It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, of the summer. Well, of the summer fundraising season. Okay fine — maybe it’s not that wonderful a time at all, but it’s certainly interesting, at least if you’re into raising money online. Why? Because June 30th is the end of the quarter, meaning that candidates are rushing to collect as much as they can before the end of the reporting period. The more cash raised, the better — both because money equals advertising and because money equals credibility in the eyes of reporters and political professionals.
Archive for June, 2010
Quick Hits is back! Strap yourself in: we have some major cache-clearing ahead.
- Alvin Green (D for SC Senator) now has a website, straight outta 1999.
- Alleged Russian agents used high-tech tricks. C.f. Russian spies took advantage of tech.
- Senate Judiciary Committee members’ Twitter feeds, plus Elena’s Inbox lets you search Kagan’s Executive Branch emails.
- State Department Staff Twitter Musings in Syria Elicit Groans in Washington.
- Daily Kos to Sue Research 2000 for Fraud. C.f. Kos fires pollster after reading Nate Silver’s ratings, Pollster Fight Gets Ugly, Pollster accused of fabricating data, defrauding Kos, and The Kos pollster charges, explained.
- Online Plot Hatched to Annoy BP Executives with Vuvuzelas, via Matt DeLuca.
- DNC Wants Many Eyes on the GOP, as Democrats Seek “Macaca” Moments.
- WaPo’s Weigel Lets Loose With Scathing E-mails on Liberal Listserv. The Fallout: Washington Post blogger David Weigel resigns after messages leak. C.f. Breitbart’s JournoList bounty and the secret Republican listserv leak and L.A. Times blogger is also a professional Republican flack. Finally, Gerson: internet bad, again. Why can’t we all be just like him and his friends?
- Sharon Angle hides from the cameras, relying on social media to hit true believers. But Nevada Dems break into her bunker, and c.f. What’s up with Sharron Angle’s website?
- DNC rolls out iPad app, with coverage by Politico and tPrez. Also, NY Senate app lets you find the senator of any spot you’re standing on, via tPrez.
- OFA Looks to Boost Democratic Candidates in Midterms, as Democrats spend big to lure Obama’s minority and young voters back to the polls. Plus, The New ‘Raise Your Vote’: OFA’s Design to Turn Out Mid-Term Voters.
- Once Just a Site With Funny Cat Pictures, and Now a Web Empire, but Is the LOLcat Empire Built on Exploited Humans? The latter via Aminatou Sou.
- Mind Over Mass Media. The internet is making us stoopid — just like books did. C.f. No, The Internet Won’t Make You Stupid.
- Obama welcomes his Russian counterpart to Twitter. And it wasn’t even #FollowFriday!
- “Rahm, u lie.”
- “These are not writers, or journalists; these are self-confessed generators of content in the much the same way that horses are self-confessed generators of glue.”
- How Joe Barton found out that Auto-Tweeting stories on a given topic is not always a good idea. C.f. Apologize to BP, online (cute), and Facebook: Takedown of BP Boycott Page was Automated Error.
- No footage from the House floor on campaign websites!
- California dreamin’: The story behind that eBay shove (reenacting the Second Life battle “rocking” CA politics). Plus, New site tracks who said what in California politics, Top 2 [California] G.O.P. Candidates Don’t Reflect [Silicon] Valley, and Unsure how to vote in California primary election, many turn to Twitter.
- Some Mayors Bypass Media, Government and Talk Directly to Constituents on Facebook. C.f. SC State House politicos start online politics show.
- 2012 prelude: GOP hopefuls go online.
- Year Two: Tea Partiers learn how to do more than wave signs. Plus, an interactive map of Tea Party events on Meetup.com.
- How future historians will use the Twitter archives.
- Was 2010 the (UK’s) internet election? C.f. How the Internet is Changing Politics in Great Britain and UK Election Email Newsletters Rated.
- The Politics Online Conference 2010, with photos and links.
- Ad Campaigns, SEO Content, Even Disaster Planning: Real Time Search in Action.
- Is your Facebook Page Worth it?
- Online database of corporate/organizational social media policies.
- What You Can Learn From Ford’s Social Media Strategy. C.f. Reach Customers in 140 Characters, All of Them Free.
- NASA, White House Launch Digital Comment Box for Space Plan.
- The 7 Somewhat United States of Facebook.
