You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Cowed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, March 23 2015


  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz is officially running for president, announcing via Twitter at midnight last night. Meanwhile, there appears to be something amiss with

  • Noticing that presidential candidate John Ellis (Jeb) Bush and Dan Balz, the Washington Post reporter, are both Meerkating, Politico media reporter Dylan Byers hyperventilates and says that "today, or maybe yesterday, is the day that Meerkat officially became the social media tool of the 2016 election."

  • Matt Browner-Hamlin, a veteran of the Chris Dodd 2008 presidential campaign, gently reminds Dan Pfeiffer--he of the "Meerkat is going to revolutionize 2016" view--that live-streaming "isn't new to American politics." Back in 2007, he notes, "[We] used UStream to live stream anywhere from one to three speeches and Q&A sessions per day" and the Dodd web team tried a lot of other tech-powered innovations as well. These "did not move the needle an inch," Browner-Hamlin recalls. The "forces of political sentiment in America are too big to be influenced by one technology platform or one medium of engagement," he concludes.

  • Alex Howard is also skeptical, and suggests that actually by 2016, it will be Twitter's own native live-streaming function "may be the new killer campaign app."

  • And at BuzzFeed, Katherine Miller reminds her peers that most political events "are boring as hell" and few people will want to watch video of them. That said, she notes that the sudden flurry of bigfoot press attention to Meerkat may revolutionize the start-up's chances of success.

  • Jim Messina, Obama's 2012 campaign manager, continues to cash in on his political connections, playing consigliere for Uber, Airbnb, and several other companies, reports Brad Stone for Bloomberg Business. At the same time he is running Priorities USA Action, a Democratic SuperPAC working for Hillary Clinton's likely presidential campaign. Messina's consulting company has received an undisclosed amount of Uber stock, whose value has risen 124-fold since the stock grant.

  • Whose platform is it? (1): Further proving the danger of relying on Facebook as a platform for free speech (don't forget, they charge you to make sure your own content reaches all your friends), the giant social network platform has quietly made it harder for negative user comments to be viewed on corporate pages. As Marina Strauss and Shane Dingman report for Canada's Globe and Mail, this change "provides some relief to chains such as Lululemon Athletica Inc. or Target Corp.’s Canadian division, whose missteps have prompted considerable customer wrath in Facebook comments over the past couple of years." It will be interesting to see if any major American news outlets report on this change, given how dependent they have become on Facebook's News Feed for traffic.

  • Whose platform is it? (2): PracticalTypography's Matthew Butterick attacks Ev Williams' Medium as "the billionaire's typewriter." He argues that by constraining a blogger's design choices, Medium creates the illusion of a single editorial product, to better enable selling the readers of its larger unpaid content to advertisers. He warns writers, "Whereas the traditional type­writer of­fered free­dom at the cost of de­sign, the bil­lion­aire’s type­writer of­fers con­ve­nience at the cost of freedom." He adds, "writ­ers who limit them­selves to pro­vid­ing 'con­tent' for some­one else’s 'branded plat­form' are go­ing to end up with as much lever­age as cows on a dairy farm."

  • Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Luke Messer (R-IN) are cosponsoring legislation that would limit how education technology companies collect and use data about K-12 students, Natasha Singer reports for The New York Times.

  • A new statewide poll shows four out of five New York voters think official state emails should be saved for longer than 90 days; only 16 percent support Governor Cuomo's speedy purges, reports Thomas Kaplan for The New York Times. (Few of those polled are following the issue; most had to have it explained to them first.)

  • Digging further into the stunning rise of the Pirate Party in Iceland (it's now leading in national polls), Vice's Mark Hay cites MP Birgitta Jonsdottir (misspelling her first name), the party's leader, explaining its popularity: "To be completely honest, I don't know why we enjoy so much trust. We are all just as surprised, thankful and take this as a sign of mistrust towards conventional politics." Here are two links to Jondsottir (a friend of PDM's) speaking at PDF Europe in 2010 and PDF Oslo in 2011.