Archive for the 'Online political campaigning' Category

The race to reach 1,000,000 supporters on Facebook

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

RunObama.com: Talking ‘Bout An Obama Facebook Revolution

On January 16, someone named Farouk Olu Aregbe created an Obama Facebook Group with the (admittedly) audacious goal of reaching one million members. The group, entitled “Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)” even had a timeline for reaching one million:

A million members would easily it largest Facebook group period (I believe). And it would dwarf, no swamp, any other single political group out there. For example, The Democratic Party’s Facebook group has only 4,480 members, the College Democrats clock in at 3,374.

But of course, 10,000, which was reached on January 20th, is a long way from 1,000,000.

Yesterday, when I blogged about the group on RunObama.com, I noticed it had grown from 66,599 to 66,730 in a matter of minutes as I was writing about it. Which means the group added 56,730 members in just 5 days, which opened my eyes.

But nothing compared to today, when I logged in at around 3:30pm to find that the group had grown to 90,094 members.

As of right now, the group has 127,774 members.

Via Personal Democracy Forum: One Million Strong for Barack?

Clinton on Yahoo! Answers

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

The San Jose Mercury News ran this story yesterday: Sen. Clinton adds new twist to Web campaigns

Sen. Hillary Clinton signaled that hers would be an Internet-savvy presidential campaign by announcing her candidacy with a video posted on her Web site and e-mails to supporters. Throughout the week, she has been hosting live video chats. And on Thursday, Clinton held her first townhall meeting in cyberspace.

Clinton, a New York Democrat, used the Yahoo Answers service to ask voters: “Based on your own family’s experience, what do you think we should do to improve health care in America?”

By 5 p.m., Clinton had gotten more than 33,000 answers, making her question the second-most popular in the history of Yahoo Answers. Clinton is trumped by Oprah, who received 37,000 answers to the question: “If you were given $1,000 to change the life of a perfect stranger, what would you do?”

You can see her question her (currently at 36,033 answers and counting): Based on your own family’s experience, what do you think we should do to improve health care in America?

A random glance at some of the top-ranked answers she’s received so far suggests that people are actually responding, making suggestings, sharing their stories.

I think this tells you a number of things:

  • It’s not simply about blogs (or bloggers, for that matter — inviting a few bloggers into your campaign ain’t gonna win you the Presidency).
  • It’s too early to tell who among the candidates really gets it.
  • Looks like at least someone in the Clinton campaign has a clue (who knew?).
  • Health care will be a big issue in ‘08 (some say it will be the issue).

PoliticsBlog agrees: On the Web, Clinton Leads the Pack

And CBS News has this: Meet Hillary 2.0

Clinton entered the presidential race by posting a Web video. And to run its Web operation, her campaign scooped up at least four political bloggers, including Peter Daou, who worked on Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and blogs for Salon and the Huffington Post.

“Internet and technology has become an integral part of politics, and it is a great way for Sen. Clinton to have a conversation with people,” Daou, the campaign’s Internet director, told CBSNews.com. “It is a wonderful democratic medium that allows people to connect with each other and with the campaign.”

The Hillary for President blog is still getting up and running, pending the end of a contest to “write the very first guest post.” According to Daou, thousands of submissions have been received.

Nobody can know for sure how serious Clinton really is about conversation, but according to Wikipedia during her 1999/2000 US Senate campaign she did just that (emphasis mine):

While Clinton had a solid base of support in New York City, candidates and observers expected the race to be decided in upstate New York where 45 percent of the state’s voters live. During the campaign, Clinton vowed to improve the economic picture in upstate New York, promising that her plan would deliver 200,000 New York jobs over six years. Her plan included specific tax credits with the purpose of rewarding job creation and encouraging business investment, especially in the high-tech sector. She called for targeted personal tax cuts for college tuition and long-term care. Clinton began her campaign by visiting every county in the state, in a “listening tour” of small-group settings. During the race, she spent considerable time in traditionally Republican upstate regions.

Listening. What can I say…

Via Blog the Campaign in 08: Hillary Clinton Asks, Yahoo Answers: It’s Healthcare, Stupid

Election 2008: What’s the winning technology stack?

