take "do not track" requests seriously; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Our Surveillance Society

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 14 2014

Senate mavericks Udall and Wyden take on the government's "culture of misinformation" about surveillance; all the private ways companies track individuals will curl your hair; how the European high court ruling against Google may change journalism and free speech; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Nerds Biting Back

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, May 12 2014

The latest on the FCC's rulemaking on net neutrality; tracking the details of the USA Freedom Act; Ecuador's push toward a commons-based peer production economy; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Beware the Ides of May

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 9 2014

The net neutrality fight is getting hotter; the absurdity of the NSA's new policy on not talking about what everyone is talking about; how "civic" crowdfunding projects are Kickstarter's best category; and much, much more. Read More

Galt.io and the Road to Online Suckerdom

BY David Karpf | Monday, May 5 2014

The latest entry into the “It’s like Facebook, but with less functionality and far fewer people” sweepstakes is Galt.io. The site, which just beta-launched this week, says it will be a location-based social network for libertarians, and invites its visitors to “Go Galt’ Without Leaving Home.” We asked Internet politics expert David Karpf to take a closer look, and he writes, "Of all the technology-revolutionizing-politics websites I’ve encountered, this is by far the silliest. Their one success thus far has been claiming to raise nearly $700,000 in crowdfunding membership pledges from 6,475 supporters. Converting those donations into meaningful political action is going to prove a lot harder for them." Read More

First POST: Adjustments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 1 2014

The RNC may be having trouble with its tech renaissance; how Facebook is "throttling" the organic reach of nonprofits and political causes; the demise of Twitter as a platform for useful conversation; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Why Crowdfunding Won't Change China Anytime Soon

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 8 2014

Promotional image for My 17 Gay Friends, a short film crowdfunded in China

Three years after the launch of China's first crowdfunding website in July 2011, the idea is “gradually catching on,” as the Wall Street Journal reported in January. The World Bank estimates the market potential in China by 2025 to be US$46 - $50 billion dollars. Modern China scholar Julian Gewirtz argues in a Tea Leaf Nation post that the crowdfunding trend might even usher in political change in China. However, as crowdfunding is subject to the same constraints as other forms of online media, that is an extremely optimistic assertion.

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News Briefs

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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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