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First POST: Messaging

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 30 2014

Messaging

  • Department of self-delusion: Less than 40% of America internet users have changed their passwords in response to the Heartbleed bug, Pew Research Center's Lee Rainie and Maeve Duggan report. Seven in ten think their internet accounts are generally secure, with 23% saying they think that means their accounts are "very secure."

  • A new Gallup poll finds that political messaging via mobile phone is still an under-developed arena. Less than 1/4 of Americans have received a "take action" request on their phone; just under 1 in 10 have received an instant notification about a rally or protest; and only 4% say they have made a monetary contribution to a candidate or interest group via their smartphone or tablet.

  • Jed Alpert, the founder and CEO of Mobile Commons, a major provider of mobile political messaging tech, told First POST that the poll certainly tracks with his experience, noting that "the Obama campaign was a huge exception" and "501 c4 type orgs are much more sophisticated" in their use of mobile.

  • Politico's Tony Romm previews how some big Silicon Valley companies are rolling out the red carpet for this weekend's annual bacchanal of self-adulation known as the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Perks include a half-day master class in a Georgetown loft for participants to "learn the latest beauty tips and get a blowout or manicure," courtesy of YouTube.

  • Tech for Hillary is a thing. On Facebook.

  • MTV has just launched LookDifferent.org, a multiyear, multitiered campaign to help young people better recognize and respond to bias, including online efforts to battle snap judgments about others based on their looks and an "Implicit Bias Quiz" that helps users discover their own automatic associations.

  • Derek Khanna has a hair-raising story of how the US Postal Service blocked digital mail startup Outbox's efforts to have forwarded legally to them, and in doing so killed a company that might have saved the postal service millions if not billions of dollars. According to Khanna's report, the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told Outbox's founders, “‘You mentioned making the service better for our customers; but the American citizens aren’t our customers—about 400 junk mailers are our customers.  Your service hurts our ability to serve those customers.”’

  • The Justice Department is still investigating WikiLeaks, notes Mike Masnick, despite reports late last year that the agency was going to drop the effort.

  • Boston is creating a new government post: Chief Digital Officer.

  • Egyptian democracy activists are mourning the death of 31-year-old blogger Bassem Sabry.

  • The Onion is launching Clickhole.com, taking aim at Buzzfeed and Upworthy, inspired by this saying from the Dalai Lama: "A life spend in service to others has no purpose without a strong social media presence that raises brand awareness."

News Briefs

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The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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