- The Future of Social/E-Mail Integration. C.f. Google Making Gmail Into a Communications Hub.
- Why the Army Doesn’t Train on XBoxes.
- A Democratic campaign committee sponsors a contest to illustrate and caption a photo of Sarah Palin. A little old but I couldn’t leave it out.
- People share news online that inspires awe.
- Pakistani ambassador rejected because his name is NSFW in Arabic.
- Jurors: Stop Twittering.
- Ad Network Use Grows as Marketers Promote Brands Online.
- 95% of User Generated Content is spam or malicious. Via A Loyal Reader (thanks, Dad!).
- Measuring Return on Social Investment.
- Politicians saying the tweetest things with advent of social media.
- Lessons from an Advocacy Campaign on Twitter – The #losethecig Case Study.
- Income from Political Blogs: Online Politics Coach.
- Online News Fights to Live on Its Merits.
- The Twitter Revolution that wasn’t.
- In Search of Lonely Diners and Unbought Bloggers.
- Social media: The next generation.
- Analyzing the Facebook Factor (in elections).
- A Diaspora from Facebook, or from Reality? Sensing blood, Privacy Start-Ups Cash In on Facebook’s Troubles.
- Guggenheim and YouTube Seek Budding Video Artists, or YouTube, HP And Guggenheim In Search Of The World’s Most Creative Online Video.
- Online video sites embrace live concert streams.
- Apple App store and censorship.
- Hulu Founding CTO Eric Feng Leaving For KPCB, Al Gore.
- The President’s Record on Border Security. Using the White House blog to push back against critics.
- Making a Video for Nonprofit Communicators.
- The man who invented the Obama-is-a-Muslim meme?
- Tweeting Death.
- Social Media Scores at World Cup, by my NMS colleague Fenella Basilio. Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal!
- I Can Play Mass Effect 2 on My Dinky Laptop. Online gaming service a model for the future?
- World Wrestling Entertainment Understands Their Audience, Embraces YouTube.
- Enviro Websites and the Big Spill: Continuing the Debate, and re: The Big Spill and Enviro Web Traffic.
- After Obama, Gibbs Bats Cleanup in Virtual Press Conference.
- What Annoys Consumers the Most About Online Ads.
- What You Never Would Have Guessed About Facebook Users.
- Slam Dunk or Snake Oil? Everyone wants to Raise Money with Social Media. But is it Possible?
- As MSNBC flees IAB ad unit coffin, Are Banner Ads Dead? Bonus track: They Move, Smell, and Can Get You Arrested: Odd Ad Formats.
- Bill Clinton’s name on CO fundraising email raises attention. As does ‘winger’s online video from Alabama, for very different reasons.
- Mobile tech in an AFSCME internal election.
- Tweets in Japan fall silent in election campaign.
- The Perfect Political Ad?
- Behind the 2204355 prank. Deconstructing a man dancing with chicken.
- Britney Spears wins, Twitter loses. Rise of the robots continues; self-awareness on horizon.
- And finally: “Democrats tend to have more problems with harassment, staffers and underage girls while Republicans tend to have more problems with prostitutes, hypocrisy and underage boys.”
Too much is never enough? Try past editions of Quick Hits for more tasty links.
New guest author! A fresh voice around here, at least. But Shana Glickfield‘s hardly new to the internet politics space, since she’s an experienced online communicator, one of the founding partners of The Beekeeper Group (“a new public affairs firm in Washington, DC, leading the industry towards toward a community-based, hive-driven approach”) and an all-around cool chick. Check out her thoughts on FourSquare for advocacy below:
Get in the Game With Foursquare!
As a self-confessed Foursquare addict, I’ll admit I am a bit biased in writing this post. I can’t wait to see all of my favorite businesses, organizations and candidates get in on the craze. And I’m far from alone.
So just why is there so much excitement about this new tech tool? Unscientifically, I believe it’s because Foursquare cuts out a lot of the clutter on Twitter, driving us back to Twitter’s original question of “What are you doing?” But the Small Business Labs blog captured the real reason Foursquare has everyone talking:
“Foursquare is getting a lot of hype for several reasons. First, it sits at the intersection of a number of interesting technology trends: location-awareness, mobile computing, social media, social commerce, the real-time web and social games. This is an exciting mix for the geeks that hype these things. Foursquare is also easy to understand, is fun to use and has the potential to add value to both consumers and businesses.”
