Political Technology

So much for the TV networks, the Presidentials are announcing online

First Obama, now Hilary. They both launched their presidential campaigns via online videos.

Obama, it much be noted, pushed the envelope the farthest, and first – he launched his video announcement right into the fray of YouTube. But Hilary has now come out with her version on her website – and she’s going to push the edge further this Monday with live video chats.

People thought the 2006 elections were going to be known as the YouTube elections. You ain’t seen nothing yet. The 2008 cycle has just begun and the innovation is just starting.

Hang on for this ride. And keep up with our ongoing series: “Re-imagining Video.”

Peter Leyden

Latest Pew study shows 60 million Americans using the Internet for politics

The latest report of the Pew Internet and American Life Project came out and shows the inexorable shift of voters towards using the web to engage politics. The news was in most newspapers today and the highlights can be seen bouncing around the web.  The San Francisco Chronicle’s article highlighted the New Politics Institute’s take at the top of the piece and the bottom. I include the top:

Sen. Barack Obama updated the world on his presidential aspirations this week by posting a video to his new Web site, where the online response to the Illinois Democrat has been "overwhelming," aides said Wednesday.

The move was strategic, as well as a means to reach Web-savvy supporters. Not only could campaign handlers tightly control Obama's image better in the three-minute video, they also could pad their online address book of supporters with those who visited the site.

It all made for a fine illustration of how new media tools are reshaping politics by disseminating information and involving citizens in campaigns quickly and efficiently.

 "If he had called a press conference in Washington to say he was announcing an exploratory committee, he might have been seen for a few seconds on the evening news," said Peter Leyden, director of the New Politics Institute, a San Francisco think tank at the forefront of incorporating new media into politics.

 By releasing it online, Leyden said, viewers could pass the video around, "and people could have it come at them from all different directions. Plus, the mainstream media reported on it.

 "You're going to see a lot more of this in 2008," Leyden said. "Candidates aren't going to be buying as much advertising time on broadcast television. "

For more on the story, including how we wrap up the analysis, see the actual story itself. Or if you want all the data, go to the Pew website.

Peter Leyden

Stem Cell Innovation in NY

In NDN's Agenda for Hope and Progress, we urge our leaders to "invest in and encourage the extraordinary promise of the knowledge revolution in science and medical care."

Now, a good friend, Gov. Eliot Spitzer is stepping up and fighting NY's legendary legislative inertia in the effort to make NY a leader in the important field of stem cell research.  Read more, and note the emphasis on a post-ideological, new politics that meets the governing challenges of our time. 

In his first address to the Legislature, Gov. Eliot Spitzer called this month for passage of a $2 billion 10-year bond initiative for research and development, at least half of which would be set aside to pay for stem cell research. And the project is being tailored as an economic development effort in the hopes of attracting support from upstate Republican lawmakers.

New Media News and Trends to Watch Part II

Steve Job's Apple Mac World keynote just ended.

In a quick update from the last posting on new media news this week...

In what may take the wind out of almost any other announcements from CES this week... Apple just made two major product announcements, both important, and both illustrating the trends I mentioned in the previous posting...

The first announcement was that after selling over a2 billion tracks of music, 50 million TV shows and over 1.3 million movies, that they were now selling a new product dubbed AppleTV that promises to seemlessly link the iTunes content to your living room. It was an impressive demo and the Apple TV orders are open now for the product shipping in February.

Next came the hoped for announcement of a new Apple phone, named the iPhone.

The expectations for this were sky high and Jobs seemed to delivery an amazing looking product.

All flat screen with only one physical button, this product was in development for over 2 years, and uses a new touch screen interface called "multi-touch" that Steve claims is as revolutionary for phones as the mouse was for desktop computing or click wheel was for the iPod.

It touts an extremely high res screen, is sthinner than any current Smartphone on the market (beating out the Motorolla Q or Samsung Blackjack) ... It is a full featured 8 GB iPod music player, including widescreen video playback... RSS Video Podcasts just found a new mobile home... In addition to supporting Cingular's standard phone networks, it also supports a full WiFI hot spot connectivity and Bluetooth...

And it what looks like the most advanced web and email functionality yet shipped on mobile devices, with email support as robust as the Blackberry, along with messaging from SMS messaging and internet enabled Widgets or small applications for things such as stocks, weather, etc... And it is a camera phone with a 2 Megapixel camera built in.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, it claims to be a superior phone as well, enabling one touch dialing, contact management, and simple conference call support. It support a wired phone headset and music earbuds, and an amazingly small looking bluetooth wireless earpiece. And it claims a much better and easier "visual voicemail."

It also has sensors that detect if you are viewing it in "portrait" or "landscape" mode and automatically redraw the screen appropriate to which direction you are holding the device.

A Flash animated tour of the iPhone is now up here...

This will be available this summer from Cingular and Apple stores. The iPhone was announced this early as the FCC approval was about to start and Apple wanted to be the first to announce it rather than have details leak from the FCC website.

Jobs announce an early target was to sell 10 million iPhones.

Both products, but especially the iPhone look to be "game changing" devices for how media including political media -- is distributed and consumed...

New Media News and Trends to Watch

UPDATE More announcments:

Apple announces the final details on ITV, Renamed Apple TV, and looks like a great product. 

