Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

At This Point, The Internet is Pretty Much Done

BY Colin Delany | Monday, October 27 2008

Cross-posted on e.politics

Got your attention with that headline, eh? No, I'm not saying the 'net has jumped the shark or otherwise taken a stock market-like plunge as a political tool, but I AM saying that in the last weeks of a political campaign, the internet team's job is mostly over. There'll be plenty of Get-Out-The-Vote messages to send, plus last-minute candidate videos and fundraising appeals to promote, but by now the real work should be done -- if the systems aren't in place and the databases largely complete by now, somebody'd better be sweating.

I started thinking about this over the past few weeks while talking with people working on the national campaigns at different levels. Unlike almost everyone else in in the campaign world, the web people seemed remarkably relaxed, as though the storm had already passed. But for a good reason: it turns out that for the big campaigns and their vendors, the online work peaked weeks or even months ago. If your technology isn't already built and working this close to the election, it's a little late -- software takes too long to develop, debug and scale, and all you can do is install a vendor's pre-built package. Though it's probably too late to populate those volunteer networks and virtual phone banks and to fill the donor and neighborhood block walker lists -- supporter databases don't grow overnight.

Consider it another moment in which online politics has more in common with trench warfare than with blitzkrieg. Most of the time, using the internet for politics is a game of incremental gains, with victories scored one voter/supporter at a time. We'd better get to work.

cpd

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More