Contest time! For the 11th year running, Phil Noble’s PoliticsOnline.com (teamed with the World eDemocracy Forum) is seeking out ten folks who are changing the world of online politics, and you can help. To participate, just go to the entry submission page and contribute suggestions by July 9th — send your favorite person or organization to the awards ceremony at this year’s 11th World eDemocracy Forum, being held October 13-15 in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris. And just remember, when you’re submitting e.politics, the last name is spelled D-E-L-A-N-Y…Boxless and I could use a trip to France, yes indeed.
Integrate or die: words seen on Epolitics.com before and for good reason, since standalone online campaigns rarely work as well as ones combined with concrete action in the physical world. For a good example of how the virtual can combine with the real to yield results, see Food and Water Watch‘s campaign last year to get federal approval for schools to buy hormone-free milk through the National School Lunch Program. As described by Sarah Alexander at a June 17th Digital Capital Week presentation, Food and Water Watch followed a strategy that wound online and offline action tightly together to get the best out of both, in part through leveraging the results of a van trip through the states and districts of crucial legislators. Note: the cow costumes didn’t hurt.
If Rep. Joe Barton’s apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward was “a political gift” to Democrats, as Rahm Emmanuel put it, the Dems are working to make sure that it’s a financial gift — and one that keeps on giving. After Barton’s most impolitic statement at last week’s Capitol Hill hearing on the Gulf oil spill, the party was quick to jump online with a plea to fund TV ads against Republicans “sympathetic” to the petroleum giant. Key point: that Republican victories this Fall could put Barton in charge of the House Energy and Environment Committee, making him the legislative gatekeeper on environmental regulation. Besides the inevitable online petition, Gibbs tweet and DNC fundraising email, the DCCC has also run Facebook Ads to the tune of 20 million impressions per day, no doubt hoping for a secondary branding effect in addition to any direct click-throughs to the petition/fundraising page. Thanks, Joe! Hope that case of foot-in-mouth disease clears up soon…but not before November.
The oil spill may be an ongoing tragedy in the Gulf, but Louisiana’s coast was in danger of disappearing for a long time before the Deepwater Horizon well was a gleam in BP’s eye. For years, a combination of levees on the Mississippi, land subsidence, the extension of a vast network of canals through the coastal wetlands, invasion by non-native species and sea level rise have conspired to sink the state at a rate of a football field’s worth of land lost PER HOUR. How?
Glad you asked, since the staff at the legendary New Orleans Times-Picayune has put together a clear and concise visual explanation of how the Mississippi River created the place we call Louisiana, and how our changes to the river system are destroying it. Check it out, or read more from Epolitics.com about social media and the BP oil spill.
Time for the first official 2010 Epolitics.com summer reading recommendations! Both books featured today are written by friends-of-epolitics, which though not a prerequisite for recommended status sure doesn’t hurt. First up:
Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking by Deanna Zandt, blurb below.
The times are not just a-changin’, they’re a-revolutionizin’! As social media becomes increasingly present in our everyday lives, a major democratic cultural shift is underway. Through the power of relationships, sharing of experiences, and organizing online, previously marginalized voices are pouring into and shaping public conversations like never before. But serious change will not happen on its own. Despite the increasing presence of a diversity of voices and faces, the Internet isn’t fulfilling its disruptive potential; more often than not, it’s simply replicating and amplifying inequality and segregation.
Enough technology for one beach trip? Next up is The Upper House, a look inside the U.S. Senate through the eyes of several senators elected in 2006 and 2008, written by Terry Samuels, an epolitics drinking buddy who’s formerly an editor at TheRoot.com and who also covered Congress for US News and World Report. You can read a Bob Kerrey review from the Post plus plenty of others, or just jump straight in and order it at Amazon. Terry’s also hosting an event at Kramerbooks on Monday for the DC set; I’ll see you there. Congrats, y’all! Great work on the dead-tree-media front — perhaps one day we’ll join you there.
Here we go again — yet another pronouncement of the death of email, this time by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (see video below). Allyson Kapin has an excellent response on Frogloop, and I’ll just note that way back in 2006 one of the first posts on Epolitics.com dealt with predictions of email’s demise, a subject we’ve revisited time and again since (once with Chuck Norris!). Honestly I’ve run out of things to say on the subject, other than that email was the killer app in politics in 2006 and again in 2008, and I don’t see a whole lot of reasons it’s going to change fundamentally in 2010.