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Tim O’Brien has a great post: 2008 Presidential Technology Race: Urchin, Online Video, Linux, Apache

Linux and Apache are Presidential Material

The first thing to notice is that a majority of the field is using Open Source - Linux and Apache are presidential technologies. It’s also interesting that the agreed upon front-runners are both using ASP.NET, what does that say about the relative cost of implementing ASP.NET (both McCain and Clinton are ahead in fundraising, but you wouldn’t necessarily say that the Brownback campaign is flush with funds). Obama wins the award for Web 2.0 simplicity, Edwards wins the prize for compelling design and innovation, and Vilsack and Kucinich are tied for the least polish. I was surprised, I wouldn’t have thought that Biden was a Zope kind of guy, but I also wouldn’t have guessed that the most conservative candidate to date (Romney) would be running a J2EE site. I didn’t get a sense of excitement from the Dodd, Biden, or Brownback sites even though they all appear to be professionally designed.

One thing that’s missing from the study is the degree of RSSification of the various sites: blogs posts, comments, events, events in my zip code, videos, podcasts, press releases etc. — My guess is more people will want to subscribe to those over the coming 22 or so months.

Anyway, we can expect lots of good things come out of this election cycle.

Bill Richardson is running for President

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Who is Bill Richardson?

William Blaine “Bill” Richardson (born November 15, 1947) is an American politician, a member of the Democratic Party, and a 2008 candidate for President of the United States. He has served as a Congressman, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and U.S. Secretary of Energy; he is presently the Governor of New Mexico. He was also chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention that nominated John Kerry for the presidency.

Richardson announced today

… the formation of a Presidential campaign exploratory committee, with the clear intention of seeking the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.

While his official campaign site does have a Blog section, it is one that doesn’t let you subscribe to any RSS feeds.  Note also, that the announcement itself seems to not have been worth a blog entry.  On the other hand, folks are being offered to “Join our grassroots campaign online and connect with supporters in your neighborhood and across the country.” (the Richardson campaign is present on MySpace, PartyBuilder, Facebook, YouTube, Zanby, and Flickr).

Who will be the first presidential candidate to link to the competition?

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

I know it’s still way early, but so far I can’t make out any signs of cross-campaign linking (not among the Democratic contenders, at least).

To me, this is such an obvious thing to do for any 2007 campaign that’s serious about dialogue, conversation, and social media. As a candidate, what you should be saying is:

“Look, here’s me, I’m a candidate. Hopefully, I’ll be your candidate. I’m willing and able to run for office, and here’s what qualifies me. As much as I can, I will provide you, the voter, with the information and the tools you need to find out about me and where I stand on the issues. As a courtesy, I will consistently provide you with links to the other candidates, as I would like you to learn about them and their ideas as well. In fact, I would like to urge you, the citizen, to follow all the campaigns and all the candidates and make up your own mind about who you think is best suited for the job and deserves your vote.”

Oh well…

Hilary Clinton: “I’m in” — Enters race for 2008 White House with call for “national conversation”

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Read the announcement on her website (emphasis mine):

I’m in. And I’m in to win.

Today I am announcing that I will form an exploratory committee to run for president.

And I want you to join me not just for the campaign but for a conversation about the future of our country — about the bold but practical changes we need to overcome six years of Bush administration failures.

I am going to take this conversation directly to the people of America, and I’m starting by inviting all of you to join me in a series of web chats over the next few days.

The stakes will be high when America chooses a new president in 2008.

As a senator, I will spend two years doing everything in my power to limit the damage George W. Bush can do. But only a new president will be able to undo Bush’s mistakes and restore our hope and optimism.

Only a new president can renew the promise of America — the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day.

And only a new president can regain America’s position as a respected leader in the world.

I believe that change is coming November 4, 2008. And I am forming my exploratory committee because I believe that together we can bring the leadership that this country needs. I’m going to start this campaign with a national conversation about how we can work to get our country back on track.

This is a big election with some very big questions. How do we bring the war in Iraq to the right end? How can we make sure every American has access to adequate health care? How will we ensure our children inherit a clean environment and energy independence? How can we reduce the deficits that threaten Social Security and Medicare?

No matter where you live, no matter what your political views, I want you to be a part of this important conversation right at the start. So to begin, I’m going to spend the next several days answering your questions in a series of live video web discussions. Starting Monday, January 22, at 7 p.m. EST for three nights in a row, I’ll sit down to answer your questions about how we can work together for a better future. And you can participate live at my website. Sign up to join the conversation here.

[...]

I need you to be a part of this campaign, and I hope you’ll start by joining me in this national conversation.

