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

First POST: Headlining

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 15 2014

Republican efforts to catch up to Democratic techies begin to bear fruit; TV ads are getting targeted at specific viewers; comments to the FCC on its net neutrality/open Internet proposal close down; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Unfreezing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 28 2014

How to explain the FCC's Internet proposal to your dullest relative; why muni broadband is the next frontier; debating what's powering the rise of the "sharing economy"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: The Bloggers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 18 2013

Edward Snowden's justification for his actions: no "government in the dark": tech insiders on the HealthCare.gov meltdown; more on why Pierre Omidyar's new venture could shake up online journalism; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Losers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 4 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:: The secret list where Ted Cruz plots strategy; The American Prospect gives Jim Gilliam a full-length feature profile; Bitly shares real-data traffic data for the top 40 media sites in the US; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Bad Boys

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 26 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Understanding the Internet's role in the ongoing Republican crack-up; Cory Booker's Twitter flirtations; how email has changed your workplace for the better; and much, much more. Read More

Book Review: Our Computers, Ourselves--Living With Present Shock

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, June 21 2013

Douglas Rushkoff speaking at PDF 2013 (Photo by Esty Stein/Personal Democracy Media)

I read Douglas Rushkoff's new book Present Shock two months ago, and found myself underlining and taking notes on nearly every page. Somehow, he ties together dozens of seemingly disparate phenomena--the popularity of reality TV, the death of ideology, how news has been replaced by spectacle, our compulsion to constantly "check in" on our digital inputs, the rise of the Tea Party and Occupy movements, even our culture's fascination with zombies and impending apocalypse--and finds the signal in all the noise. It's worth a listen. Here's my review. Read More

For Tea Party Groups, That "Digital Gap" With Democrats Doesn't Seem As Wide

BY Matt Taylor | Tuesday, January 29 2013

Tea Party groups used their own software to support Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's primary campaign in Texas. Photo: Gage Skidmore

Given FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey's tumultuous exit from the organization he helped found, a Republican Party now casting about for solutions to its electoral troubles could be forgiven for passing over Tea Party advice on organizational structure. But if grassroots conservatives have technology tips to share, GOP insiders looking for an upgrade might want to lend an ear. Read More

Further Down the Ballot, Little Love for a "Social Voting" Tool

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, November 5 2012

Rachel Norton, a vice president of the San Francisco Board of Education, says Votizen's interface "leaves a lot to desired."

The idea that new tools could make voting social has taken off among high-level campaigns that understand the power of one-to-one connections online. But at the grassroots, where Votizen's co-founders hope to grow most of their clients, this seed of an idea has yet to sprout. Read More

How Online Organizing Helped Ted Cruz Win His Republican Primary

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, August 2 2012

FreedomWorks volunteers canvassed voters all over Texas using software and data from Political Gravity

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Ted Cruz was the darling of the right yesterday as he basked in his victory over David Dewhurst in the Republican primary runoff for the chance to become Texas’ next U.S. senator. And he was the darling of the rightroots, too, many of whom turned out in force to support his candidacy.

A conservative, Tea Party-backed figure challenging the favored candidate of Gov. Rick Perry and establishment Republicans, Cruz won, reports say, thanks to a long and hard-fought ground campaign. But his primary effort is interesting because it shines a light on the structure of a modern Senate race, one that mixes traditional door-knocking with high-tech tools, editorial board meetings with blogger outreach, a corps of volunteers with the unpredictable influence of outside groups. Given that Cruz beat Dewhurst by taking nearly 57 percent of the vote according to preliminary returns, all despite being outspent three to one, it’s a campaign worth a closer look.

Independent observers, Cruz supporters and campaign staff aren’t saying that the Internet played a deciding role in his victory. It was a combination of these outside groups, Republican women and Cruz's own hard work that put him over the top, said Dave Jennings, a Texas blogger in the Southeast Houston area who supported Dewhurst.

Read More

New Site Seeks to Aggregate User-Generated Political Videos

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, July 27 2012

A new website co-founded by activists Harry Waisbren and Bob Fertik aims to become a counterpoint to the flood of TV advertising paid for by super PAC money this election cycle. Waisbren and Fertik want Supervoters to become a go-to place for Macaca-moment type tracker video, humor and commentary, and videos from candidates, Waisbren said. "The problem is there isn't really a great way to consume all that content," he said. "The click-through rate on blogs isn't that high. Often a video does go viral on social networks but then it can disappear. People don't know where to go find it." Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

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

monday >

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

More