And, this is huge: the  Apple iPHONE debut.

Both very likely "game changing" products. And both illustrate the trends below:


With this week being a convergence of both the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas and the latest MacWorld developers conference, there is a ton of news relating to new media this week.

Travis sent me on this article that is a good overview of the mobile news and the rumors of both these shows in general. Check it out.

I'd like to highlight a few specific CES announcements that point to trends which I think are important for political practitioners trying to make sense of the evolving post-broadcast media space.

First is the trend of "Internet media continuing to advance to the living room." See Bill Gates announcement of Internet TV and Media Downloads to the 10+ million Xbox 360's that are already in consumers hands -- and to all future Xboxes...

...and also see the details on the likely Apple announcements about their new ITV paltform linking Itunes Music and Video services to the home living room...many companies - including Microsoft - have failed at the PC to TV link before. Expectations are high that as they did with the iPod, this could be the new product that Apple gets right where so many others almost did.

...and on a more minor key but still worth note: Sony announced that their new Bravia TV's would allow users to directly browse internet video services, including user generated content from the video service Grouper, that they bought late last year...

Next is the trend of "Web Search morphing to the mobile space." See Yahoo's announcement about Yahoo Go! Service and thier bundling deals with major phone manufacturers. NPI has highlighted the key value of using search effectively for political use. As Search moves into the mobile space, that value gets amped up even further.

Lastly for today, there is the trend of "Mobile Media evolving and maturing." For this see the announcement that Qualcom, Verizon and MediaFlo will launch about 8 to 10 channels of live streaming TV to mobile phones this quarter in the US, this should broaden to be about 20 channels by end of 2007. Launch parters are announced as CBS, Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, NBC, and Nikelodeon. I can personally vouch that the quality level of this service is amazing.

(And it's hard to miss the rumors of a likely upcoming Apple Phone)

Mobile Campaign to Help Push the First 100 Hour Agenda

Working Assets just launched a service to help push the new Democratic agenda for the first 100 hours of the new Congress… This is worth trying.

From their site:

“We’ll text you during the first 100 legislative hours (which could be four weeks or longer) when there’s an urgent vote on an issue where your participation — with a simple phone call to your representative — can make a difference.”

Check it out… you can just text JOIN to 30644...

MySpace Launches on Cingular

At the last NPI event, I mentioned a number of trends in the private sphere relating to mobile that I saw as being of key importance for the political arena as well...

One key trend was the merging of social networks and the mobile space, and I mentioned that it was likley that we'd see a number of significant announcements as this trend accelerates.

Well, today was a big announcement: Cinglular announced Myspace integration to their service. From their joint press release:

"MySpace.com, the world's leading lifestyle portal, and Cingular Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, today announced an exclusive partnership to offer enhanced MySpace functionality to all Cingular customers via their mobile phones. The landmark deal marks MySpace's largest-scale mobile partnership and gives Cingular's customers exclusive access to MySpace Mobile's rich tool set including the ability to edit MySpace profiles, view and add friends, post photos and blogs, send and receive MySpace messages, and much more -- all from the mobile phone."

Later the CEO of Myspace says: "Not only are we excited about the ability for customers to stay connected to their MySpace community while they are on the go, we think this will open up a new world of interaction and content for them to share via MySpace. The photo upload feature of MySpace Mobile means Cingular customers will now have the ability to capture, record and share their world as it happens via their MySpace profile, creating a more enriching experience for our customers as well as their MySpace friends."

The new service will be an additional $2.99 a month, and t will initially be available to over 30 phones, with 20 more coming shortly after.

A big announcement, and it won't be the last of it's type.

Word of mouth, Social networking, Personal Media and Mobile will be increasingly intertwined as this space evolves at a breakneck pace... co-incidentally doing so as we move toward the next election.

Vilsack uses the internet to listen

A large focus of Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's interactive campaign website is his online listening tour. As a push to meet new supporters and listen to their comments, the tour features profiles of Gov. Vilsack on popular sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Party Builder, and on blogs like DailyKos and MyDD. You can "join the tour" by clicking here.

Gov. Vilsack introduces this "conversation" he hopes to have with folks across the nation via video blog, which will be his way of answering questions people leave on his site. (Check out his introductory video blog on his YouTube page here.)

Tony Snow has a blog

Assiduous readers of NDN's blog might have noticed that i'm not posting as much anymore. This is because i've sadly taken myleave of Simon and the gang, and returned to my native United Kingdom. But fans of my poor spelling and curious use of extra vowels should not fear. I still intend to post from time to time, on topics of interest to the ongoing Globalization Initiative, and other things.

Today, i thought people in DC might be interested in this handy Christmas present, from the British online political community to our friends in America. Developed on a whim by some of the people at MySociety.org - the group responsible for turning the UK parliamentary record into a blog - it is a useable blog-style version of Tony Snow's daily briefing.

The White House Says should be pretty useful for anyone who wants to keep up to date with whatever ludicrous excuse for failure the Presidents official spokesman might be putting out today. It also allows you to sign up for e-mail alerts when Snow says anything, or to search for anything he has said - as for instance, this, on the phrase "stay the course." All in all, The Whitehouse Says should be a useful little free tool for DC politicos. Happy Christmas, from your friends across the pond.

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