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Four Surprising Things About Civics and Politics in America

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 25 2013

The Pew Internet and American Life Project today released the results of a broad survey about civic life and the Internet. There are some obvious findings: People who are better educated and make more money are more likely to be politically active, for instance, and, as we've known for a while, people who find out about a political topic online can be motivated to seek out more information. But buried beneath the survey's top-line results are some surprising, and still statistically significant, results — things that tell us about the role of the Internet in politics that we did not already know. Read More

Hardly Anyone Using Campaign Apps, Survey Says

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, October 9 2012

To reach registered voters on their mobile phones this year, campaigns stand a better chance by recruiting supporters to talk to their peers on social networks, according to new survey data.

While 88 percent of registered voters own some sort of cell phone, according to a survey released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, just five percent have signed up to receive text messages from a campaign or related group, and only eight percent have used an app from a candidate.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of smartphone-wielding voters have used their phone to read comments about the campaign on social networking sites.

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If Your Friend Writes a Political Rant on Facebook, Will It Change Your Mind?

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, September 4 2012

There's a joke quote circulating on Facebook that goes like this: "'Your relentless political Facebook posts finally turned me around to your way of thinking,' said nobody, ever."

The funny thing is, that might not actually be true.

"People whose friends post some (or a lot of) political content on social networking sites are much more likely to say that they have changed their mind about a political issue or become more involved with a political issue after reading/discussing them on a social network (compared with people whose friends don’t post much political content)," Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Internet & American Life Project, told me Tuesday via email.

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New Pew Report: One in Five Americans Don't Use The Internet

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, April 13 2012

Twenty percent of American adults don't use the Internet, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Pew's survey, "Digital Differences," is a fresh look at Internet access, 12 years after the organization first started surveying Americans about the issue. In 2000, the majority of Americans didn't have access to the Internet, and "many non-users" felt that the Internet was a "dangerous thing," according to Pew.

Now, almost half of those who don't use the Internet say that they don't use it because they don't think it's relevant to them, and they don't want to use it. One in five of non-users say that it's related to the price of access and another one in five say that they don't know how to get on, or that they're physically unable to. Just over a third of those who don't use the Internet say "they're just not interested," according to data gathered last August.

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Is There a 'Hardly Anyone Uses Foursquare' Badge?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 7 2011

Americans are still tuned out from the check-in. A study released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that a paltry seven percent of all adults have their phones set to automatically tag their ... Read More

News Briefs

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Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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