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Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

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

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Scary Monsters

Facebook opens up about its experiments on tweaking voting behavior; breaking news in the FCC net neutrality battle; getting hard data on civic tech's impact on political efficacy; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: System-Gaming

Why techies interested in political reform are facing challenges; the latest data on Democratic voter contacts in 2014; Hungary's anti-Internet tax demonstrations are getting huge; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Gimme Shelter

The link between intimate partner violence and surveillance tech; the operational security set-up that connected Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden; how Senate Dems are counting on tech to hold their majority; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Tribes

Edward Snowden on the Internet's impact on political polarization; trying to discern Hillary Clinton's position on NSA reform; why Microsoft is bullish on civic tech; and much, much more GO

monday >

First POST: Inventions

How voter data-sharing among GOP heavyweights is still lagging; why Facebook's News Feed scares news publishers; Google's ties to the State Department; and much, much more. GO

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