As we campaign to win the White House, we will make history and remake our future. We can only break barriers if we dare to confront them, and if we have the determined and committed support of others.

This campaign is our moment, our chance to stand up for the principles and values that we cherish; to bring new ideas, energy, and leadership to a uniquely challenging time. It’s our chance to say “we can” and “we will.”

Let’s go to work. America’s future is calling us.

Conversation is almost always a good thing. The question is, do we have the right tools in place yet that will enable us to really scale to the national level? Is social media ready to take on this challenge?

While Clinton’s blog is not up and running yet, she’s adding a nice twist to it by crowdsourcing the first entry (emphasis mine):

Soon we’ll launch the official blog of HillaryClinton.com, a crucial part of our exciting national conversation about the direction of our country and the place to go to learn more about Hillary.

We know our readers are going to have a lot to say, so we want to give you the first word.

We’re looking for your ideas on how we can work together for change. If you’d like to write the very first guest post on the HillaryClinton.com blog, submit your entry in the form below. And if you already have your own blog or other website, please post your entry there and let us know about it. We’ll select one entry as the first guest post on our blog.

Here’s my transcript of her video announcement (again, emphasis mine):

I announced today that I’m forming a presidential exploratory committee. I’m not just starting a campaign, though, I’m beginning a conversation — with you, with America.

Because we all need to be part of the discussion if we’re all going to be part of the solution. And all of us have to be part of the solution.

Let’s talk about how to bring the right end to the war in Iraq and to restore respect for America around the world. How to make us energy-independent and free of foreign oil. How to end the deficits that threaten social security and medicare. And let’s definitely talk about how every American can have quality, affordable healthcare.

You know, after six years of George Bush, it is time to renew the promise of America. Our basic bargain that no matter who you are of where you live, if you work hard and play by the rules you can build a good life for yourself and your family.

I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America and we believed in that promise. I still do. I’ve spent my entire life trying to make good on it. Whether it was fighting for women’s basic rights or children’s basic healthcare, protecting our social security or protecting our soldiers. It’s a kind of basic bargain, and we’ve got to keep up our end.

So let’s talk, let’s chat. Let’s start a dialogue about your ideas and mine. Because the conversation in Washington has been just a little one-sided lately, don’t you think? And we can all see how well that works.

And while I can’t visit everyone’s living room, I can try. And with a little help from modern technology I’ll be holding live online video chats this week starting Monday.

So let the conversation begin! I have a feeling it’s going to be very interesting.

It will be interesting indeed to watch just how the Clinton campaign (as well as the other contenders) will use the web for rolling out and managing that conversation and what listening skills they will show.

Because dialogue is all about listening.

Via Blog the Campaign in 08: Hillary is in….and with a blog writing competition!

Wikileaks

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Another large-scale wiki project:

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. Many governments would benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information. Historically that information has been costly - in terms of human life and human rights. Wikileaks will facilitate safety in the ethical leaking movement.

Wikileaks opens leaked documents up to a much more exacting scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency could provide. Wikileaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability. They will be able to interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document comes from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident community can freely scrutinize and discuss it; if a document arrives from Iran, the entire Farsi community can analyze it and put it in context.

Who is behind Wikileaks?

Wikileaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.

There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project and counting.

Via SmartMobs: Freedom of Information, the Wiki Way

Who is Chris Dodd?

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Chris Dodd is a Democratic US Senator from Connecticut. As of today, he’s running for president.

Is there social media? Yes, there is:

Here’s a full-length quote from the initial blog post:

Never before has there been a presidential campaign with so many candidates attempting to recruit and mobilize supporters from within the netroots. Almost all will have blogs looking for their own niche in a crowded field. Some will focus on the wonkish policy details, some will encourage suggestions while providing opportunities for meaningful participation, and some will copy and paste favorable news articles into the body of posts and call it day.

We’ll do all of those things here too.

But at its best, we will provide the kind of “window” into a presidential campaign never seen before while serving as a robust vehicle for two-way communication between Senator Dodd, the campaign, supporters, undecideds and even critics.

That means lots of video — especially the kind of stuff you won’t catch in 30 second clips on the nightly news. It means lots of voices — starting with our internet team, but it also means you will hear directly from Senator Dodd, campaign staff, interns, volunteers, supporters, and again, critics from across the country.

