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Organizing for America: "A Start-up With the Assets of Google"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 16 2013

OFA's Jon Carson addressing RootsCamp 2013 (Photo by Roshni Karwal)

To hear Jon Carson tell it, Organizing for America, the continuation of President Obama's massive 2012 political machine, was nothing but a one-man shop on January 20, 2013, just him sitting "in a Potbellies restaurant" near the White House charting out its future. Except for one thing. "We were a start-up that inherited the assets of Google." That is, as Carson, OFA's executive director, made clear at an open session last Friday morning at RootsCamp 2013, OFA isn't really a start-up at all, just a new bottle for all the campaign's old wine. And a much smaller bottle at that. For while OFA did inherit digital assets like the @barackobama Twitter account and its massive email list, it had to start from scratch raising money to pay for a staff and figure out what kind of role it could play as a loyal handservant to Obama in a post-campaign setting. Read More

Jeremy Bird on the Future of Organizing for America, 2012 and Beyond

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 5 2012

"We weren't quick enough out of the gate," four years ago, says Jeremy Bird, the national field director of President Obama's re-election campaign. "We will be quicker this time." He's not talking about the race just concluded. He's talking about how Organizing for America, the president's political organization, operated in the days and months after Obama's first election in 2008, compared to what is coming now. Read More

Dems Debate Whose Campaign Tools to Trust: NGP VAN or NationBuilder

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, August 1 2012

As Democratic campaigners search for the best tools to track voters and voter contacts, some of them are looking at working with their voter data in a platform from the upstart nonpartisan firm NationBuilder instead of with software from NGP VAN, which many Democrats have used for years. And two of those candidates have received a strong message from their state Democratic Party organizations: Stick with the tools we’re already using. Read More

Hidden in Plain View: Obama 2012's Organizing Blueprint

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 3 2012

Image from "Campaigning to Engage and Win: A Guide to Leading Electoral Campaigns."

Yesterday, the New Organizing Institute, a progressive training center, published a 210-page manual titled, "Campaigning to Engage and Win: A Guide to Leading Electoral Campaigns." Written by and for campaigners at every level of politics, it is also the Obama 2012 field strategy, hidden in plain view. It is also an argument for a different way of campaigning than the traditional reliance on fundraising and TV ads, one that calls for starting earlier and engaging supporters more deeply in all aspects of a campaign's life, and one that builds on the one thing that may make campaigns in the digital age different: thanks to technology, it makes sense to involve more people. Indeed, it may be the best way to win. Read More

Social + Field + 2012

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, May 27 2011

NationalField, the social network for organizing that grew out of the Obama '08 campaign and which we profiled a few weeks back, rolls out its latest version today, keyed to 2012. Take a look at what the experience will ... Read More

Reverse Engineering Scott Brown's Win: Breakthrough Field Apps and Age Old Political Arts

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, January 21 2010

What if, has gone the thought of every Democratic field staffer who has suffered through the inefficiencies of shuffling through paper-based "walk lists" as they shuffle through the streets, knocking on doors, ... Read More

Pulling Off Houdini's Trick

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, December 16 2008

On election day, 2008, the Obama campaign experimented with a new system designed to fix one of the strategic problems that can plague election efforts: not knowing which of the potential voters field organizers work so ... Read More

Liveblogging the Harvard Internet & Politics conference part 6: the Obama Campaign

BY Editors | Thursday, December 11 2008

This morning, the Harvard Internet & Politics conference continues with two "deep dives" into the McCain and Obama campaigns. We continue to operate under Chatham House Rules, so the following liveblog will remain ... Read More

MyBO, the video game

BY Editors | Sunday, November 16 2008

It featured minimal graphics, no sound effects, and deeply flawed gameplay. Yet one of the most important game titles of 2008 was played by thousands and helped change the face of American politics. That game was ... Read More

Daily Digest: Partying Like It's 11/04/08

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, November 3 2008

The Web on the Candidates The Latest in Robocall Busting: Starring in one of David Spark's "Sixteen Great Twitter Moments" now up on Mashable is the National Political Do Not Contact Registry's Shaun Dakin and ... 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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