You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Firsts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 24 2015


  • So the first new-fangled tech tool to make it into a bona fide presidential campaign story wasn't Meerkat, it was Yik Yak. Turns out some of the reporters in attendance for Senator Ted Cruz's big announcement speech at Liberty University used some of the app's localized anonymous comments to pep up their stories on Cruz's launch, reports Chris Thompson for Poynter.

  • The first lawsuits against the FCC's net neutrality regulations have been filed, reports Brian Fung for the Washington Post.

  • Facebook wants to host news content on its own servers, and it looks like The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic will be initial partners in its effort, report Ravi Somaiya, Mike Isaac and Vindu Goel for the New York Times. News publishers face big risks as they go down this path, they note, including the loss of ad revenue and consumer data.

  • Google is going to start offering targeted ads to TV viewers in Kansas City who are on its fiber service, Conor Dougherty reports for the New York Times. Ads can be matched based on geography, type of program or a person's viewing history.

  • Evgeny Morozov has some interesting things to say about the limits of technology criticism in his review of Nicholas Carr's new book, The Glass Cage, in The Baffler magazine. He writes, "For a long time, I’ve considered myself a technology critic. Thus, I must acknowledge defeat as well: contemporary technology criticism in America is an empty, vain, and inevitably conservative undertaking. At best, we are just making careers; at worst, we are just useful idiots. Since truly radical technology criticism is a no-go zone for anyone seeking a popular audience, all we are left with is debilitating faux radicalism. Some critics do place their focus squarely on technology companies, which gives their work the air of anti-corporate populism and, perhaps, even tacit opposition to the market. This, however, does not magically turn these thinkers into radicals."

  • Master online strategists (and PDM friends) Cheryl Contee of Fission and Roz Lemieux of are holding a free webinar this Thursday, 2-3pm ET, on how and why to leverage the social power of influencers.

  • Looking forward: San Francisco-based Civicmakers wants your input for a survey on what civic tech solutions you are looking for, to better connect "democracy practitioners" with "civic tech developers."

  • Here are the six new start-ups that New Media Ventures is investing in.

  • The city of Seattle held a transportation hackathon called "Hack the Commute" last weekend and the results, reports Josh Cohen for NextCity, are pretty promising.

  • Looking back: Frank Hebbert of OpenPlans, who has been in the business of making great civic tech longer than most, points out in a post delightfully titled, "Mommy, what did civic tech look like?", that we're losing our history to the tech's insatiable updating of formats and wiping of old sites.