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First POST: WhatsNext?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, April 10 2014

WhatsNext?

  • Could WhatsApp actually be the "killer app" of the upcoming Indian national elections? Amin Ali and Atul Thakur write for The Times of India that

    "Unlike social networking websites which need internet profiles, WhatsApp operates in relative web oblivion. The application does use the internet but no search engine would be able to detect WhatsApp profiles, groups or chats. Real-time response also makes WhatsApp the most effective social networking tool for political campaigning."

  • Our Jessica McKenzie rounds up "Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election." Consider this a preview of what we are likely to see in the US as the 2016 presidential cycle heats up: Google offering a "Google score" for how politicians are trending in Search, YouTube and Google Plus engagement; Facebook Talks Live; and the rising importance of mobile text apps, as noted above.

  • I'm coming to this late, but Andrew Sullivan's second major post on the Brendan Eich controversy at Mozilla is a must-read.

  • Writer and director Greg Allen offers a startling take on "Art of the Bush School," that is, those paintings of world leaders done by former President George W. Bush. Come for the fact, noticed by Allen, that each portrait is based on the top image search result on Google for each of Bush's subjects; stay for the art criticism.

  • Kevin Roose of New York Magazine picks up on the story of a still anonymous woman who used Secret to share her tale of being left out of Google's buy-out of her tech start-up.

  • Speaking at the U.S. Naval Academy, former President Bill Clinton described Edward Snowden as an "imperfect messenger" but one that raised important questions, reports Tal Kopan for Politico. "We cannot change the character of our country or compromise the future of our people by creating a national security state, which takes away the liberty and privacy we propose to advance," Clinton noted.

  • Worried about how to respond to the Heartbleed bug? Read James Fallows.

  • Congress is finally moving towards making information about bills machine-readable, Daniel Schulman celebrates at CREW's blog.

  • The annual M & R eBenchmarks study is out, and not only is this one chock-a-block with interesting data about online fundraising and advocacy trends among non-profits, it's got a beautiful and engaging design.

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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thursday >

NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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