Political Technology

Simon Rosenberg on World Changing

World Changing is a new project launched by a committed group of activists and experts from all around the world who believe that "the motive, means and opportunity for profound positive change are already present. That another world is not just possible, it's here. We only need to put the pieces together."  One of their first interviews is with our own Simon Rosenberg, who Jonathan Greenblatt, NDN's good friend and a World Changing contributor, describes as "one of the most thoughtful voices on the political landscape, interpreting how current trends will affect politics long into the future both in the US and more broadly on a global scale."

Read the interview here.

Google, Mobile Search and 2008

One of the trends I post about here is the merging of web search and mobile media. On that note there were interesting quotes from Google CEO Eric Schmidt during an analyst conference call discussing their recent billion dollar 4th quarter results.

He was asked about Google's mobile strategy and he responded that they were thinking of how mobile search, video, and video advertising could combine...and it is interesting from a political timetable that he believes this mobile search would substantially grow in 07, and begin to make a financial impact in 2008.

Here is the quote(with emphasis being mine):

“It is clear that 2007 will be the year that mobile search query traffic grows substantially.

Our current model is to use targeted text ads and we have evidence that the monetization of those ads is higher than in non-mobile uses. So it looks like the advertising revenue on a per-search query is likely to be significantly higher on mobile than on non-mobile.

As part of that, we are investing in new categories of using mobile devices. For example, YouTube content is being used and can be viewed on mobile devices in various partnerships that we’re doing. Those are as much opportunistic for us, and they’re not really driving revenue yet; although in theory, you could imagine a combination of video, video advertising on a mobile phone that would have the best entertainment value but also very, very high monetization rates.

...It’s not material today in a financial sense, and more importantly, it’s still emerging. We are making a significant investment in technology around mobile because of the growth rate of mobile and the ultimate scale of that business. You won’t really see its financial impact until ‘08."

VA Democrats Using New Tools to Hold GOP Accountable

The Washington Post reported Friday on the innovative efforts of Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly to bring greater transparency to state government through the use of the new tool of internet video.

Upset that Republicans are killing bills without recording the vote, a Democratic operative is trolling the halls of the State Capitol with a video camera to put Republicans on the defensive.

Last year, House Republican leaders implemented new rules that allow for a bill to be killed in a subcommittee, where formal votes are not usually taken. Democrats tried and failed last week to reverse the rule.

"We saw last election how [video] can be a powerful tool, so now we are helping bring sunshine and openness to the General Assembly," said Mark Bergman, a state Democratic Party spokesman.

Click below to watch the video of the House Commerce and Labor subcommitte holding a closed-door, unrecorded vote on the minimum wage bill:

Micropayments, Political Giving, and Microsoft

I’ve long been a fan of the theory of net based “micropayments”….the idea that content providers (or political causes) could ask for much smaller fees or donations than credit card based fee systems currently could allow…often times as low as .99 cents and lower.

The space was littered with dead dotcom businesses that tried and failed to offer this service. There was an ongoing debate that these companies failed due to the idea of micropayments itself was flawed, or due to poor implementation…until iTunes proved the business model that .99 cent digital items sold in mass works, having made over 1 billion dollars selling over 1 billion songs.

As micropayments begin to slowly take hold beyond theory, I have a strong curiosity as to how micropayments can be relevant to political giving.

Well today Microsoft in Davos just announced they’d be launching a platform aimed squarely at the micropayment space… Here is an excerpt from the Dow Jones news story:

"Gates described a system that would undercut credit card fees, making it profitable for an online newspaper to charge small fees for individual articles, for example.

'If you want to charge somebody $0.10 or $1 a month, that will just be a click…you won’t have to manage some funny thing or pay some big credit charge, where half of it goes to the clearing,' Gates said."

The facebook effect on Obama

For those of you with accounts, check out this Facebook group: "One Million Strong for Barack"

From the group's page:

The goal here is simple - get one million strong in support of the Next President of the United States

There goals (and when they were reached) are as follows:

Created January 16th, 2007
100 - Same day (January 16th) Reached
1000 - (Jan 19th) Reached
10000 - (Jan 26th) Reached
100000 - (Feb 1st) Reached
1000000 - (Feb 5th)

Here's more detail of their progress so far:

100 in less than 1 hour...
1000 in just over 24 hours
10000 reached 6 days ahead of schedule
100000 - 1 week ahead of schedule

As of now, the group has 116,248 members. After 10 seconds, the group had 10 more members.

The group also advises you to "help introduce more people to Barack Obama by creating a buzz around his YouTube video," which you can see below

Because of mobilization like this, the video is now the top rated news & blog video, as well as the following stats:

#61 - Most Viewed (This Week) - News & Blogs - All
#8 - Top Rated (This Week) - All
#1 - Top Rated (This Week) - News & Blogs - All
#8 - Top Rated (This Week) - English
#1 - Top Rated (This Week) - News & Blogs - English
#68 - Top Rated (This Month) - All
#3 - Top Rated (This Month) - News & Blogs - All
#3 - Top Rated (This Month) - News & Blogs - English
#133 - Most Discussed (This Week) - All
#25 - Most Discussed (This Week) - News & Blogs - All
#122 - Most Discussed (This Month) - News & Blogs - All
#38 - Top Favorites (This Week) - All
#2 - Top Favorites (This Week) - News & Blogs - All
#35 - Top Favorites (This Week) - English
#2 - Top Favorites (This Week) - News & Blogs - English
#7 - Top Favorites (This Month) - News & Blogs - All
#7 - Top Favorites (This Month) - News & Blogs - English

This is no surprise to us, as this is the exact thing we've been discussing.

