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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 today >

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like 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 is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask 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.


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.


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.


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.