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Daily Digest: 5/24/07

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, May 24 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • Over at TechRepublican, Jim Durbin writes that the way for conservatives to match the energy of the left-wing netroots is to strongly convey Republican messages online. The key, says Durbin, is to stay on message on blogs, discussion boards, social networking sites, everywhere: "If you believe as I do, that our strength is in our reasoned approach to issues - mainly that in winning the arguments, we'll win the elections, than the strategy is simple." Durbin takes for granted that people will simply be won over by better arguments -- there are actually ideologies and political beliefs at stake here -- and his position that "the reasoned argument on the left is outweighed by emotion. On the right, reasoned argument is actually our strength," is not so reasonable in itself... But we give him credit for seeking out ways to invigorate online conservatives.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Hillary Clinton used her YouTube Spotlight moment to ask supporters to choose her campaign's theme song, and the original video has received over 525,000 views, helping her dethrone Barack Obama as the most candidate with the most YouTube buzz. Today, she's released an update to the video that's actually, surprisingly, amazingly, funny. It includes clips from supporters who have sent in their interpretations of what the song should be and Hillary's reactions, which are warm, funny, and real-seeming. I think this is the first time she's released an online video that actually takes advantage of the web -- it's informal and mashes-up other people's work. The Politico's Ben Smith kind of likes it too, though he noticed something interesting about her choice of videos: "Clinton teasingly includes a handful of angry, critical responses, all from young, white men; they're just the sort of attackers that she's long used to raise her stature. They're adolescent Rick Lazios [the Republican who ran against Clinton for Senate in 2000].
  • William Beutler of Blog P.I. likes Rudy Giulani's web site, but he's getting shut out of the campaign's communications system. Upon visiting the site you're presented with an email sign-up form; he's filled it out three times but hasn't received any emails. "I have tried signing up from different computers in different locations, entering addresses from the District, Arlington and Oregon. Nada, zip, zilch. What gives? Something is up with the database software managing their contact information, I presume. I’ve been going about signing up for e-mails from the Big Six and some of the others, but so far only the Giuliani campaign has kept me in the dark," he writes. No email? Beutler turned to Twitter, but he tried to add Giuliani as a friend there and nothing happened. He's guessing the Giuliani camp has started an account, but hasn't committed to using it yet. In any event, these snafus don't exactly signal an open approach to supporters.
  • Mike Huckabee is the next participant in YouTube's Spotlight series. He uses his moment to promote his tax platform, which he calls the "fair tax": "it's fairer, it's flatter, it's finite, it's family friendly." He doesn't actually explain what the proposal is, but asks for our response nonetheless. A strange video.

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

GO

monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

GO

The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

GO

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

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