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Romney 2012

The Republican primary of 2011-2012 is more than a battle for the privilege to take on the incumbent, President Barack Obama. It's also a test-bed for Republican political-tech consultants and activists alike, who are all trying a mix of old and new tactics to attract support, engage volunteers and win over voters and donors. As we did with the presidential contest four years ago, we're tracking all the candidates and their online operations, along with the efforts of citizen activists to use the web to move the election their way.

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Personal Democracy Media is thankful to Microsoft for its support of techPresident's 2012 presidential election coverage.

Romney Online, By the Numbers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 9 2012

The stats in Mitt Romney's newly released infographic are impressive-looking, but they're actually not that big a deal. A little reverse-engineering of the math embedded in that statement suggests that people are spending about 42 seconds per page view on the Romney site. This is respectable but not particularly high. Jim Pugh, the former director of analytics and development for Organizing for America, told me that "a time of 40 seconds is pretty average for political sites." Read More

Santorum Campaign Using Fundly.com to Crowd-Source $-Raising

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 9 2012

While Rick Santorum's campaign may have left some money on the table on the night of their Iowa caucus near-victory, they're trying to recoup with a "money-bomb" that is leaning heavily on the social fundraising platform Fundly.com. As of now they have almost 2,600 people raising money through the site, and they've collectively brought in almost $240,000. Read More

Jon Huntsman Throws A Hail Mary Pass On Twitter

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, January 5 2012

Jon Huntsman's campaign has been running a social media initiative that encourages supporters to send out canned campaign messages with specific hash tags on behalf of their candidate. The goal is to have supporters send out at least a thousand tweets a day containing the terms "@JonHuntsman," "Jon Huntsman," "#Jon2012," and "#JointheHunt." Is he asking supporters to scream into the wind, or growing his profile in a meaningful way? Read More

Santorum's Campaign Chokes Online As Site Is Overwhelmed By Traffic

BY Sarah Lai Stirland and Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 4 2012

Rick Santorum in Iowa Tuesday night. YouTube

The results of Iowa Republicans' presidential nominating caucuses were not yet final when Rick Santorum took the podium to deliver a response, but one thing was clear: a vastly outspent, out-organized candidate had fought Mitt Romney, the Republican front-runner, almost to a draw. But just when Santorum's campaign could have made the most out of its online presence, his site began to malfunction. Read More

Headed Into Iowa Caucus, Santorum Jockeys for Position Online

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, January 3 2012

Rick Santorum Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Just hours away from the outcome of the Iowa caucuses, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign is looking online to make the most of his sudden rise to prominence. Read More

From YouTube to Facebook, New Digital Targeting Helps Romney Campaign Reach Voters

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, December 22 2011

Mitt Romney's preroll ad on a Bloomberg clip playing on YouTube in Iowa

Mitt Romney's campaign team has carefully planned a digital ad blitz over the year as it hunts for voters in every virtual nook and cranny in the emerging post-live television world, and is now blanketing Iowa in targeted online ads that use just about every new trick in the Internet marketing playbook. Read More

The Ron Paul Paradox

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 21 2011

With poll numbers putting Ron Paul in the lead in Iowa very close to the first Republican caucus, the lens of national attention will put the congressman from Texas in sharp focus. We know his campaign, much more disciplined now than it was in 2008, is preparing for what's to come. But how will his famously zealous online supporters handle the scrutiny of their chosen candidate? Read More

Ron Paul Rebellion Breaks Out On Reddit

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, December 16 2011

Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Rep. Ron Paul's vociferous supporters have a long history of organization on the web. Going back to the 2008 election and beyond, the Republican of Texas has always found a loud bloc of support online. On the link-sharing site Reddit, though, Paul supporters' ability to act in concert has ruffled some feathers. Fed up, some redditors are organizing a counter-insurgency against the Ron Paul Revolution. Read More

Gingrich Savvy On Facebook, Says Company's Political Team

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, December 12 2011

Current Republican presidential race frontrunner Newt Gingrich's Facebook's page is "a great example of providing many ways for supporters to get involved," according to Facebook's political team. Read More

Newt Gingrich's Online Surge: Will It Be Enough to Win?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 22 2011

A little more than half a year ago, at the beginning of March, I took a look at Newt Gingrich's presence online. As one of the longest-serving politicians in the presidential race, and a self-described geek, Newt had a ... Read More

Iowans Are Watching Rick Perry's 'Oops' Moment, YouTube Says

BY Nick Judd | Friday, November 11 2011

Rick Perry's "Oops" is being widely viewed in the swing states, YouTube's Ramya Raghavan writes: Footage of the "oops" moment was viewed over half a million times in the twelve hours following the debate, and that number ... Read More

[BackChannel] Don't Confuse Number of Facebook Fans with Success: Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Rick Perry

BY Alan Rosenblatt | Tuesday, October 11 2011

Editor's note: With Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and the rest of the Republican field set to meet tonight for the Bloomberg/Washington Post debate, now is the perfect time to inaugurate Backchannel, what we hope ... Read More

What Do Michele Bachmann and Ozzy Osbourne Have In Common?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 20 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Ozzy Osbourne are both riding the crazy train straight to the bank, political science professor Justin Buchler suggests in a new article in "The Forum," a Berkeley Electronic Press ... Read More

The Bachmann Announcement Bump, Twitter Edition

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, June 28 2011

Michele Bachmann at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, La., on June 17. Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr Rep. Michele Bachmann's "announcement bump" of Twitter followers after her official campaign launch ... Read More

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China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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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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