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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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO