Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

ICYMI: K-Pop Phenomenon PSY Asks For El Monte Lifeguards' Jobs Back

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, September 17 2012

News of the group of Southern Californian lifeguards' firing for making and sharing a parody of "Gangnam Style" made it to MTV last week, where the tune and video's creator PSY appealed for the lifeguards' jobs back. Read More

You Gotta Have Friends: New Study Shows Facebook Can Get Out the Vote

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 12 2012

Photo by Micah L. Sifry, 2008

A new study by researchers led by U.C. San Diego that is being published tomorrow in the journal Nature offers detailed evidence that a non-partisan get-out-the-vote reminder on Facebook can also increase voter turnout--especially if they come with evidence that your real friends are also voting. Read More

WeGov

Spanish Physicians Mount Online Campaign to Protest Cuts to Immigrant Health Care

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, September 11 2012

Screenshot taken from Derecho a Curar website

In response to budget cuts that would eliminate free health care for undocumented immigrants, Spanish physicians created an online protest campaign under the auspices of Medicos del Mundo. Read More

WeGov

Websites as Political Organizers

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, September 11 2012

A prominent Egyptian activist and labor organizer explains in detail how websites can be used for effective political organization. Includes fascinating data about the rise in Internet access amongst the very poor, whose primary portal is increasingly their mobile phones. Read More

ICYMI: Obama Campaign's Tech Tools of Persuasion Working "Incredibly Well," Says Campaign Manager Jim Messina

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, September 5 2012

Just in case you missed it, the Obama campaign's top campaign managers spent Tuesday morning boasting about their tech and field operations, with campaign manager Jim Messina saying that the campaign this time around is ... Read More

If Your Friend Writes a Political Rant on Facebook, Will It Change Your Mind?

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, September 4 2012

There's a joke quote circulating on Facebook that goes like this: "'Your relentless political Facebook posts finally turned me around to your way of thinking,' said nobody, ever."

The funny thing is, that might not actually be true.

"People whose friends post some (or a lot of) political content on social networking sites are much more likely to say that they have changed their mind about a political issue or become more involved with a political issue after reading/discussing them on a social network (compared with people whose friends don’t post much political content)," Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Internet & American Life Project, told me Tuesday via email.

Read More

WeGov

Crowdsourcing Disaster Response Via Social Media and SMS

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, August 27 2012

In two detailed and important blog posts, Patrick Meier explains how grassroots activists are using social media platforms and mobile phones to coordinate disaster relief, often when the government's response is inadequate. In many cases, Meier points out, the grassroots networks existed already, having been created as a means of coordinating political protest. Read More

On Facebook, A Torrent of Outrage And Disgust As Todd Akin Asks For a "THUMBS UP"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, August 21 2012

Thousands of people have taken to Facebook to urge Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin to withdraw from the Senate race

All hell might be breaking loose within the Republican party in the wake of Missouri House Republican Todd Akin's bizarre Sunday comment exposing the idea that he thinks that some forms of rape are "legitimate," but the ... Read More

In Socially Conservative North Dakota, a Gay Candidate Using the Web to Win

BY Cody Lyon | Friday, August 3 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Joshua Boschee is an openly gay candidate for public office in a socially conservative state, but observers say he's got a real shot at becoming one of Fargo, North Dakota's next representatives in the state legislature.

Boschee's home state of North Dakota has, according to one study, the lowest proportion of same-sex couples in the United States. It's a conservative state, although "conservative" means something different in the only state in the Union with a state-owned bank and a state-owned grain mill and elevator.

The 30-year-old activist and assistant director of leadership and organizations at Minnesota State University is a special case in part because he and his campaign manager say social media is offering him a competitive edge. People he might not otherwise know how to find in a city like Fargo, such as people who respond to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues but aren't already a part of LGBT-focused communities there, he can find on Facebook instead. And when he builds his constituency anywhere, he says, he immediately sees those persuadable voters following up to find out more about him online.

Read More

Google Now Allows Advertisers To Target Ads By Congressional District

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, August 3 2012

Google rolled out a new service this week that enables advertisers to target their audience specifically by congressional district. The new functionality adds a level of granularity that isn't available through Facebook, ... Read More

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More