As more and more Americans purchase cell phones, more and more data is showing how core human behaviors are changing as a result of this invention. This infographic covers how phones are affecting our sleep.
We were thrilled to be a part of the Google Hangout yesterday with the folks at #VoteEverywhere talking with their Student Ambassadors about technology and civic engagement.
VoteEverywhere is an initiative of the Andrew Goodman Foundation to empower young adult voters to amplify their voices with the help of friends. Translation: get young voters to work together so that the sum total of their collective voice is stronger. They have recruited College Ambassadors around the country to be their foot soldiers and have hosted Google Hangouts as part of the training for these future leaders.
By Sam Pauken
Last Wednesday, Twitter released a new feature on their website – the Twitter Political Index. According to Buzzfeed, by analyzing 400 million tweets from 140 million active users, they are able to provide a daily assessment of how the Twitterverse feels about President Obama and Candidate Romney.
In coordination with the parties’ polling companies The Mellman Group and North Star Opinion Research, this looks like the most serious effort to gauge voter sentiment via analysis of data on social networks this election cycle.
This week both the Romney and Obama campaigns released new apps into the iOS app store. We’ve spent some time with both apps and here is our review:
By Matt Hill
Political campaigning has incorporated a new form of outreach to potential constituents – mobile technology. With the rise of mobile applications and global positioning systems (GPS’s), President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney will attempt to attract voters as well as encourage them to vote on election day through their location aware mobile devices.
In 2008, the Obama campaign excelled in utilizing technology in order to connect with young voters. For example, he announced his Vice Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, via text message to those who had signed up on his website to receive mobile alerts. Obama supporters were “in the know” before even the mainstream media had been informed. By doing this, the Obama campaign told its supporters how much it values the relationship and the importance of keeping in touch.
Leveraging the handheld devices of Americans is one of the holy grails of political campaigns. The ever hard to reach 18-29 demographic is more mobile than anyone else. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns realize this as they accelerate their bids for President in 2012. Although there are a number of restrictions on how campaigns can send text messages to mobile devices, in general, American voters can expect their cell phones to be targeted by political campaigns this year.
So how exactly will mobile devices and new technologies alter the political campaign landscape?
First, candidates will be able to send text messages outlining their positions on issues as well as encouraging their supporters to vote. However, campaign media specialists have yet to discover the best way to appeal to Americans using only a 160-word SMS (Short Message Service). During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s run for the Democrat nomination in 2008, chief media strategists bluntly texted voters, “Hello, will you please vote for me?” This failed approach has evolved into much more subtle and emotionally laced pleas. During the 2012 Republican Primary, Newt Gingrich’s campaign used a combination of conservative themed-ads and attacks on President Obama in hopes of gaining popular support in Alabama.
Secondly, access to personal cellular devices gives campaigns yet another platform to ask for donations and sell merchandise. With their Smartphone, constituents and fundraisers can now easily pay or collect money, using devices like Square. Downloading ringtones, such as this Presidential song, http://www.barackobama.com/ringtone remains a popular way for the public to show their support for their favorite brands or teams, which in this case are the campaigns themselves.
by Ian Rosoff
I don’t know what the numbers are on the raw tonnage of data the various government agencies generate every year, but it’s so large and complicated that finding anything across the myriad of .gov sites available for perusal is a daunting task. So the White House’s new Digital Government initiative is a promising idea. Basically the plan is to consolidate the information created by the government and make it more accessible to developers and ordinary constituents. This reform is sorely needed. For example, there is a .gov for Marine Corps, Marine Mammal Commission, and Maritime Administration and that’s just the start of the marine based sites. The Digital Government initiative is an important step not only in simplifying the government’s online presence, but also in stimulating economic growth.
By Lou Aronson
Americans Elect did not fail. The group and its followers launched themselves headlong into the rapidly changing intersection of politics, democracy and technology. Although they fell short of the goal of fielding a candidate in 2012 AE demonstrated some of the potential of how technology can reshape little “d”emocracy.
I recently left the full time practice of law and started Votifi, a technology start-up focused on the political space. I have closely followed a number of new ventures seeking to disrupt the way politics as usual is done in the United States. I have been fortunate to meet and learn about companies like PopVox, ElectNext, Ruck.Us, TurboVote and PolicyMic to name a few. It’s been a fascinating journey.
We came across AE early in its evolution as it attempted to launch a political movement by using the Internet to develop a centrist platform and crowd source the identification of a viable candidate for president. While I am no strong advocate of third party politics, I believe AE is onto something.
Yet when AE announced it was abandoning its nomination process because it was unable to attract enough support for any single candidate, pundits wailed that AE’s failure is yet another sign of the broader, irreparable dysfunction of the American political system.
Their analysis misses the point. Sure, it might be too soon or too difficult to really make a viable third party thrive in the American political system. But I think AE’s real legacy is much more than just testing one theory.
Lets start by saying twitter is not changing politics. Technology is changing politics and twitter is a glowing example of the trend. But the important thing for all of to pay attention to is we need to not just text but also listen.
Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post noted this week that for the political animal twitter is an essential element of the political bloodstream. And, although we aren’t “science” folks (we love data) we might propose the term that “twitter is the plasma” of the political information flow right now. With technology moving forward at a more rapid pace it enables the most mobile of society to stay connected in ways never before contemplated by politicians, their strategists and communications people. Who we ask is connecting? Almost everyone, but not always through the same channels and increasingly as highlighted by NPR this week it has become harder to listen.
In calendar year 2011 there were 1.1 million Apps available in various markets which accounted for 18 million downloads. People are engaging in mobile in unprecedented ways. We are all watching as the battle heats up between Android (google) and I/OS (Apple) one can only wonder what will transpire with Blackberry and Microsoft still needing to impact these markets. When you combine these mobile trends with the accelerated proliferation of tablets it is clear that the revolution will not be televised but odds are it will be broadcast through a mobile device.
Joel Kotkin noted recently in the Wall Street Journal that nearly four million people have left California in the past two decades…4.0 million in 2 decades with most of those are between 34- 45. That’s the effect of tax and economic policy resulting in negative population growth. With all these departures one has to ask the following questions ? When these folks move are they taking their mobile phones with them ? When they get to where they are going: Colorado, Oregon and Texas are they getting Land-lines in their new homes? And, to make life more efficient how many of these parent age people are adopting smartphones and tablets. The people at the Sunlight Foundation are trying to get their arms around this trend with their new app called Upwardly Mobile.
When Bob Dylan said “the times they are a changing” I don’t quite think he had this in mind. When you read the news its good to read a bunch of content from a bunch of sources and piece together the story. Find the thread running throughout the news. And one thing that strikes us today is that folks are moving and they want to be heard. We have voices and we want to use them. I wonder though how can the politicians listen when their getting blasted in the ear by a fire hose that they don’t always know who is pointing it
We know this, connections consist of two channels and its time to start listening and not just tweeting because the heard is starting to run.
We’ve been thinking about getting on Tumblr for a while but as usual with startups there are always more things to do then there are hours in the day. We had a chance to meet the folks from Tumblr at CampaignTech last week in Washington DC and convinced ourselves that it was now or never.
We’re looking forward to working on politics and social media with Tumblr. Here’s to the future of micro-blogging :)
Lou is speaking on a panel tonight at Georgetown University on democracy and technology in the 2012 election. The event is hosted by the Program on Communication, Culture and Technology. We’re very psyched to be sharing a panel with our friends from Ruck.us and Americans Elect.
You can watch the live stream down below and you can follow the event on Twitter at #2012tech
And if you havent registered as yet for Votifi, please do here…www.votifi.com