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Michelle Obama's Name Loaned to DNC in its First Use of OFA Email List

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, July 25 2013

The Democratic National Committee directly reached out to Obama for America supporters with emails sent early this week in what appears to be the first time the full, storied Obama email list has been pressed into service by the DNC, at least since the end of the 2012 campaign. Some recipients saw emails sent on the DNC's behalf with First Lady Michelle Obama's name in the "Sender" field. Read More

In Opposition to German News License Fee Proposal, Google Maps Its Supporters

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, January 17 2013

Google has gathered over 100,000 active supporters against a German proposal that would require news aggregators, like the search giant, to pay a license fee for indexing news articles. As proof, the company has offered — what else — a Google map. Read More

What Advocacy Campaigns Can Learn From the 2012 Presidential Race

BY Shayna Englin | Friday, November 16 2012

Shayna Englin is chief advocacy officer for Fission Strategy. She spoke last June at Personal Democracy Forum on "The Advocacy Gap." In this "Backchannel" piece, she highlights three key take-aways for advocacy organizations from the 2012 presidential campaigns.

BackChannel an ongoing series of guest posts from practitioners and close observers at the intersection of technology and politics that, taken in aggregate, form a running conversation about the future of campaigns and government.

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RAP Index: A Personal Democracy Plus "Quick Look"

BY Sam Roudman | Monday, October 15 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: RAP Index is a new tool for advocacy organizations to map connections between their supporters and influential figures like legislators or their staff. TechPresident contributing writer Sam Roudman explores the idea behind the platform and talks to clients in an evaluation for Personal Democracy Plus. Read More

Gay Dating App Grindr Wants to Turn Users On to Politics

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 6 2012

The people behind Grindr, the location-based mobile dating app for gay men, announced today that they will be inserting political advocacy into a mobile platform more often associated with one-night stands.

According to the announcement, Grindr will push location-based, in-app messages asking users to take action as part of an initiative called Grindr for Equality. Grindr boasts 1.5 million users around the country and is making this announcement as a wide variety of issues affecting LGBT Americans will be on the ballot nationwide. For example, legislation or constitutional amendments in four states would affect same-sex marriage. So maybe politics isn't out of a dating app's league after all.

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NRA Was MIA On Facebook in Aurora Aftermath

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, July 23 2012

The National Rifle Association's Facebook page appeared to be unavailable from late Saturday night to Monday morning in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo. TechPresident called the NRA for comment about the page Monday morning, while the page was still unavailable. Officials there didn't return our call for comment. They returned to Facebook, however, within a matter of hours after our call. A Facebook spokesman referred all request for comment to the NRA. The organization's page is now "liked" by 1.5 million users, some of whom went to other forums over the weekend looking for NRA's stance in the wake of the Aurora incident. Twenty-four-year-old former student James Holmes is accused of using an arsenal of weapons, including an assault rifle available thanks to the 2004 lapse of a ban on assault weapons, during a shooting spree in which 70 people were shot and 12 killed. Gun owners were looking for "leadership" on how to handle this situation, some wrote in online forums, and were disappointed to find the NRA was not active on social media to provide it. Read More

With #40Dollars Push, White House Cracks a Twitter Engagement Code

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, December 21 2011

Trevor Blake / Flickr

Yesterday afternoon, as part of the White House's online push around payroll tax extensions, the administration's digital staff went across platforms to deliver a prompt: No tax cut extension means $40 less per paycheck for a family making $50,000 a year, so, what does $40 mean to you? Many online prompts fail to spark anything. But this one is getting a lot of answers. Read More

Tumblr Is Happy With Its Aggressive Anti-SOPA Advocacy

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 17 2011

Tumblr reports that their advocacy push around the Stop Online Piracy Act yesterday generated 87,834 calls to representatives and a total of 1,293 hours talking to staffers on Capitol Hill: Yesterday we did a historic ... Read More

From All Sides, Online Pushes to Scrap the Deal

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 1 2011

As members of Congress gather in Washington ahead of a vote on the controversial debt deal, all sides of this argument are urging action online — and for most of them, it's a call to scuttle the deal. Conservatives ... Read More

Call to Round Up Nuclear Supporters in Japan Starts a Scandal

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 1 2011

While tens of thousands of people in Japan are unable to return to their homes after earthquake and tsunami damage caused a still-ongoing nuclear disaster in March, at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant about 136 miles ... Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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