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First POST: Attending

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 13 2014

New revelations from Laura Poitras' film Citizen Four; how India's new real-time online attendance system for government officials works; tech critic Evgeny Morozov in hot water; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Oligarchs for a Little Less Corruption

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 21 2014

Sean Parker's plans to change US politics; the New York Times' front-pages mesh networking; the Pirate Times reviews the party's impact on the European Parliament; and much, much more. Read More

Obama Puts a Ring On It

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 12 2012

Now that the election is over, all kinds of inside stories are starting to work their way out of the tightly controlled Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago. Here, in a video taken last August during a visit President Obama paid to his staff, but just uploaded Saturday, two young staffers, Sara El-Amine (the campaign's national training director) and Matthew Saniie, tell the President how they had gotten engaged during the campaign. It's impossible not to enjoy. We especially liked Obama's instant familiarity with Beyonce, and thought we'd commemorate it for all time with a few .gifs. Read More

Who's Winning the YouTube War, Obama or Romney?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 24 2012

Obama Denver rally live on YouTube, October 24, 2012

While the presidential campaign appears to have tightened in the polls, in the last month Barack Obama has been trouncing Mitt Romney on YouTube, garnering nearly five times as many views overall. Here's how the two campaigns' strategies with online video differ, and why it matters. Read More

Why Samuel L. Jackson is Telling Obama Supporters to "Wake the F**k Up"

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 27 2012

JCER / YouTube

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: After collaborating to produce an audiobook of the not-workplace-appropriate bedtime story for children, "Go the F**ck to Sleep," author Adam Mansbach and noted provider of family-friendly entertainment Samuel L. Jackson have produced a video in support of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

It's called "Wake the F**ck Up." Yahoo! had exclusive access to a safe-for-work version for a few hours this morning. Here's why the video got made and its creators' strategy for viral success.

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Is Barack Obama Getting His Online Mojo Back? This Video May Be the Key

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 23 2012

Is Barack Obama getting his online mojo back? Maybe. On Saturday, August 18th, his campaign uploaded a new video to his YouTube channel titled, "We've Come Too Far to Turn Back Now," and began promoting it with a series of emails whose subject lines were far different from the plaintive appeals for donations that have become all too familiar to anyone on his giant list. This new one is different, and not just because it's not a TV ad attacking his Republican opponents. "We've Come Too Far" is a direct play at reviving the "movement" tone of 2008. Read More

A Former White House Videographer Critiques Paul Ryan's Way with the Camera

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, August 22 2012

Buried at the end of Nancy Scola's really quite good take on former White House videographer Arun Chaudhary's book and his work as the first-ever full-time cameraman to the President of the United States is Chaudhary's take on that other famously charismatic guy in this election, congressman and vice-presidential selection Paul Ryan. Read More

Would Harry Potter Fight for Immigration Reform?

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, August 6 2012

Dumbledore's Army in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Brothers)

Nineteen-year-old Julian Gomez just put out a video to fellow Harry Potter fans explaining why they should care about immigration reform. Gomez, a video blogger for the political action group Harry Potter Alliance, announced July 31 that he is an undocumented immigrant. The group is hoping this will mobilize Potter fans, who have already organized around charity work, to get political. Read More

WeGov

YouTube Now Lets You Blur Faces in Videos: What This Means for Safety-Minded Activists

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 18 2012

Today YouTube is rolling out a new feature that allows users to obscure faces that appear within videos before posting them.

"Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube," YouTube policy associate Amanda Conway wrote in a blog post.

One expert in video in activism calls this "a step in the right direction," but warns that the most important tool for videographers is an understanding of when and why to use this kind of feature.

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Sarah Silverman Uses YouTube, Bikini Bottoms to Kickstart an Online Anti-Adelson Campaign

BY Nick Judd | Monday, July 16 2012

Sarah Silverman in a new YouTube video. Source: Scissorsheldon.com

Sometime in the next two or three days, an ankles-in-the-air Sarah Silverman will probably appear in your Facebook news feed with a political stunt video designed to hijack the 21st-century media cycle as we now understand it.

If casino mogul Sheldon Adelson would just stop giving money to super PACs supporting Mitt Romney's candidacy, she says in a new video, she will put on bikini bottoms and perform a sex act with him that is so far out of its normal context — the video hypes it up with the tagline "traditional lesbian sex" — as to make it almost-but-not-quite acceptable to describe to a family audience.

It's the product of a project called Schlep Labs, an incubator for Internet-enabled political media that consultants Ari Wallach and Mik Moore are hoping to use to jumpstart campaigns targeted at Jewish voters. Visitors submit their ideas about how to use social media, humor and celebrity to gin up support for Barack Obama, a small committee plucks the best ones, and then Wallach and Moore's super PAC, the Jewish Council for Education and Research, steps in to back the campaign.

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