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First POST: Which Half a Glass?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, February 12 2014

Was "The Day We Fight Back" a boom or a bust?; understanding how the NSA tracks people's physical locations; using Facebook to protest "Third World" schools in Los Angeles; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Fight Club

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 11 2014

More than 6,000 websites and organizations are "fighting back" against NSA mass surveillance today; Not included among them, Wikipedia, which was critical to the anti-SOPA/PIPA coalition; a new mobile app Secret seems in tune with the new privacy zeitgeist, or is it?, and much, much more. Read More

For Obamacare Supporters on Social Media, Success Stories Outweigh Website Glitches

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 19 2013

While new polling suggests President Obama is at the lowest popularity rating of his presidency due to the problems with the healthcare program roll-out and media attention has focused on the website's flaws, a group of grassroots supporters of the healthcare law are determined to spread Obamacare sign-up "success stories" through social media. Read More

In Tumblr, Yahoo Acquires an Audience and an Activist Edge, Too

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, May 20 2013

David Karp, May 16, 2013. Photo: Flickr/Digitas Photos

With a sticker price of approximately $1.1 billion, Yahoo's Tumblr acquisition doesn't just come with an audience CEO Marissa Mayer expects will grow Yahoo's footprint by 50 percent. Whether Yahoo knew it or not, the struggling Internet ur-company has also bought itself an activist constituency. Read More

The Rise and Fall of Social Media in American Politics (And How it May Rise Again)

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 6 2012

Four years ago for us here techPresident, Election Day was a moment to reflect on the Internet's impact on the campaign, and in particular how so many voters had ventured onto the playing field of politics by using new interactive media, self-publishing tools like blogs and YouTube, and nascent social networks like Facebook. But if you've spent any time reading techPresident this cycle, you've noticed that we've more or less stopped paying close attention to social media metrics. The reason is, they didn't make a difference to the race. The question is why. Read More

Tumblr to "Live-GIF" Wednesday's Debate

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, October 1 2012

Tumblr staff will be "cranking out instant animations of the best debate moments, from zingers to gaffes to awkward silences," for every debate beginning with Wednesday's, according to a Tumblr post. The plan is to "live-GIF" the debates, distilling them into moments a few dozen frames at a time, so you and your friends can reblog them. The GIFs will be featured on a Tumblr page called Gifwich, which already shows some election-related samples. In addition, GIF selections will be featured on the Guardian's liveblog and Tumblr's election blog. Read More

How the Obama Campaign Used GIFs, "Glee" Actor to Score Wins on Tumblr

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, August 24 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Emailed GIFs are the newest form of Obama campaign outreach, but Obama for America is no stranger to the animated medium.

The campaign has been using GIFs on its tumblr for at least seven months, reblogging some and creating others on its own — and engaging with Tumblr users along the way.

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Finally, a Reaction GIF Tumblr for Campaign Staff

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 7 2012

When Democratic consultant Nancy Leeds saw the "Hey Girl, It's Ryan Gosling" meme spread late last year, she decided to start a reaction GIF tumblr of her own, devoted exclusively to campaigns and named "Campaign Sick," after a blog she also maintains. What she didn't realize was that staffers and consultants around the country — even some Republicans, she says — would take advantage of the opportunity to send their own submissions in numbers, creating an anonymous escape valve for campaign pressure.

"You're not supposed to be posting stuff on the Internet outside of the campaign because you're a representative of the campaign," Leeds told me by phone Friday. "And second of all, you want to be a soldier. You don't want to be complaining and venting and asking for advice, you want to look like you're in control and nothing ever bothers you."

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Letting You Watch Ink Dry, Latest GOP New Media Strategy, Is Working, Says NRCC

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 7 2012

The National Republican Congressional Committee went live this morning with a video feed of a printer churning out paper copies of petitions signed online in opposition to the Affordable Care Act. As the printer spits out each piece of paper, its own Twitter feed announces when it runs out of toner and mentions signers who have a high Klout score. The whole new-media blitz meant to make the NRCC "first off the block" in the messaging wars over an expected Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care legislation. Read More

#PDF12: Announcing This Year's PDF Tumblr Fellows

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, June 5 2012

We're pleased to announce that thanks to the generous support of our friends at Tumblr, this year PDF is giving conference scholarships to nine highly deserving individuals who are innovating at the intersection of tech ... Read More

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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