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On Eve of Illinois Primary, Romney Campaigns On Google+

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, March 20 2012

Mitt Romney, the frontrunner in the race to become the Republicans' 2012 presidential nominee, spent the Tuesday afternoon preceding the Illinois primary hanging out with supporters on Google+. Read More

Hugh Atkin is Back with "The Real Mitt Romney"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, March 20 2012

Just over twenty hours ago, an Australian lawyer who in his free time creates videos commenting on Australian and United States politics, created a video featuring a mashup of damaging statements Mitt Romney has made in ... Read More

Republican National Committee Uses #ObamaonEmpty To Fuel Attacks On Obama's Energy Policy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 15 2012

Republicans accelerated their rhetorical assaults against President Obama on Thursday, hitting him hard in speeches and online over gas prices as those prices rise, and Obama’s poll numbers go down. The Republican ... Read More

Split by SouthWest: My SXSW 2012 Diary

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 15 2012

danah boyd and Alex Howard at SXSW 2012 (Photo by Micah L. Sifry)

PDM editorial director Micah L. Sifry spent last Friday through Monday at South by SouthWest Interactive, attending panels, keynotes and hanging out. Here's his report: SXSW is still a place where sessions packed with thousands of attendees cheer for the iconoclasts and the game-changers. It is also much more of a business networking conference than an internet futurists' playpen. In short, it has a split personality. 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

Yes They Can: What Voters Have Lost and Campaigns Have Gained From 2008 to 2012

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 13 2012

The Short-Form Birth Certificate Obama 2012 Coffee Mug (from his Facebook Timeline)

Is the Internet empowering voters as much as it did in 2004 and 2008? Or have campaigns regained the upper hand, with their sophisticated use of data-mining? That was the question we debated Sunday afternoon in Austin, at the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference. Read More

Romney Campaign Uses Facebook To Publish Former Massachusetts Governor's Favorite Hits

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, March 9 2012

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign published a Spotify playlist of 19 songs on Facebook Friday. "A lot of you ask what Mitt listens to on the road. We compiled a list of favorites and put them on Spotify. Subscribe and ... Read More

San Francisco, Organizational Hub for a New Class of National Politicos

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 8 2012

From left to right: Chris Kelly, Christine Pelosi and Fred Davis at Rally's Super Tuesday party. Photo: Rally.

What was unusual about an evening Super Tuesday gathering in San Francisco was that many of the people there aren't working in a startup aimed at making some commercial aspect of life easier, faster and more fun. Instead, they are part of a generation of people with both political and tech savvy, using the web to fundamentally alter politics in general and specific campaigns in particular. For these people, the promise of a networked world and a new, networked politics — where people connecting outside the by-all-accounts-flawed and scandal-fraught party apparatus are starting to make an impact — is coming into focus. And rather than using their knowledge of the technology world to start the next Facebook, they're building a cadre of Silicon Valley companies that work in public affairs — not just non-profits, government, and civic life, but politics and campaigns. Read More

'Evangelicals For Mitt' Tells Peers: Yes You Can Vote For Mitt, Really.

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, March 6 2012

"There's a non-trivial number of evangelicals who believe that if we have a Mormon president, that will 'legitimize' Mormonism, and make it more acceptable in their minds, and therefore more and more people will become Mormon, and if you believe that Mormonism isn't Christianity, then more and more people are going to go to hell," explained Charles Mitchell, a onetime conservative activist and co-author of the blog Evangelicals for Mitt. "Sometimes, some people will tell us pretty directly that 'You are sending people to hell.'"

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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

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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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