NDN Blog

"This is a Development for Democracy..."

Hat tip to Simon for pointing this my way... It's a great article in the Post describing political protest and activism in the Philippines using mobile text messaging... It is a facinating case study, as the Philippines mobile network is much more advanced than their land line Internet. The entire article is amazing, but here are some snippets...

"Cellphones and text messaging are changing the way political mobilizations are conducted around the world. From Manila to Riyadh and Kathmandu protests once publicized on coffeehouse bulletin boards are now organized entirely through text-messaging networks that can reach vast numbers of people in a matter of minutes.

The technology is also changing the organization and dynamics of protests, allowing leaders to control, virtually minute-by-minute, the movements of demonstrators, like military generals in the field. Using texts that communicate orders instantly, organizers can call for advances or retreats of waves of protesters.

This tool has changed the balance of political power in places where governments have a history of outmuscling dissent....

Every major Philippine political party and nonprofit group has a database of its supporters' cellphone numbers. Many use computers to automatically generate mass text mailings to those phones with news about issues or rallies or upcoming votes....

"Before, we had no choice but to keep quiet and listen to the president," Palatino said, still holding his tiny phone. 'This is a development for democracy.'"

Going "Where the Audience Is"

Keeping the theme of "bottom up video" as a rising trend, old friends of mine announced a deal today for Sony Pictures Entertaiment to purchase the social video service Grouper for 65 million dollars. I suspect we will continue to see the line between traditional media companies and online user created media continue to blur. Here is bit from the press release:

"Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has acquired Grouper, the fast-growing user-generated video site on the Internet, it was announced today by Michael Lynton, SPE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer...Consumers are spending more and more time on sites like Grouper, and as one of the world's largest creators of entertainment, we want to be where the audiences are," said Lynton." In another story he compared social video sites this way: "I think user-generated content and the sites around (them) are businesses or platforms unto themselves in the same way that television networks (are)," Lynton said.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Adds SMS Messaging to his Re-election Campaign

Somewhat quietly, Arnold has added SMS outreach to his campaing site. You can find it here, and you can see that they have added “ringtones” as a download from their site as well, although that is “coming soon.”

I believe this is the first use of SMS in a gubernatorial race in the US. More details on the offering as it surfaces…

- Tim

NY Times Uses “Cheaper, More Effective Online Tools” to Reach out for New Subscribers

An interesting quote from editor and publisher magazine. It describes the private sector coming to terms with the idea that online can offer a great deal more efficiency than direct mail in reaching out to potential subscribers. Love to see any good studies exist to compare the use of "cheaper, more effective online tools" vs direct-mail to the political sphere...if you know of any post them in the comments here....

"Like print, direct-mail is quickly becoming very retro. Even the New York Times has found recently that it is actually much more effective to sell print subscriptions by using online behavioral analysis to target likely subscribers.

The Times' marketing department recently teamed with behavioral marketing company Tacoda to collect and analyze data about the online behavior of NYTimes.com readers, which then determined which kinds of readers (by interest and geography) were most likely to subscribe to the print edition. Using cookies, the Times determined the rate of subscription conversion across all the sections of the paper as well as 350 different content categories, and cross-referenced the findings with geographic data found in the user's IP address. The paper then could market directly to those people with the highest likelihood of converting (through ads targeted to them specifically). The result, according to Tacoda's Sales Strategy VP Greg Rogers, was a vastly reduced cost-per-acquisition for the paper, and more subscriptions.

In 2006 you can't rescue floundering print products by relying on more print. To prop up and reestablish offline publications you need to work with cheaper, more effective online tools and use your Web presence to highlight your brand to a worldwide audience, some part of whom might be interested enough in your content to buy a print subscription." (cross posted at mobiledemocracy blog)

Senator Allen and YouTube

(Cross posted at MobileDemocracy blog)

From today’s Rolling Stone poltics blog on Senator Allen, YouTube, and politics. Imagine how this effect will be amplified now that over 40% of mobile phones sales are cameraphones. And how that services like YouTube allow for direct uploading of video from your mobile phone to your YouTube account….

Here is an excerpt:

“There’s a paradigm shift under way and politicians like Allen, and to a lesser extent Joe Lieberman and Barbara Boxer, are learning it the hard way. The barriers to video broadcast are now gone. So an opposing campaign no longer has to rely on a local news station or CNN or CSPAN to run video of a gaffe. Any dolt with a handicam now can capture the unscripted reality of a candidate and disseminate it worldwide.

If it generates enough buzz in the blogosphere, the cable networks will even pick it up, as happened almost immediately with Allen’s monkeyboy dig.

What does this YouTube revolution mean for politics? It’s far too early to tell. One might hope that the omipresence of handicam reporters would mean that all of the artifice of advance teams and printed backdrops and hand-picked crowds of supporters only will be erroded. Unlike the professionals at CNN who play along and film the fakeness because it makes for pretty TV, the YouTubers out there are dedicated to exposing such artifice as an embarassment. And embarassing it is.”

Telephia Study: 34.6 Million Users Browsed Web on Mobile Phones in June 2006

As cross posted in a tech blog I run called mobile democracy, new data is out today from research company Telephia shows that today, over 81% of Internet users have phones capable of browsing the web using the latest Web mobile standards . And that currently about 34.6 million users browsed the web in June using mobile phones.