Ultimately, our goals for the campaign blog rely heavily on citizen participation. Of course, comment on the site and upload your photos to the Flickr Group. But we encourage everyone to step outside the box and into the (You)Tubes to add video … both as “reporters” from events nationwide, and also as part of the ongoing “start the conversation” program with Senator Dodd.

That said, take a moment to add the blog’s RSS Feed to your Reader. We look forward to having you check back in and participate often.

Tim Cullen

P.S.: We’ll turn on comments for the blog later today. We promise!

Did I say the 2008 race will be interesting? Oh yeah, baby!

Obama ‘12

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Has Barack Obama announced his 2008 candidacy for president yet? You gotta admit, he comes across as a very positive, down-to-earth guy in TV interviews.

Don’t know what his chances are in 2008, but maybe a run in 2012? He would be 51 by then.

Btw, while he seems to have a Facebook profile (as of now, there are 2252 “wall posts”, or personal comments by other Facebook users), I can’t find a blog on his campaign website yet.

Anyway, the 2008 race will be fun to watch in many ways, especially with the use of social media and all.

Phil Nobel on online politics in Europe

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Nicole just did a nice pre-conference interview with Phil Noble, founder of Politics Online. He has some pretty interesting things to say about citizens, politics, and the internet in Europe and elsewhere:

Nicole: When you look at Europe (and from your experience), what is most astonishing to you that politicians don’t do because it would be so easy to do today. What would you give as advice to somebody who wants to use the internet today?

Phil: Well, it’s really not too surprising to me that the politicians haven’t adopted the internet as aggressively as they could have. What has surprised me is that there hasn’t been more independent citizen organizations, more independent online organizations.

And again, I think that goes back to the political culture and tradition. In this country, politics is very entrepreneurial in the sense that if I decide I wanna run for governor of South Carolina I walked out my front door, call five reporters and say “I’m running for governor of South Carolina.” And if I can raise enough money and run an effective campaign, I win! And I don’t even have to — you know, other than paying my $5,000 to put my name on the ballot — I don’t even have to talk to the Democratic party establishment. And so we are very entrepreneurial.

And France and Europe in general you’re much more bureaucratic, your party structure is much more rigid. And what surprises me is that there’re not more online organizations and structures and campaigns created by individuals totally outside of that party structure. That’s what surprises me most about Europe.

Nicole: Loïc said he could imagine that for the next European election there might actually be a party of bloggers or internet-savvy people who could run as a party and try to change things. And the more I look at how Europe is structured or the European government is structured, I actually believe there could be a chance for it.

For the moment, I think most people don’t really see European government as something which is important (the national elections are much more important than that). But more and more, Europe is taking over, you have government decisions from Europe which have to be transported into national law and everything.

So it would actually be a good idea to have somebody running as independent and writing in English about what’s happening in the European Union itself to get more information, to get more unbiased information as well. But so far, I don’t see that coming.

Phil: I think that’s right. I used to do some work for the party of European Socialists in the European Parliament back in the late ’90s. And it has been something that has surprised me as to why some of the European parties have not moved aggressively to use the internet to really reach out to individual citizens.

And again, I think it goes back to the European tradition. The party of European Socialists or the EPP, or whatever, all these things, they are a creation of national parties. And so, you know, they are most concerned about being responsive to and trying to be directed by the parties — but not the individuals, not individual citizens.

And so I think that’s what’s really missing is that we haven’t had in Europe political organizations that have been interested in bypassing their party structures and empowering and linking and creating a real citizen movement. And I think it could happen. I think it’s more likely to happen on the extremes, you know, some of the, um, on the far right or the far left — I think they are more likely to use it effectively in the short term.

Although I must admit, for example, David Cameron in the UK: I’m very impressed with what he’s trying to do online. You know, I think in Germany, what Angela Merkel… I think she shows that she has some understanding of it, you know. And I think obviously the most intersting one right now is Ségolène Royal. I mean, what is she gonna do with it? I think she has the potential to be a real breakthrough in Europe because she has used her blog and internet in a way that nobody else has. And I think she may be the first real online European politician.

Citizen-centric politics? Citzen-centric parties, even? Smart use of online tools? Empowering citizens? Sounds like a recipe for success for whomever wants to get in (or stay in) the game.

I’ve been on the Politics Online newsletter for almost a decade now (Electofix, one little project of mine, even scored a mention as HotSite of the week last August). If things work out as planned, I hope to get to go to Washington D.C. next March for the Politics Online Conference 2007 (Upcoming).