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First POST: Reinvention

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, December 20 2011

President Obama, Timothy Geithner, iPad.Pete Souza/White House
  • Ad Age looks at how some of the Republican presidential candidates have been using promoted tweets. Cotton Delo reports:

    Mr. Romney and Gov. Rick Perry are the only presidential aspirants deploying promoted tweets, but Herman Cain's team was using them before their candidate dropped out of the race earlier this month -- particularly to respond to the sexual harassment allegations. And in a move not directly associated with the campaign, House Speaker John Boehner used promoted tweets in November to comment on President Barack Obama's latest employment report and critique the White House's performance on jobs...Last Thursday night marked the last Republican debate before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and the second in which Mr. Perry's team has deployed promoted tweets. According to Mr. Perry's online strategist, Vincent Harris, the team has been changing up tweets in the course of the debates based on what's said. They have seen interaction rates of better than 2% -- "which you cannot get on any other platform," he said. The primary goal of the team's promoted tweets on Thursday was to drive traffic to Establishment Insider, a Perry-backed site that accuses Mr. Romney and Newt Gingrich of sharing the president's propensity for reckless spending.

  • More on the United States government's navel-gazing about whether to intervene in the use of Twitter by the Somalian Shabab militant group, as reported in the New York Times:

    American officials would not disclose what action they were considering. But some American officials said the government was exploring legal options to shut down the Shabab’s new Twitter account, potentially opening a debate over the line between free speech and support for terrorism...Most of the Shabab’s Twitter messages are in English, not Somali, and are clearly meant for an outside audience. American officials said they were worried that the Shabab might be using Twitter to reach potential recruits in the West.

  • David King from the Gotham Gazette noted that the advocacy group Common Cause NY has released its proposed redistricting maps ahead of the official Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. As he points out:

    Sen. Liz Krueger has said many times that LATFOR has lost its “mystique” thanks to the internet. “Now anyone with a decent computer and mapping software can sit down and draw fair lines,” Krueger told me during special session.

  • Two U.S. senators are urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google for allegedly favoring its own properties in search results.

  • While the debate over SOPA in the House Judiciary Committee is expected to continue later this week, the Senate will take up its related bill, PROTECT IP, in January.

  • Pew recently released updated information from its study and rating of state election websites. While Maryland was among the few states rated as "good," New York and Massachusetts were among several rated as "needing improvement."

  • On Facebook and in e-mail, the College Republican National Committee is encouraging registrations for the Conservative Political Action Conference with the tagline #OccupyCpac.

  • The New York Times looked at how environmental groups are using the web, such as Greenpeace's "Unfriend Coal" campaign that helped drive Facebook to prioritize powering future data centers with renewable energy and lobbying the utilities powering their current data centers to use more renewable sources.

  • Google recently released its top searches for the year, including several top 10 lists related to politics. In the United States, some of the fastest rising searches in politics were "Herman Cain," "Rep Giffords," "Obama Jobs Plan," and "Dominique Strauss-Kahn." The top three Republican presidential candidates were "Mitt Romney," "Ron Paul," and "Herman Cain," with "Donald Trump" at number nine. Among the top three fastest rising political scandal searches were "Murdoch Scandal," "Weiner Scandal," and "Santorum Scandal." As a Google employee noted in a blog post, many of the top searches in local areas were related to civic services. For example, in New York City, some of the top searches were "Mta," "Nj transit," "Dmv Ny," "Con Edison," "nycdoe," and "Brooklyn Public Library."

  • Facebook also recently posted its most shared political stories. The top three it identified were the Daily Kos story "Open Letter to that 53% Guy," a Washington Post piece highlighting a New York Times graph comparing effects of President Bush's and President Obama's policies on the deficit and a Fox News poll about whether the U.S. should get involved in Syria. Facebook also shared its Memology for 2011, with for example "Death of Osama Bin Laden" leading the topics discussed globally on the site. Twitter also identified its most important tweets of the year, with two top ones being "Welcome back Egypt #Jan25" by Wael Ghonim and ""Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," by @ReallyVirtual in Pakistan.

  • In the ongoing hearing regarding Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning, prosecutors said they had identified links between the accused soldier and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

  • The Hungarian constitutional court has ruled parts of the country's restrictive media law to be unconstitutional.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

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

monday >

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