Read their press release from Telephia research here, but some here are some highlights…

The most popular sites browsed over phones are as you might expect (weather, mail, search and local info)…but also news with CNN being the 8th most popular mobile site seeing almost 2.8 million mobile users in June.

Top Mobile Websites for June 2006 (U.S.)

Mobile Website Unique Audience (000) Reach of Subscribers

1. Yahoo! Mail 6,531 3.0%
2. The Weather Channel
(Weather.com) 5,827 2.7%
3. ESPN 5,345 2.5%
4. Google Search 4,356 2.0%
5. MSN Hotmail 3,441 1.6%
6. MapQuest 3,067 1.4%
7. AOL Mail 2,907 1.4%
8. CNN 2,799 1.3%
9. Yahoo! Weather 2,740 1.3%
10. Yahoo! Search 2,531 1.2%
Source: Telephia Mobile Internet Report, June 2006

The release also says:

‘As xHTML-MP support becomes more widespread, mobile consumers will have greater access to richer presentation of content on their phones,’ added Brenner.”


Mobile Blogging

In another sign that world s of blogging and mobile media continue to merge, TypePad, one of the largest commercial blog hosts, just announced TypePad mobile. This is an application that runs on your mobile phone enabling an easier and quicker experience of posting blog entries, and uploading pictures directly from your mobile phone to your Typepad hosted blog.

Where a number of other blog solutions have supported web based mobile blog posting, this is one of the more advanced blogging native software applications that runs directly on your smartphone. Details and pictures over here...

-- Tim

Slate on You Tube, User Created Political Videos and the Lamont Campaign

Interesting article at Slate on the Lamont campaign and it's use and encouragement of user created videos on Youtube...

"Lamont's forces have proved one lesson of campaigns in the digital age: Content is king. Throughout the contest, the challenger's supporters produced and circulated a steady stream of videos that were witty, powerful, and in a way became the fulcrum of the campaign...

The Lamont forces have now shown the better way. (Lieberman's supporters did not seem to participate in any meaningful way in this new medium.) The Lamont videos were far more effective than tendentious blog posts, and they gave energetic supporters an outlet for their energies (a person can only pound so many yard signs). What's more, the videos offered a regular dose of entertainment to supporters who were interested but not obsessed."

Political "Web Widget" from Sunlight Labs

I really like the idea behind the "Sunlight Labs" effort:

"Sunlight Labs is a Sunlight Foundation pilot project to prototype tech ideas to improve government transparency and political influence disclosure. We also provide technical support to Sunlight Foundation sponsored projects.

Lab projects are experiments. Play with them, even add them to your website if you feel brave. We like to collaborate with others to pool resources and facilitate sharing of data and technologies. A current major focus is working with the such partners developing APIs — Application Program Interfaces — which allows one program to talk to another and share data."

I specifically like their first project a web app, politician popup web service...

"Imagine pressing one button and finding everything you need and want to know about a member of Congress, or a corporation, labor union or individual trying to influence her. Web 2.0 technologies - Web services, API's, XML, AJAX, RSS - now make that possible."

It allows any blogger or website to include a little more than one line of code to their sites and then they get an "AJAX-based widget that adds mini-profiles with links of Members of Congress to your page that appear when you mouseover [a hyperlink of their name]."

In some ways you have to see it in action to really get it. But it is a cool distriubted web service -- and the first overtly political webservice I've come accross -- and is available for anyone to use.

The Sunlight labs project page goes on in more depth on the future of this project:

"Sunlight Labs is readying various flavors of the widget for increased scalability. The basic widget can be added to a web site or blog by simply adding the Javascript and style sheet to the page's headers and then manually adding a properly formed linked to each members of congress name where a popup is desired....Other flavors include local server-side PHP code to automatically search and replace members of congress's names with the necessary links. Sunlight has built a Drupal plugin that does this for our own site, www. sunlightfoundation.com, and also built a WordPress 2.0 plugin as well. Plugins for the major blogging and CMS platforms are planned and SunlightLabs is eager to find open source developers to help accomplish this and extend the the plugin."

World Cup Performance in Web and Mobile Space

Earlier posts on this blog listed the impressive reach of the World Cup in traditional media, and they had equally impressive stats in both the Internet and mobile media space. Yahoo! and Fifacup2006.com just released their stats for this year.

Here are some of the key ones:

* 4.2 Billion Page Views

FWC.com attracted more than two billion page views in the tournament's first two weeks, topping the site's total for the entire 2002 tournament less than halfway through the competition. By the end of the final match, FWC.com's 2006 site had more than doubled the page view total from 2002.

* More than 138 Million Video Streams

2006 marks the first year that video highlights of World Cup matches have been free on the Web, and fans have taken full advantage.

* 3.5 Million Flickr Photo Pages Viewed

Via its popular photo-sharing site, Yahoo! enabled fans attending World Cup matches to tag pictures and share their experiences with friends, family members and other soccer fans from around the world.

* 73 million Page Views on FIFAworldcup.com's Mobile Web Destination

FIFAworldcup.com went mobile for the first time in 2006. Millions of fans around the world accessed FIFAworldcup.com on mobile devices to follow all the World Cup action.

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