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Daily Digest: The Mobilized Mob Does as It Pleases

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, June 30 2008

We offer the TechPres guarantee that the single most enjoyable thing you can possibly do this Monday is to participate in this spankin' new poll: Does a Connected World Need a Connected POTUS? Register your vote and the join the discussion in the comments. Come on, it's guaranteed, so what do you have to lose? Vote and discuss!

The Web on the Candidates

  • "The mob, now mobilized, will do as it pleases." That was keynoter Mark Pesce at PdF '08, and there are signs today that he might have been onto something. A "Senator Obama Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity – Get FISA Right" protest group launched with a couple mouse clicks on Barack Obama's MyBarackObama.com last Wednesday has swelled to 4,160 members, making it at the moment the fifth largest group on the campaign's official social-networking site. There's now an off-site wiki dedicated to growing the group and ginning up interest in the press. And all this week, MoveOn will be emailing its giant membership list encouraging anti-FISAites to join the MyBO group. The Obama campaign is facing a question: what does their ground-breaking style of collaborative campaigning mean when it comes time to tackle the hard tasks of governing? The Nation's Ari Melber has more.

  • Also on the holding-candidates-accountable front, The Obama Let Down Watch is a new watchdog site launched by a pair of Obama supporters to, they write, "ensure that Senator Obama lives up to the standards -- and the expectations -- which he has set."

  • The New York Times' has a timely story out about how "freelancers" are using cheap tools to have an out-sized voice in the campaigns, but their poster child is not a kid in a garage with an iMac and a copy of iMovie, but Robert Greenwald -- a high-profile California filmmaker who runs the well-established film shop Brave New Films. Robert, who spoke on a PdF '08 panel on political video, has proven that digital shorts can have a big impact online, having garnered more than 20 million views and counting with series like "The Real McCain" and the "Fox Attacks."

  • A bit more freelancer-y is the effort from the Arizona-based outfit SyntheticHuman Pictures, whose "I'm Voting Republican" video is a polished short that blends some pointed anti-Republican arguments with humor; one faux-Republican couple explains their own reasoning: "We just love cheap plastic crap from China." It's a message and approach that seems to have legs. The Internet monitoring firm Hitwise reports that, in the last two weeks, the site set up to house the video captured a higher market share than JohnMcCain.com.

  • Baraculture watch: Without direction or support from campaign HQ, a good number of Obama supporters are changing their middle names to "Hussein" on social networking sites and in their email handles, hoping to make the candidate's Arabic name seem a little less frighteningly foreign.

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Both the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul this September and the Democratic National convention in Denver this August will be host to about 200 credentialed bloggers -- a sharp increase from the 42 total bloggers who had passes for the 2004 party gatherings.

In Case You Missed It...

C-SPAN has posted video of selected sessions from Personal Democracy Forum 2008. Sit back and enjoy:

We'll be posting our own video of conference sessions in the weeks to come.

Barely Political, the team behind the "Obama Girl" videos, has posted a collection of short interview clips from PdF '08. Watch it to see technopoliticos struggle to find words when confronted by the microphone of Obama Girl herself, Amber Lee Ettinger.