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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

RSS Feed 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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wednesday >

NDI Launches Open Source DemTools for International Development

Yesterday the National Democratic Institute launched a suite of web-based applications created for their partner organizations, mostly pro-democracy groups and political parties around the world. These “DemTools,” which are ready-to-use but can also be customized, will give organizations in developing countries some of the capabilities that political activists and parties in the United States have had for years. Moreover, since the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is making the promise to host partner organization's applications in the cloud essentially forever, they hope these applications will help usher in a period of more sustainable tech.

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