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Obama 2012

In 2008, the Barack Obama campaign built an online juggernaut. With 13 million emails, nearly 4 million donors, 2 million members of the My.BarackObama.com social network, and tens of thousands of engaged activists, Obama's team broke new ground in using the internet to build a new kind of powerful political machine. In 2012, they worked hard to reengage their base and re-invent how campaigns use technology to move voters and win elections. And the results: a critical increase in targeted turnout, built on top of an even bigger list and volunteer base.

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

Jeremy Bird on the Future of Organizing for America, 2012 and Beyond

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 5 2012

"We weren't quick enough out of the gate," four years ago, says Jeremy Bird, the national field director of President Obama's re-election campaign. "We will be quicker this time." He's not talking about the race just concluded. He's talking about how Organizing for America, the president's political organization, operated in the days and months after Obama's first election in 2008, compared to what is coming now. Read More

How Analytics Made Obama's Campaign Communications More Efficient

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, December 3 2012

Last Friday in Washington, D.C., both Evan Zasoski, Obama for America's deputy director for data production, and Michelangelo D'Agostino, the campaign's senior analyst for digital analytics, showed their progressive ... Read More

Obama's Targeted GOTV On Facebook Reached 5 Million Voters, Goff Says

BY Nick Judd | Friday, November 30 2012

The president's re-election campaign used targeted person-to-person contact on Facebook to reach five million voters, many of whom were the focus of an effort to reach 18-to-29-year-old voters who not be reached by phone, Obama for America Digital Director Teddy Goff said Friday. Read More

After Obama 3.0, What Will 4.0 Look Like? TheAction.org Isn't Waiting for the Answer

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 21 2012

What next for the millions of people, tens of thousands of volunteers and several thousand staff who came together to propel Barack Obama to re-election? Will there be a real "outside" Washington strategy to put pressure on recalcitrant Members of Congress? Will they use the massive lists and online presence that were built around the campaign? Organizers of TheAction.org say they aren't waiting for answers to these big questions, but they are mobilizing to tap Obama's post-election, online and off, to try to keep him from compromising on repealing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans. Read More

The Obama Campaign's Legacy: Listen, Experiment, and Analyze Everything

BY Nick Judd and Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 21 2012

Photo: Torbakhopper / Flickr

The big story of the 2012 Obama campaign was not just that staffers were able to weave together information about voters using data integration in ways that had bedeviled the campaign in 2008. Nor was it the campaign’s ability to test nearly every tactic, from email subject lines and landing pages to the scripts that volunteers read from as they went door to door. If any one engine powered the campaign down its road to victory, it was the system that turned every voter, field staffer and grassroots volunteer into a political signal — and the mix of technology and analysis that allowed Obama’s Chicago headquarters to find those signals among all the noise. Read More

How Obama for America Made Its Facebook Friends Into Effective Advocates

BY Nick Judd | Monday, November 19 2012

During the summer, OfA chief data scientist Rayid Ghani and analyst Matt Rattigan brought the technology team a prototype piece of software. More a simple script, really, the prototype took a given supporter's Facebook ID, scanned the supporter's Facebook friends, checked what the campaign knew about those friends and returned content the campaign might want to put in front of them. By midsummer, they had a tool to spread content for the campaign that staff say was more than twice as effective as a traditional banner ad. Read More

Where Obama's Ground Soldiers Were, and Who They Are

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 8 2012

Ryan Enos / Eitan Hersh
A just-concluded research project studied thousands of Obama for America ground volunteers as they knocked on doors and made phone calls in their effort to get Barack Obama into the White House for another four years. Field organizers and volunteers answered a survey presented to them as they accessed a common piece of campaign software. This map shows where they were as they were answering the survey — campaign data exhaust that proves Obama's ground game was at its strongest exactly where Mitt Romney's campaign needed it to be weak. Read More

Obama for America Offers Volunteers "Trip Planner," A Craigslist for the Campaign

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, September 10 2012

With Election Day less than two months away, the presidential campaigns are focused on their ground games. To help volunteers get to battleground states, the Obama campaign has created Trip Planner. Read More

In Ohio, Obama's Campaign "Dashboard" a Hard Sell for Some Volunteers

BY Nick Judd and Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya | Friday, August 10 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: TechPresident took a look at how volunteers in the key swing state of Ohio are using Dashboard, the Obama campaign's online organizing hub. While volunteers are signing up at a steady pace, some of the volunteers who signed up for the platform are waiting in vain for someone to connect them with the campaign. Others, already comfortable with campaign techniques they developed in 2008 or earlier, or uncomfortable with technology, are largely ignoring Dashboard. Read More

The New and Not-So-New In Obama's "Dashboard"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, May 23 2012

President Obama's 2012 campaign unveiled its organizing dashboard Wednesday

President Obama's re-election campaign unveiled its campaign "dashboard" Wednesday with a renewed focus on metrics and team-building that the campaign clearly hopes will enable it to better manage its massive base of volunteers and field organizers in what is expected to be a closely-contested presidential election.

The Obama team's 2012 social network retains many of the features of the my.barackobama.com network from 2008, but also includes new ones resulting from the experiences of that initial breakthrough campaign. The most noticeable changes: A sharper focus on individuals, their team units and their performance, the addition of the "Numbers," section, an activity stream that looks a bit like Facebook's activity stream, and a lack of a fundraising component.

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Teddy Goff and Joe Rospars On How Obama's Campaign Is Trying to Get Back to the "We"

BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 17 2012

Getting back to the "we" of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign — the now-legendary level of energy and individual commitment from grassroots volunteers that Obama was able to harness en route to an improbable victory in the Democratic primary and then in the general election for the presidency of the United States — is in many ways the "central challenge" of his 2012 re-election effort, Obama for America Digital Director Teddy Goff said Friday.Speaking with Obama's chief digital strategist, Joe Rospars, and techPresident publisher Andrew Rasiej at a Social Media Week event in a conference room at Thomson-Reuters with a panoramic view of New York City, Goff described the myriad ways Obama's re-election effort is looking to harness digital tools to connect with voters, whether they be supporters from 2008 or newcomers to politics.

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From Gotham to Helvetica: Obama 2012 Launches 'Attack Watch' Site

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 14 2011

In 2008, Barack Obama's election campaign launched Fight the Smears, meant to be a sort of online inoculation against being Swift Boated. There, the campaign could post counterspin on the anti-Obama talking point of the ... Read More

Election 2012: It's Not Facebook. It's the Data, Stupid.

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 20 2011

Now that President Obama, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty have all declared their intentions to run for President in 2012 and rolled out their initial campaign ... Read More

Can Obama 2012 Bring the New Media Band Back Together Again?

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, April 4 2011

The kick-off of Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid Monday morning came with a relaunch of BarackObama.com and a thoroughly Web-based announcement push that featured a campaign YouTube video, a text message, a Facebook ... Read More

The Obama Disconnect: What Happens When Myth Meets Reality

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, December 31 2009

"Collectively all of you, most of you whom are, I'm not sure, of drinking age, you've created the best political organization in America, and probably the best political organization that we've seen in the last 30, 40 ... Read More

Organizing for America in "Every County, Every Precinct, Every Block, Every Neighborhood"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 27 2009

Jeremy Bird, the deputy director of Organizing for America, was back in South Carolina for the Democratic party state convention. Read More

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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