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German History Students Mark Kristallnacht With Real-Time Twitter Project

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, November 11 2013

"The Stuttgart Synagogue burns amidst jubilation from the surrounding crowd." "Cafe-owner Marcus is found dead in Düsseldorf; his tavern was completely destroyed overnight, he was shot." Those are not the kind of Twitter posts you might generally expect to see in your Twitter feed. For several years now, special commemorative pavement stones commemorate Holocaust victims by their last place of residence in many German and European cities through a project called "Stumbling Blocks" (Stolpersteine). This year, a group of German historians have been marking the 75th commemoration of Kristallnacht and the November pogroms that followed with a realtime-tweeting project to raise awareness of the historical events in Twitter feeds. Read More

Who Uses Twitter But Doesn't Get News From It? We've Got the Data

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 4 2013

One of out six (16%) American adults use Twitter, and half of those people (8%) say they get news that way. The Twitter news consumer, says the Pew Research Center, is typically younger, more mobile and better educated than Facebook news consumers, who number about 30% of the adult population. That's the information Pew highlighted in their report today, but what I wanted to know was this: Who are the people who are using Twitter but say they don't get news from it? In its survey, Pew defined a news consumer as someone who has "ever" gotten "information about events and issues that involve more than just your friends and family." Read More

First POST: Contained Fury

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Members of the House Intelligence Committee disagree about whether the NSA has kept them fully informed; Sen. Rand Paul a serial plagiarizer?; An antidote to technolibertarianism; and much, much more. Read More

This Is What Happens When You Talk Too Loudly on the Acela While Briefing a Reporter "On Background"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 24 2013

Tom Matzzie, a former online organizer for, the Kerry 2004 presidential campaign, and the AFL-CIO, happened to be on the Acela this afternoon when he overheard Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, talking to a reporter on his cell phone. He started tweeting. And this is what followed. Read More

First POST: Touchy

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 24 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:The NSA scandal is having repercussions now in Germany; How to successfully launched a government website; Why "big government" can't be agile; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Surging

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 21 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Will a "tech surge" of the "best and brightest" save holding a hackathon to build engagement tools to help win the immigration reform fight; David Carr's chat with Pierre Omidyar; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Kludgeocracy

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 17 2013

Some shocking remarks from a top Silicon Valley VC about the government shutdown; more details on Pierre Omidyar's new online journalism endeavor with Glenn Greenwald; Code for America is thinking about how to help cities go "beyond transparency"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Harvesting

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 15 2013

Lost your address book? No worries, the NSA probably has it; Ezra Klein raps the failures of; Why Jack Dorsey's mother loves Twitter; and much, much more. Read More


It's Not New, But "Twiplomacy" Is Increasingly Refined

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, October 11 2013

"Real-time fire hose" (Wikipedia)

Oh, the things you can read on “that real-time fire hose of public opinion known as Twitter,” as the New York Times so aptly called it.

During the United Nations General Assembly meeting that took place in the last few weeks, it was the place to go for progress reports on negotiations over Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons. It was also where the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, announced his “historic” phone call with Barack Obama, the first exchange of its kind between the United States and Iran in more than 30 years.

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First POST: Root Causes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 10 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus: Just how far has the Obama administration strayed from its promise to be the most open and transparent in history?; how government procurement practices led to the mess; Ari Fleischer's Twitter meltdown; and much, much more. Read More