Besides noting that predicting the death of email is a sure-fire way to get media attention (particularly if you’re a company that might stand to benefit from such a development), I’ll just close with a cautionary tale for would-be futurists — if I remember correctly, online guru Seth Godin predicted the death of email advocacy within five years at the GetActive user conference…in 2005. Looking around from the vantage point of 2010, I don’t see a whole lot nonprofits and political campaigns ditching their email lists — in fact, I see plenty of people trying to grow them as fast as possible. Of course email will continue to see a gradual and RELATIVE decline, since so many other online channels now compete for our attention, but I find it hard to believe that we’re going to ditch such a near-ubiquitous and immensely practical tool any time soon. And you can quote me on that.
Interesting little tidbit from Nevada: a group calling itself the Patriot Majority is running ads against Sharron Angle on conservative websites, describing her as “‘Nevada’s WORST legislator!’ and a ‘professional politician’ who is in the pocket of Wall Street.” Who are they? Democrats, of course — and their goal is to push back against the Tea Party crowd.
In the Nevada case, they’re trying to help Harry Reid break up Republican Angle’s support among the fringe Right, in part by pointing out the fact that this “political newcomer” has been in the Nevada Legislature since the late ’90s and (I assume) has taken campaign donations from financial services firms. Will it work? The Tea Partiers are a purist and fractious bunch, liable to split along ideological and personal fault lines at the drop of a hat, so perhaps there’s some chance that it might. But conservatives were quick to catch on, and the advertising could backfire in the end.
Regardless, it’s a great example of how the internet can deliver targeted messages to people deemed likely to respond to them; whether they do or not is a different question. And the Patriot Majority’s overall outreach campaign (over 3000 fans on Facebook) once again reminds us that we should ALWAYS ask who’s behind an online campaign — the internet can lift high the small and silent, but it can also provide a grassroots facade for someone else’s money.
Fun thought question from Michael Clements, moderator of yesterday’s Digital Capital Week/Future of Media panel: if the world was once flat, then round, then flat again (at least according to Thomas Friedman), what shape will it be in five years? The audience fired back several good answers, but the idea that popped into my head and stuck there was “lumpy.”
What do I mean by that? Imagine the media world as a physical object resembling a 20-sided D&D die, but with many more points, each of them a publishing outlet. Some points will poke out more (the New York Times), others much less (some random dude’s Twitter feed), but each of them projects some distance above the surface and demands our attention. As you get closer to the surface, you’d see more and more outlets, but they’ll follow the same pattern over and over: you’ll always see a handful of prominent voices accompanied by many smaller ones, which in turn are surrounded by smaller ones, which in turn are surrounded by…(you guessed it) smaller ones.
In this model, in other words, the arrangement of points would be fractal (a term also tossed out as an answer to the shape-of-the-world question), meaning that the distribution is the same whether you’re talking about the macro level (the top online publishers) or the micro level (the handful of blogs and Twitter feeds about some obscure film genre). Dude, whoa.
Another description from the audience was “ethereal,” which captures the cloud-like (and constantly shifting) web of connections among online voices, something that my model could incorporate if the points could move around relative to one another (imagine Brownian motion-style vibration, but with more vigor). Fun stuff! And if this model is accurate, let’s hope that our own points keep rising — like mountains driven up by clashing tectonic plates, only more quickly.
If you are an Iranian in Tehran, you might have received a text message recently similar to this one:
“Dear citizen, you have been tricked by the foreign media and you are working on their behalf,” the message read. “If you do this again, you will be dealt with according to Islamic law.”
Pretty damn intimidating, particularly when it’s sent by the government and it arrives on a cell phone that’s probably in your pocket. Whether the messages were sent to known anti-government activists or just blasted out to phone numbers at random, this kind of direct and personal threat would dampen just about anyone’s revolutionary fire. And coming soon after a Foreign Policy piece that demolishes the idea of an Iranian “Twitter Revolution” last summer, it clearly demonstrates the ability of electronic tools to work FOR an authoritarian government as well as against one. Also note that the Times article that quotes the text message above mentions that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has now set up more of an infrastructure for monitoring electronic communications.
Depressing, and another reminder of the limits of the internet to make immediate change happen in the real world, particularly in a state like Iran that’s becoming increasingly despotic as its moral legitimacy fades.