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Daily Digest: And It Is Us...

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 14 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Figuring out how to wrangle a 23,000+ member group might be a high-class problem to have, but it is indeed a problem. Jon Pincus, one of the organizers of the Get FISA Right movement is tapping into the wisdom of Clay Shirky's 2003 essay "A Group is Its Own Worst Enemy" to figure out next steps. MyBarackObama.com's klugey mailing lists are, Pincus reports, scaring some members into thinking that the campaign is censoring their communications. And so, just as high-profile web entrepreneur Jason Calacanis gives up the blogging game to go the more personal email list route, Pincus is pushing for the opposite tactic: pushing for the group to switch from email to organizing around the GetFISARight.com discussion forums. Get FISA Right is proving to be a fascinating look at how a handful of loosely-joined connectors (Pincus, Mike Stark, and others) can harness the power of an even more loosely-joined collection of passionate people.

  • Two ambitious beta projects worth keeping an eye on: (1) Free Government, a bill builder and poll clearinghouse from the Free Government Party, and (2) Open Cabinet, a collaborative effort to piece together the next presidential administration -- including filling a possible CTO spot. (And yes, it is gauche to nominate yourself for a cabinet slot. Get yer mom or best buddy or office mate to do it instead.)

The Candidates on the Web

  • The Republican National Committee has launched an appealing project: GOPPlatform2008.com, a discussion site released in preparation for the upcoming convention in Minneapolis-St.Paul. The Washington Post's Jose Antonio Vargas has the reporting. The DNC and Obama campaign, for the record, has announced a series of in-person "platform meetings." The benefits of doing it on the web? Asynchronous and online, the process is open to anyone with an Internet connection at any time and from anywhere in the world. There's no promise that what the masses come up with will go into the official GOP platform -- only that the text and video-based contributions "will be reviewed and taken into full consideration." It's a bottom-up and top-down approach, but one that -- if the conservative blogosphere's relationship with party officials is any guide -- Republicans might be comfortable with. Could keeping some gatekeepers in the process might be the quickest route between here and government 2.0?

  • One Republican who might need some help navigating the GOP's online platform-shaping process? Guy by the name of John McCain. In an interview with the New York Times, McCain comments on his web prowess, saying, "I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself," and reveals that he doesn't use email. Wired's Sarah Lai Stirland has the goods.

TechCongress and Beyond

In Case You Missed It...

Network theorist Valdis Krebs finds himself in rare agreement with Karl Rove on the wisdom of reaching undecided voters via people already in their social universes, rather than, you know, orange-hatted strangers.