Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Celebrities, Unions, Members of Congress All #AskObama

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 6 2011

Representatives John Boehner, who is the House speaker, Darrell Issa, Patrick McHenry, Bill Johnson, Adam Kinzinger and others in the House and Senate are using the #askObama hashtag to pepper President Barack Obama with questions.

They're retweeting each other, exhorting their followers to ask questions, and posing their own.

Obama's town hall-style event at 2 p.m. today is supposed to feature top-retweeted questions from that hashtag, as well as questions selected by region, topic, and from a team of curators. Twitter co-founder and event moderator Jack Dorsey may well pose questions for the commander-in-chief that come from members of Congress who have drummed up too much support for theirs to ignore. Other folks are getting in on the action; this morning, Mike Allen reported in Politico Playbook that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would drum up Twitter support from its allies through online campaigns.

One of the things I'm curious about is how much sorting Twitter and the White House will do for folks who want to see top tweets as selected by the Twitterverse and the event moderators. The Twitter Search tool doesn't seem to be doing a good job of showing who's been getting retweets — which is problematic given that top-retweeted questions should have a higher probability of being put to the president.

Fortunately, there are other tools. Around here we like Twazzup — here's a Twazzup page for the #AskObama hashtag — and, full disclosure, we like it because we've been using it at Personal Democracy Forum conferences for the last year or so.

According to Twazzup, here are some of the most-circulated tweets around the event so far. This list changes rapidly and I'm not confident that this or any service can keep a running tally with any great degree of confidence, but when I checked, Twazzup listed all of these tweets as being retweeted dozens of times:

(h/t Mark Drapeau)

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

More