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First POST: "Hey," Redux

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, November 30 2012

Morning must-reads

  • Businessweek has a long feature on the science of the Obama campaign e-mails.

    It quickly became clear that a casual tone was usually most effective. “The subject lines that worked best were things you might see in your in-box from other people,” Fallsgraff says. “ ‘Hey’ was probably the best one we had over the duration.” Another blockbuster in June simply read, “I will be outspent.” According to testing data shared with Bloomberg Businessweek, that outperformed 17 other variants and raised more than $2.6 million....We were so bad at predicting what would win that it only reinforced the need to constantly keep testing,” says Showalter. “Every time something really ugly won, it would shock me: giant-size fonts for links, plain-text links vs. pretty ‘Donate’ buttons. Eventually we got to thinking, ‘How could we make things even less attractive?’ That’s how we arrived at the ugly yellow highlighting on the sections we wanted to draw people’s eye to.” Another unexpected hit: profanity. Dropping in mild curse words such as “Hell yeah, I like Obamacare” got big clicks ... Fortunately for Obama and all political campaigns that will follow, the tests did yield one major counterintuitive insight: Most people have a nearly limitless capacity for e-mail and won’t unsubscribe no matter how many they’re sent. “

    Alexis Madrigal also offered his take on the article.

    If the "ugly" winners story sounds familiar: It's because Showalter explained the story to techPresident a full week ago.

  • Erick Erickson from Red State joins the drumbeat of Republican observers who say that Mitt Romney's came even as the consultants working at the top levels of his operation, some of whom always seem to get major Rrepublican contracts during high-stakes elections, made millions of dollars. This is all the more disturbing, Erickson observes — citing the LA Times — because several top companies working on the campaign share office space and senior leadership, outlining a small group of people who have made a large amount of money on a campaign plagued by missteps and, ultimately, failure.

  • Ben Smith writes that as a monumental policy debate mounts in Washington, the Obama administration seems poised to make 2012 a repeat of 2009 — by not mobilizing the massive email list the president built over the course of his campaign.

  • Ana Marie Cox writes that the Obama White House has won the hashtag wars. Anthony DeRosa also analyzed how the White House's hashtag was used by supporters and opponents.

  • An event at the New Organizing Institute before Rootscamp explored how campaigns of the future will use data.

  • Syria was cut off from the Internet yesterday. The Syrian government attributed the Internet cutoff to "terrorists" who targeted Internet lines, Reuters reported, and suggested engineers were working on repairing the main communications and Internet cable. Analysts here in the U.S. say Syria's Internet infrastructure is controlled by the Syrian government, making it more likely that Bashar al-Assad's administration is behind the outage. The New York Times also noted that the official Syrian government websites are hosted in the United States.

  • An interactive from Yahoo News highlights the different types of actions We the People signatories are demanding from the White House.

Around the web


  • The Verge highlights a new online interactive documentary from Frontline on David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani-American behind the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Among other tools, the project made use of the new Mozilla Popcorn media toolkit.

  • The United Nations Development Programme has launched, "a project and funding data browser that maps 6,000+ projects in 177 countries and discloses more than $5.8 billion in funding," Development Seed notes on its company blog.

  • As the U.N. General Assembly geared up to vote on the resolution to change the status of the Palestinian territory from "observer" to "non-member observer state," the U.N. Twitter accounted falsely tweeted, "On Day of Solidarity with Palestinians, Ban Ki-moon stresses urgency of reaching 1-state solution.” A U.N. social media staffer later tweeted, "Sorry all -- terrible typo on my part and then went into a telephone conference call before catching it." Yair Rosenberg wrote on Twitter that "this may be the biggest typo in the history of international relations."

  • India plans to revise enforcement of an Internet law by barring "lower-level police officials from arresting people for making offensive comments on social networking sites unless the case is first reviewed by a senior police official," the New York Times reported. The changes follows an incident in which a 21-year-old from the outskirts of Mumbai was arrested after she had posted her irritation on Facebook that the city was shut down following the death of a hard-line right wing politician. A friend who clicked like on the post was also arrested. The student has filed public interest litigation with the Supreme Court calling the law that led to her arrest unconstitutional.

  • Gawker conducted a phone interview with Julian Assange with a focus on his new book.

  • A Kenyan filmmaker who lives in Missouri is funding a film about postelection violence and rebuilding in the country via Indiegogo and also hopes to distribute the film via the DVD piracy market.

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Wartime

A bizarre online marketing effort targets actress Emma Watson; why the news media needs to defend the privacy of its online readers; Chicago's playbook for civic user testing; and much, much more. GO