Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Gaps

BY Nick Judd | Monday, January 28 2013

Selling the "digital gap"

  • Steve Friess rounds up another look at the state of Republican political technology:

    The DNC’s system, known as the Voter Activation Network is a mammoth, ongoing database that has been tracking the interests, voting histories, family circumstances and much more on more than 150 million voters since 2006. That’s when then-DNC Chairman Howard Dean mandated that every state-level Democratic unit contribute to and have access to the same system, developing a powerful weapon that the GOP simply won’t match in the near term.

    “Republicans have historically been a lot more selfish about their sharing of data and sharing of information,” said Vincent Harris, the 24-year-old GOP digital strategist who leveraged social media to put little-known Ted Cruz on his path to the Senate. “There’s no central hub. That integration is priceless, and that’s what [Priebus] needs to lead us on.”

Politics versus civics

  • Anthea Watson Strong, who helped to organize Google's Political Innovation Summit on Friday, writes about a divide that emerged there between civic hackers whose focus is on greater political engagement writ large and politicos who would be perfectly happy to have the only voters be the ones they need in order to win:

    Attendees from the civic space worried about the effect campaign technology has on civic engagement, and at times seemed openly hostile to the methods campaigns have developed to win elections.

    However, as pointed out late in the day, campaigns are not tasked with increasing civic engagement— they are tasked with winning. Campaign operatives have an ethical duty to a candidate and must invest resources to win the race. It would be wrong for them to focus resources anywhere other than on winning an advantage over the opponent.

    Watson Strong's suggestion: Bring the political operatives into conversations around larger questions.

Around the web

International

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

Orkut and Why Facebook Beats Out Local Social Networks

Orkut, Google’s social network platform once beloved in Brazil, will soon shutter with Facebook taking its place. Mark Zuckerberg's social network currently not only operates but also dominates in every time zone, making it at this point in time, an empire upon which the sun literally never sets. GO

tuesday >

#FlashHacks: Crowdscraping Corporate Data to Understand "The Man"

You probably work for “The Man.” If not you, then someone close to you does, and even if you have no friends or family, your government is almost certainly doing business with him. Wouldn't it be nice to know a bit more about the so-called “Man”? Thanks to the massive open data project OpenCorporates, you now can, and they are intensifying their data opening efforts with #FlashHacks, a crowdscraping campaign launched today. The campaign goal is to release 10 million data points on the companies you work for, work with, buy from, sell to, and deal with in tangible and intangible ways every day, and all in just 10 days.

GO

New York City Payphone WiFi Project Presents Opportunities and Challenges

While some technologists who have experience in the space share the concerns of some New York City Council members and current payphone franchisees that the city's decision to award the project to only one franchisee or one joint venture could hurt the project, the city and one of the companies preparing a response to the Request for Proposals see the approach as the best way to ensure a standard experience, competition and innovation. From both perspectives, the project illustrates how the vision for more accessible WiFi in New York is tied to the potential for innovation within the established procurement system. GO

That's So Meta: To Test Digital Democracy, Crowdsourcing Comments on Digital Democracy

For more than a month now, Wikimedia Meta-Wiki, the global Wikimedia community site, has hosted a little experiment in digital democracy. Carl Miller, co-founder of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think tank Demos-UK, and Wikimedia UK's Stevie Benton wanted to see whether the mechanisms that govern Wikipedia could be applied to political policy. The opportunity to do so arose when the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow announced the Commission on Digital Democracy, an investigation into how digital technology can be used to improve democratic processes, and solicited comments from the public.

GO

monday >

Weekly Readings: The "Snooper's Charter"

The UK wants to increase surveillance; Russia demands Google, Facebook and Twitter open local offices and hand over user data; Tunisians debate on social media whether to boycott the next election; and much more. GO

More