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More Tweets Per Minute For Clinton Than For Romney, But Michelle Obama Still On Top

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, September 5 2012

Former President Bill Clinton's 48-minute long speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night generated more than 22,087 tweets per minute at the peak of conversational activity Twitter reports -- far more ... Read More

Journalists Who Neglect Digital Security Put their Sources at Risk

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, September 5 2012

Journalists are putting their sources — and sometimes their own lives — at risk by failing to implement digital security strategies, article the American Journalism Review. Read More

A Twitter Sponsored Hashtag That Didn't Work So Well

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 5 2012

One of Twitter's new products, sponsored hashtags, places the tag of a customer's choice among the list of trending topics that users see when they access the social network through the web. So clients — like Americans for Prosperity — can pick a topic and invite people to join in. From there, it appears, things can get unpredictable. Read More

WeGov

Crowdsourcing Disaster Response Via Social Media and SMS

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, August 27 2012

In two detailed and important blog posts, Patrick Meier explains how grassroots activists are using social media platforms and mobile phones to coordinate disaster relief, often when the government's response is inadequate. In many cases, Meier points out, the grassroots networks existed already, having been created as a means of coordinating political protest. Read More

The Egyptian Twittersphere, 18 Months Into the Revolution

BY Lisa Goldman | Saturday, August 25 2012

Cairo demonstrator (photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy)

In January 25 they were the face of the Egyptian revolution. Young, tech savvy, fluent in English, Cairo-based activists tweeted constant updates from the streets of the Egyptian capital. Their photos, videos and live reporting catapulted many of them to celebrity, especially after Hosni Mubarak resigned. Where are they today? Read More

From TXTMob to Twitter: How an Activist Tool Took Over the Conventions

BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, August 25 2012

The journo-political industrial complex is headed for the national party conventions this weekend, with more than 15,000 journalists along with thousands more Republican delegates, activists, party operatives and outside ... Read More

For Members of Congress, Ryan's VP Nomination Raises a Tweet Dilemma

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, August 16 2012

Various tweets by House members reacting to Rep. Paul Ryan's selection as the Republican vice presidential nominee may have violated Congressional rules, the Sunlight Foundation* reports. Read More

How the President Tweets

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 6 2012

The White House uploaded video over the weekend of President Barack Obama answering questions on Twitter after delivering remarks May 24 in Newton, Iowa. The president, who appears to be a touch-typist, is enthusiastic after posting a tweet that took up all 140 available characters and not a letter more. "I'm the master Twitter!" he exclaims, as one of the staffers in the room calls the tweet a "twoosh." Read More

In Socially Conservative North Dakota, a Gay Candidate Using the Web to Win

BY Cody Lyon | Friday, August 3 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Joshua Boschee is an openly gay candidate for public office in a socially conservative state, but observers say he's got a real shot at becoming one of Fargo, North Dakota's next representatives in the state legislature.

Boschee's home state of North Dakota has, according to one study, the lowest proportion of same-sex couples in the United States. It's a conservative state, although "conservative" means something different in the only state in the Union with a state-owned bank and a state-owned grain mill and elevator.

The 30-year-old activist and assistant director of leadership and organizations at Minnesota State University is a special case in part because he and his campaign manager say social media is offering him a competitive edge. People he might not otherwise know how to find in a city like Fargo, such as people who respond to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues but aren't already a part of LGBT-focused communities there, he can find on Facebook instead. And when he builds his constituency anywhere, he says, he immediately sees those persuadable voters following up to find out more about him online.

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Twitter Political Index Launches, But Is It Actually Measuring "Voter Sentiment?"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 1 2012

Screen image taken from Twitter blog post

Today, Twitter announced the launch of the "Twitter Political Index" in partnership with the social data analysis firm Topsy and pollsters The Mellman Group and North Star Opinion Research, and the twittering class swooned. "Twitter Will Gauge Voter Sentiment in New Venture" was the headline at National Journal--never mind the fact that this is neither a measure of voters or of sentiment. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

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

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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