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Book Review: Our Computers, Ourselves--Living With Present Shock

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, June 21 2013

Douglas Rushkoff speaking at PDF 2013 (Photo by Esty Stein/Personal Democracy Media)

I read Douglas Rushkoff's new book Present Shock two months ago, and found myself underlining and taking notes on nearly every page. Somehow, he ties together dozens of seemingly disparate phenomena--the popularity of reality TV, the death of ideology, how news has been replaced by spectacle, our compulsion to constantly "check in" on our digital inputs, the rise of the Tea Party and Occupy movements, even our culture's fascination with zombies and impending apocalypse--and finds the signal in all the noise. It's worth a listen. Here's my review. Read More

To Spur Donations, Obama Campaign Reminds Donors of What They've Given Already

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 10 2012

Appealing to donors' sense of urgency and their history with the campaign, Barack Obama's re-election effort is sending people on its email list a fundraising ask that includes information on how much they've given in the past — going all the way back to the 2008 campaign. Read More

WeGov

In Wake of Public Outcry, Iran Lifts "Indefinite" Block on Gmail After One Week

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, October 1 2012

One week after announcing that access to Gmail and Google search would be blocked indefinitely in the Islamic Regime of Iran, regime officials restored access to the popular online platforms while claiming that they had unintentionally blocked them while trying to filter the crude anti-Islam film, "Innocence of the Muslims." Meanwhile, the Ministry of Telecommunications launched its own official email service, which requires users to register. Read More

In an Email "Mistake," a New York Campaign Takes a Rival's Name in Vain

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 14 2012

New York State Senator Greg Ball's re-election campaign is caught up in a web peccadillo that might put Ball on the wrong side of a law he himself supported.

Our friend at Capital New York, Azi Paybarah, reports that Ball's campaign sent out an email in the name of Justin Wagner, a Westchester attorney and Ball's Democratic opponent. The campaign told the Journal News that putting Wagner's name in the "from" field was a mistake corrected in subsequent emails, Paybarah notes. The email linked to a website, Wackywagner.com, full of less-than-flattering prose about Wagner.

Wagner is asking the district attorney's office to investigate the email, to which a 2008 change in the law — one that happened with Ball's support — seems relevant.

Read More

Poetry of the Email Subject Line: Urgent

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 12 2012

Hey This is important Also Help Excuse me I want to buy you a cup of coffee Drop what you're doing Urgent A big problem right now Scary We could lose if this continues I will be outspent --B.H. Obama Answer this call ... Read More

Poetry of the Email Subject Line: Anticipation

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, June 15 2012

The steganographic gods are at it again. Read More

Jon Stewart and Barack Obama's "Techno-Wizard" Ways

BY Nick Judd | Friday, April 6 2012

By now you may have seen this video of Jon Stewart taking Barack Obama's re-election campaign to task for the barrage of casual requests for money that tend to crop up towards the end of each month and as campaigns approach quarterly filing deadlines with the Federal Election Commission. Besides Stewart being Stewart, the idea that the President of the United States doesn't need to resort to headlines like, "Hey," to get money, and a brief clip of techPresident publisher Andrew Rasiej, the video is worth watching because it's an example of another thing the Obama campaign is casually doing: Figuring out exactly what to say to you online. 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

Romney Campaign Hijacks Obama Campaign Manager's Fundraising E-Mail Again

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, March 14 2012

Mitt Romney's campaign manager Matt Rhoades sent out a fundraising e-mail Tuesday night, but most of the writing in the note was done by Jim Messina, President Obama's campaign manager. Rhoades had forwarded Messina's ... Read More

How Low Can You Go? Why the $3 E-mail Ask is Working

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, February 16 2012

Panhandler in San Francisco, February 2008. Source: Wikimedia Commons

All of a sudden, campaigns everywhere are literally begging for as little as $3 in their email fundraising pitches. Are Americans tapped out? Or is something else going on here? Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Wartime

A bizarre online marketing effort targets actress Emma Watson; why the news media needs to defend the privacy of its online readers; Chicago's playbook for civic user testing; and much, much more. GO

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