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

First POST: Incentives

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 10 2013

HealthCare.gov has turned the corner; David Karpf asks if Change.org is watering down its issues as its gains users; and everyone is worrying when the great Facebook News Feed crash will come; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Profanity

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 31 2013

The Washington Post exposes the NSA's hacking of Google and Yahoo; the US promises, yet again, to overhaul its FOIA administration; the states start to pass their own new privacy laws; and much, much more. Read More

You Can't A/B Test Your Response to Syria

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Senate hearing Sept 3, 2013. Department of Defense Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton.

While Congress wrestles with President Obama's unexpected request for formal legal authorization before he orders airstrikes on Syria, it's been fascinating to watch the country's big online advocacy groups try to figure out their own position on the crisis. Should the US bomb Syria in order to punish Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people, risking a wider American involvement in the conflict and potentially further destabilizing the region? Or should the US stay out of that kind of direct involvement, even if that risks emboldening Assad and could lead to more frequent uses of chemical weapons in the future? These are just some of the hard questions at stake. And what makes any decision even harder is the fast-moving and relatively unique nature of these events. Even tougher for big e-groups like MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which collectively claim about ten million list members, the Syria crisis isn't an issue that these groups were formed to address. Nor is there an obvious consensus "progressive" position to promote, beyond the one these groups were all touting in the last few weeks (along with many others, including some conservative organizations), which was the need to bring the question before Congress. Some people are strong anti-interventionists, wary of green-lighting another American incursion in the Middle East. Others worry about genocide, and don't want to look the other way when mass killings of civilians take place. Read More

MoveOn.org Endorses Silicon Valley Incumbent Mike Honda

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, August 12 2013

MoveOn Political Action announced Monday that its members have endorsed Silicon Valley's incumbent Democrat Mike Honda. Read More

How "Big Data" And Behavioral Science Powered Progressive Groups in 2012

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Saturday, November 10 2012

An October canvas in Richmond, ViA. Photo: Flickr/AFL-CIO

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The Obama campaign wasn't the only center of data-driven, technology-enabled field work on the left. Groups like MoveOn and the AFL-CIO's super PAC, Worker's Voice, also used the Internet to leverage their understanding of behavioral psychology and user-generated content into a massively scaled persuasion and get-out-the-vote effort. Read More

Was Darcy Burner's Primary Loss a Sign of a Declining Netroots?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, August 9 2012

As Cyndi Lauper once sang: "Money changes everything."

That's something that everyone can agree on in American politics, but that's about the extent of the agreement. The question is whether the trend in self-financing wealthy candidates and Super PACs is dampening the enthusiasm of the American left this election cycle. Some look at the failure of netroots favorite Darcy Burner's recent bid for Washington State's 1st Congressional District as an example of all that is wrong in political races, and others — those who were involved — say that the circumstances in that particular race were unique, and that larger lessons about the health of the netroots organizing model can't be extracted from the experience.

Read More

This Isn't What Political Air Time Usually Means

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 23 2012

MoveOn.org is asking supporters for $150,000 in donations to fly a plane above high-dollar fundraisers for Mitt Romney with "a message that reminds voters how he represents his corporate and 1% donors." MoveOn previously hired a plane to fly over Romney's Liberty University graduation speech with the message "GOP = HIGHER SCHOOL DEBT." Read More

How Online Activists Worked for Years to Change the Face of Student Debt

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, October 27 2011

A protester at a student Occupy march in Boston earlier this month. Photo: Lauren Metter / DigBoston.com Wednesday morning, when the White House announced its official response to an online petition calling on President ... Read More

OccupyWishList Launches, An Online Registry Connecting #OWS Needs and Donors

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 25 2011

Here's another interesting online effort that's popped up around the Occupy Wall Street movement: OccupyWishList.org, a simple platform where people who want to give direct support to occupiers in need of things like ... Read More

How to Listen to Your Online Members: Debating the MoveOn Way

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 26 2010

If you're a typical online political activist, you probably are on a fair number of email lists, a member of a number of advocacy organizations, and maybe send dues to a few. But how often do you get asked by any of them ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

GO

monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

GO

The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

GO

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

More