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Jim Messina and Blue State Digital on Opposite Sides of British Election Campaign

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, August 2 2013

(Conservative Party/Facebook)

Organizing for America's Jim Messina will be working as a campaign strategy advisor for the 2015 general election campaign of British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party, BBC News reported today. This puts him in competition with Blue State Digital, the consulting firm known for its work on President Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 elections. BSD signed the Labour Party as a client earlier this year. Read More

Blue State Digital Has Nabbed 16 Former Obama Staffers

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, March 27 2013

Blue State Digital announced Wednesday that 16 staffers from the 2012 Obama campaign will be joining its team. Blue State's co-founder, Joe Rospars, who worked as chief digital adviser for the campaign, will be taking on the newly created role of Chief Executive Officer. Read More

Headed to Startup Land, Obama's Tech Alumni Take the Ground-Game Mentality With Them

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, February 21 2013

With the campaign behind them, Obama for America Technology alumni are scattered across the country — some still in Chicago, some making a new start in a new city, others still taking time off for travel. In interviews, some of these coders, designers, and product managers said that the campaign was a political break in a career otherwise spent in the tech sector. Others told me their time working for Obama has convinced them to focus on civic life. All of them expressed a connection to their campaign colleagues and to OfA's test-everything, data-driven organizing ethos that, they say, is likely to inform everything they do next. Read More

Democratic Politics and The Innovator's Dilemma

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 2 2013

Photo: Max Braun / Flickr

In a recent blog post, progressive technologists Jim Pugh and Nathan Woodhull argue that Democrats should institutionalize the software development that came out of the second Obama campaign. This sets up the same innovator's dilemma faced by major players in other industries: Democrats can allow competition internally, potentially creating greater innovation but putting their control at risk, or they can focus on consolidating their advantage. What decision they make will say much about what the Democratic Party will become. Read More

Obama Campaign Creating Organizing "Best Practices" Document for Democratic Party

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, December 4 2012

With its thousands of staff and volunteers, its breakthroughs in organizing, voter-registration, fundraising and get-out-the-vote techniques, Barack Obama's re-election campaign in 2012 as a whole was definitely ... Read More

How Analytics Made Obama's Campaign Communications More Efficient

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, December 3 2012

Last Friday in Washington, D.C., both Evan Zasoski, Obama for America's deputy director for data production, and Michelangelo D'Agostino, the campaign's senior analyst for digital analytics, showed their progressive ... Read More

How Obama for America Made Its Facebook Friends Into Effective Advocates

BY Nick Judd | Monday, November 19 2012

During the summer, OfA chief data scientist Rayid Ghani and analyst Matt Rattigan brought the technology team a prototype piece of software. More a simple script, really, the prototype took a given supporter's Facebook ID, scanned the supporter's Facebook friends, checked what the campaign knew about those friends and returned content the campaign might want to put in front of them. By midsummer, they had a tool to spread content for the campaign that staff say was more than twice as effective as a traditional banner ad. Read More

So You Just Got the President Re-Elected. What Do You Talk About Next?

BY Nick Judd | Monday, November 12 2012

Obama for America's technologists have new obsessions: Rediscovering sleep, moving out of Chicago and pondering the wondrous world of unemployment. Read More

Where Obama's Ground Soldiers Were, and Who They Are

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 8 2012

Ryan Enos / Eitan Hersh
A just-concluded research project studied thousands of Obama for America ground volunteers as they knocked on doors and made phone calls in their effort to get Barack Obama into the White House for another four years. Field organizers and volunteers answered a survey presented to them as they accessed a common piece of campaign software. This map shows where they were as they were answering the survey — campaign data exhaust that proves Obama's ground game was at its strongest exactly where Mitt Romney's campaign needed it to be weak. Read More

Oh, The Places They'll Go (To Find a Few More Voters)

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 22 2012

A glance at the Sportsmen for Obama page shows how hard the campaign works for even the smallest gains. Erin Hannigan, the group's online leader, has sent dozens of emails to its members. Most of these are the same generic emails everyone on the Obama campaign gets, like the fundraising pitches that have become ubiquitous, and which ProPublica has been tracking in great detail with its Message Machine project. Those numbers don't appear to be on the rise for Obama, but that hasn't stopped the campaign from trying. Read More

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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