Don’t Shove Your Message Down My Throat (Or, Contemplating the Long Sweep of Internet Politics)

The past month’s parade of conferences was bad for the publishing schedule but great for thinking — a time to step back for a minute and meditate about the changes we’re going through and where we are in the long sweep of digital politics. Changing, my friends, this world is.

Think about Russia’s recent moves to dissect Ukraine, and particularly the flimsy justifications Vladimir Putin provided. As Samantha Power (U.S. ambassador to the U.N.) said, Putin may not WANT to believe the internet exists, but it does, and it’s filled with images and stories countering his attempt to obscure territorial ambitions behind a screen of bullshit.

You can’t just mass your tanks on the border and figure no one will notice, when satellites streak overhead and the ‘net lies waiting for their photos. Will it matter? In the short run, maybe not — a photo can’t stop an armored brigade. But in the long run, it’s clear that we’re in a new battle of ideas, with minds around the globe as our targets. And in this kind of war, an open country — one that embraces the power of information freely flowing online — has the advantage…if we’re smart enough to take it.


Add comment April 17th, 2014 Trackback

Top Ten Progressive Advocacy Facebook Posts (4/7 to 4/14/2014)

Check out last week’s top 10 over-performing Facebook posts, from the (roughly) 400 progressive groups followed by our friends at CrowdTangle. Of note this week? Apparently, we f*cking love science…at least, when vaccines are involved.

1. Indigenous Environmental Network (676.3x)



Add comment April 14th, 2014 Trackback

Twitter for Political Campaigns & Advocates: Rules, Tools and Essentials

Ebook: How to Use the Internet to Win in 2014

The following is an excerpt from the new ebook, “How to Use the Internet to Win in 2014: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Politics for Campaigns & Advocates”, available in the Amazon store for the Kindle e-reader and as a PDF here on

From the “Social Media” Chapter: Twitter for Political Campaigns

The explosion of Twitter marks one of the biggest changes in the digital political landscape in the last few years — in 2008, Barack Obama had all of 100,000 followers by Election Day, a number that was well above 20 million on Election Day 2012. Though the Twitter and Faceook are often lumped together in the popular mind, Twitter isn’t quite a mass medium in the same way Facebook has become — it’s more of a channel to reach those “influentials” like bloggers, journalists and activists. Also different: you can pretty much post as often as you want on Twitter, while you’ll probably want to limit yourself on Facebook to keep from burning out your audience.

An example of Twitter’s ability to influence the political discussion? In 2012, Obama and Romney campaign staff regularly engaged in “Twitter duels” online, with reporters and activists the intended audience. Though these back-and-forth exchanges probably didn’t change any votes, they got plenty of media attention — mission accomplished.


Add comment April 9th, 2014 Trackback

Top Ten Progressive Advocacy Facebook Posts (4/1 to 4/7/2014)

Check out last week’s top 10 over-performing Facebook posts, from the (roughly) 400 progressive groups followed by our friends at CrowdTangle. Note the same post working well for two different Greenpeace chapters (of course, it’s about whales).

1. Fossil Free (183.8x)



Add comment April 8th, 2014 Trackback

Next Week: Don’t Miss CampaignTech East


Hi folks, I’ve been driven into seclusion in the e.politics bunker lately by a serious barrage of work. You know, work — the stuff that pays the mortgage and feeds the cat. So I’ve been tragically remiss in my promotional duties, particularly for the C&E-sponsored CampaignTech East conference, which lands in DC next Wednesday and Thursday. Check it out.

The conference is packed with a terrific array of panels, panelists and speakers, many of them new to CampaignTech this year. I hope you like your daily dose of Delany, though: I’ll be moderating three panels, and the legendary Julie Germany and I are official honorary Co-Chairs (which I believe is somewhat akin to being named Prom Queen and King — we’ll be the ones in the tiaras).

Best of all, I haz discount code, which’ll knock a solid chunk of change off the price of admission. If you’re interested, just drop me a line. I hope to see you next week!


Add comment April 3rd, 2014 Trackback

Top Ten Progressive Advocacy Facebook Posts (3/24 to 4/1/2014)

Check out last week’s top 10 over-performing Facebook posts, from the (roughly) 400 progressive groups followed by our friends at CrowdTangle. This week’s lesson: you cannot go wrong with Willie Nelson.

1. Moms Clean Air Force (268.5x)



Add comment April 1st, 2014 Trackback

Geotargeted Advertising in DC’s City Elections


Election season has come to the tree-shaded (and recently snow-shrouded) streets of the District of Columbia, and with it a flurry of Facebook Ads. Just a few years ago it was noteworthy for a local-level political campaign to experiment with Facebook advertising at all — when DC Republican Patrick Mara talked about using social ads to deliver targeted messaging to the city’s gay community and to recruit volunteers five years ago, it was a new trend at the time.

Facebook ads are now a common tool for local campaigns, but what’s changed is the sophistication. Look at the three ads to the right, which appeared on Facebook targeted at me a couple of days ago. The first? From Jim Graham, my current city councilmember, who’s historically been popular but is also under an ethical cloud. The second is an attack ad aimed at Muriel Bowser, the chief challenger to incumbent mayor Vincent Gray, a man suffering from a few ethical issues of his own. His ad links through to a microsite accusing her of being unready to lead. The final ad of the three is from Jim Graham’s chief challenger, touting her agenda…or at least as much of it will fit into the 90 characters allowed in a Facebook sidebar ad.

Not bad tactics at all! We have two positive, highly geotargeted ads for a city council race (I’m getting ads from the correct candidates for my district), plus one negative ad from an incumbent who needs to try to derail an opponent who’s doing well in the few public polls that have been released. Digital politics can work at all levels! Even right hear in the D of C.


Add comment March 26th, 2014 Trackback

Digital Politics Loses One of Its Own

Online politics is a young field — at 45, I’m often the oldest guy in the room, particularly when the grassroots organizers are running amok. So it’s a shock when we lose one of our own…we simply haven’t had to deal with the death of a colleague often. Today though, I learned that we’ve lost Xavier Lopez-Ayala, a true sweetheart of a man and a damn good digital organizer. I don’t have any details, but ultimately they don’t matter: Xavi’s gone, along with his dreams, and the world is darker for it. Rest In Peace, my friend…I’ll miss you, along with many, many others.


Add comment March 25th, 2014 Trackback

Top Ten Progressive Advocacy Facebook Posts (3/17 to 3/24/2014)

Check out last week’s top 10 over-performing Facebook posts, from the (roughly) 400 progressive groups followed by our friends at CrowdTangle. Of note this week: a singing nun rocks Alicia Keyes.

1. Students for Sensible Drug Policy (906.5x)



Add comment March 24th, 2014 Trackback

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