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First POST: Interrogatives

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, December 12 2012

Conversation starters

  • Zac Moffat, Romney for President's digital director, has begun blogging on Targeted Victory about the "Successes of the Romney and Republican Digital Efforts in 2012:"

    Elections are zero-sum games, but digital is not. There can be a tendency for people to determine that when you lose, there were no successes and that all the ideas were bad. It is imperative that we as a party understand that we have an opportunity to continue to grow if we fully capitalize on the achievements and time invested over the last two years. In the past week the Republican National Committee (RNC) began incorporating the information collected as part of its Joint Fundraising Committee with Romney for President (RFP) into its direct marketing efforts. The campaign provided to the RNC more than 1,000,000+ online donor contacts with email addresses and over 2,200,000 active new emails. The donor file alone represents a digital community that contributed over $100 million in 2012. This community, built in just over 5 months, represents a 1,000% increase in the donor base that the RNC digital effort produced for all of the 2010 cycle. Had RFP had the ability to incorporate this asset on the day of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Healthcare Mandate the Romney campaign would have been able to raise at least $15 million more on that day alone ...
    On the social media front we grew our Facebook community by over 10.4 million between May 1 – November (almost double the growth Obama experienced during this period) to reach a total of 12 million+ with an additional 5.1 million for Paul Ryan (more than Obama experienced in the comparable time and almost 10 times larger than Vice President’s Biden’s page today after 2 general elections) On Twitter we created a community of over 1.7 million for Mitt Romney and 540,000 for Paul Ryan. From January 1st, 2012 to November 6th, 2012, there were 3,417 posts by Mitt Romney on Facebook. These posts garnered 5,381,043 comments, 69,109,430 likes, and 3,999,954 shares for a total of 78,490,427 engagements. Through the final 90+ days we had engagement rates on our Facebook page over 30 – 40% vs an Obama page that averaged 5 – 9 % ... On online advertising we delivered over 32 billion impressions over the course of the campaign and generated more than 55 million clicks on various ad units.
    We had over 676 million views of our various online video advertising content which produced an engagement time of over 471 years.

  • First they're in your phone, next they're in your head: Facebook, Twitter and Google assigned handpicked representatives to work with the presidential campaigns, Kate Kaye wrote Monday for Ad Age. The social media and online advertising giants years ago established the practice of dropping employees, "embed"-style, into the workings of big clients. But does that have an appropriate analog in politics? Here's Kaye:

    The internet giants have a tradition of sending employees to work closely with advertisers and agencies, sometimes taking desks within the building. Google, for example, sent several employees to Procter & Gamble's Tide division as part of a talent exchange in 2008. "We've worked onsite with a number of clients and agencies to help them develop and implement their digital campaigns," said a Google spokeswoman. She declined to comment on similar relationships with political clients ... It raises another question: Where does selling products and services end and strategic consulting begin? "It creates a very awkward situation," said an exec at an online ad network specializing in political ad buys. "Google has all this control over the pipeline of inventory and now they're getting potentially into the strategy and the spending decisions. I find that troubling."

  • On privacy, data, and politics: Companies like NGP VAN, which handles political data for many Democrats, are left out of the scope of a Congressional inquiry into "data brokers" who buy and sell personal data for the purpose of online ad campaigns. Columbia Journalism Review observes that politics is above this fray even though it shouldn't necessarily be held to a different set of standards:

    ... [A] congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus led by Reps. Ed Markey and Joe Barton is conducting an inquiry into the largely self-regulated companies that collect, analyze, and buy and sell personal data—much the same types of data the Obama campaign relied upon for its celebrated digital successes. After soliciting information from nine of those “data brokers” earlier this year, the caucus has asked those companies and federal regulators to attend a congressional briefing this week. (The Senate Commerce Committee opened a similar probe last month.) “I’m hoping to ratchet up the transparency so we can foster a system of oversight and consumer control over their data,” Markey told The New York Times over the summer.

  • After Russia withdrew a proposal supporting government regulation of the Internet at the WCIT conference, the Internet freedom advocacy group Access Now reported that the WCIT chair published a "compromise text" of new regulations. Separately, another proposal backed by Russia, United Arab Emirates, China, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan has reemerged with two new supporters, Bahrain and Iraq, that contains "worrisome language." Access has also analyzed the compromise text. The White House reiterated in a blog post that it would not support a treaty giving governments more control of the Internet.

Around the web

  • In addition to detailing how North Koreans access the Internet, the BBC also noted that North Korean websites contain code that always highlights the name of leader Kim Jong-un.

  • The White House promises that every story submitted about how $2,000 is helpful to the writer will be read by someone in the White House, and has begun curating the stories on the White House website.

  • In New York Magazine, Jason Zengerle writes that the Obama campaign is "reframing" its victory by focusing on the success of the data operation rather than the campaign's success in "demonizing" his opponent.

  • In its year in review, Twitter noted that Obama's election victory tweet "simultaneously became the most retweeted of 2012 — and the most retweeted ever, sent by people in more than 200 countries around the world. " In addition to noting how the election played out and the SOPA/PIPA debate, Twitter noted that top politics trends were #tcot, #teaparty, #gop, #romney, #mitt romney and #dnc2012.

  • Facebook's likely last global governance vote has concluded with 589,141 of 668,872 voting to keep Facebook's existing policies. Facebook's Elliot Shrage writes: "Despite these efforts and widespread media coverage, less than one percent of our user community of more than one billion participated. As stated in both policies, the results are advisory unless more than 30% of users vote ... We understand that many of you feel strongly about maintaining the participatory nature of our site governance process. We do too ... We also plan to explore and implement new, innovative and effective ways to enhance this process in order to maximize user engagement."

  • Jammie Thomas, who was found liable for sharing 24 copyrighted songs, has filed a petition to have the Supreme Court review her case.

  • Open Plans and Living Cities recently released a report on civic technology.

  • Attorney General Eric Holder says the U.S. should consider automatic voter registration.

  • A Twitter employee will be at the side of Pope Benedict XVI as he sends pre-drafted messages in eight languages from his iPad to his Twitter account today.

  • Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, suggests that concerns about cybersecurity do not compare to Cold War threats.

  • Paul Rosenzweig highlights how the Senate's NDAA bill would require the Pentagon to establish a process "for defense contractors that have classified information on their networks to report any successful cyber penetration of their systems to the Defense Department."

  • The Washington Post recently previewed the debate over the FISA Amendments Act, which allows email and phone interception of foreigners without a warrant, and is set to expire this month.

  • Google announced that the number of copyright removal requests has grown ten-fold over the past six months, The Hill reported.

  • Apple, Samsung and RIM are asking Congress to provide more airwaves for smartphones and tablets.

  • The US Department of Health and Human Services is running a challenge for developers to design a mobile app for the public "to access customized decision support for preventive services and wellness information from"

  • An anonymous blogger who has criticized Michigan Law School is fighting to keep his or her identity secret.

  • Los Angeles and Santa Monica have partnered with ParkMe to offer real-time maps of public parking lots.

  • Just have your students read techPresident and be done with it, guys: Newberry College in South Carolina has an undergraduate major in social media.

  • Alex Howard is investigating the degree to which open data is resulting in economic activity.

  • Foursquare has switched to MapBox Streets, based on OpenStreetMap data.

  • Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project Source explored how Pro Publica developed an interactive map on segregation in housing and African-American migration.