The coming acceleration of mobile media into politics

I had a conversation with a political person the other day in which she doubted whether mobile media would really have an effect on politics for a long while. She said texting just didn’t seem to have the heft to make a dent on the richer media that comes at people from other sectors, including many of the traditional ones. That’s true, for now, but it does not take into account the forward trajectory of this rapidly moving space. Consider two pieces of recent evidence:

The New York Times on Saturday has a very interesting piece on Madison Avenue-level ads already starting to appear on cell phones. With the broadband that’s coming to the phone infrastructure, some very sophisticated ads are able to move through it. Once the private sector blazes that trail, political ads won’t be far behind them. Definitely in 08.

The other piece of evidence to consider is the iPhone. I know there was a lot of buzz around this announcement a couple weeks ago, but only last night did I get to watch the web video of Apple CEO Steve Job’s keynote performance that introduced the phone and explained its many features (click on the "iPhone Introduction," not Keynote). It’s worth just watching Jobs do his demo – he’s a master that political people could study just for tips on creating suspense. But the more important point is that he demoed this phone in great detail, live, on the actual cell phone grid, and the phone’s performance was spectacular. I was really astounded at how good it was, and I have been watching this space for a while.

You can’t think of the mobile phone as a land-line-like voice device that allows you to walk around in the world. That has been the paradigm up until now. You really have to think of these as very small yet powerful computers, with almost all the capabilities of current desktops and laptops, now in your hands. That is the iPhone. It’s not a phone, but a Apple computer that fits in your hand. Oh, and it is, indeed, a phone, a super smart one at that.

So everything you see on YouTube and all the craziness of the web, and the myriad ways that is impacting politics, is also coming to phones. Like, within the year. Certainly in the 08 political cycle. The iPhone comes out in June, and like with the iPod, all the competition will follow.

That’s why this space is one that the New Politics Institute will be deeply focused on in the months ahead.

Peter Leyden

Hillary TV

Last night, Sen. Clinton (who also supports the Chicago Bears) held the first of three conversations with voters who were able to ask her questions and see her answers live. The video of the webcast is available on her website. You can also read the transcript here.

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

The Tipping Point for Web Video

“The Tipping Point” is the name of Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book that studies when social phenomena move from outsider status to mass happenings. Though Gladwell draws on all kinds of science and research, the bottom line is that these flips are unpredictable. They just kind of happen, leaving many experts scratching their heads, trying to explain why.

We appear to have crossed a tipping point in the use of web video in politics, and it happened this past week. A lot of  groundwork had been laid before now, but all the pieces seemed to come together in the space of a few days. Some of that groundwork came from pioneers in the medium who labored for a long time in obscurity. And some came from the presidential campaigns that readied themselves for their recent tech kickoffs. For whatever reasons, it’s coming together now.

The icing on the cake is the validation from the mainstream media. Many pieces and TV news segments are coming out of this, but the Washington Post did a particularly good job in giving an overview and analysis. Here’s one excerpt:   

If last year was the year of the rogue videographers, the already-underway 2008 presidential campaign is likely to be remembered as the point where Web video became central to the communications strategy of every serious presidential candidate.

Playing defense is only one use of Web video. Equally important, the candidates and their staffs see Web-based video as an inexpensive and potentially significant tool for telling their campaign story without the filters of the traditional media.

Call it the YouTube effect, and it is only growing.


Peter Leyden

Clinton, Obama and a new era of 21st century tools for politics

Be sure to check out the e-mail below from our NPI director, Peter Leyden. With so many people employing new tools (such as video) in politics lately, NPI's message has been resonating. Where we go from here is going to be interesting, for sure....


Let the New Politics begin! In the first few weeks of the nascent 2008 campaign, we've already seen innovations that are changing the game for everyone working in politics.

The New Politics Institute has been championing these changes for the last 18 months and we are well-positioned to help progressives of all stripes and all levels of politics take advantage of the new tools and new strategies, with insightful research and analysis on a broad range of topics:

Progressives are stepping into the void left by a decade of failed conservative leadership and showing great promise in offering solutions to the unique challenges of governing in the 21st century. But being right on the issues is not always enough.

In the 2008 cycle and beyond, progressives must continue to innovate and communicate our ideas in ever more compelling ways. We must adopt new tools that allow citizens to connect and contribute to our efforts in politics and government. The New Politics Institute will be there to bring the best minds in the media, tech, and political worlds together to help drive that innovation and spread the adoption of the new tools.

It’s going to be fun. Stay tuned....


Richardson gets in, also through an internet video

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson becomes the third Democratic candidate this week to announce over the internet

By contrast the one Republican to get in this week, Senator Sam Brownback, announced at a traditional event in his home state, an approach that looks increasingly very 20th century. 

The Post had an interesting piece this am looking at the Hillary video.  Walter Shapiro at Salon also as an early, thoughtful take on what is shaping up to be a very different type of Presidential campaign, one that is now looking very much like the first Presidential campaign of the 21st century.

You can also find on Richardson's site a Spanish-language version of his announcement.

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