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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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wednesday >

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.

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EU Court Rejects Data Retention Law, But Data Retention Won't End Overnight

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg struck down a data retention law Tuesday that required telecoms to keep customers' communications data for up to two years, declaring it violated privacy rights. However, experts warn that the ruling will have no automatic effect on relevant laws in member states, which could lead to “messy consequences.”

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