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Community organizing 2.0: Republicans missing the boat with the participatory web

When Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani mocked Barack Obama's years as a community organizer at the recent Republican convention, they wanted to underline the Senator's supposed limitations as a real-world leader. Instead, they highlighted the Republican Party's own limitations in a world that will be crucial in determining this election's outcome: the Internet.

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Social media and the 2008 Canadian federal election: still a long way to go

The Canadian national election campaign is just under a week old, with five more weeks to go.

It's still a better reason than whether he wears a flag lapel pin

It's still a better reason than whether he wears a flag lapel pin(voter to campaign worker) Look, I'm sorry - there's just no way I can vote for a candidate who'd use Comic Sans as body type.
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Bedtime with Rob and Alex ep. 4: the long-distance episode

Okay, so Alex is in Oberlin, Ohio while Rob holds down the fort in Vancouver, BC. You think we're going to let a little thing like 3,300 kilometres of distance keep us from our just-before-sleep banter?

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Cartoon: FOAF your way to the top

(TV election coverage) And in the seventh congressional district, it's Chen defeating Tavistock, 29,547 Facebook friends to 25,804.
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Now blogging at Civic Minded

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve begun blogging at Corante’s Civic Minded blog, your guide to the political impact of the web. My inaugural post begins like this:

When I worked in a Member of Parliament’s office back in the early 1990s, our office – like those of our colleagues – was inundated with an unending stream of petitions, pre-printed form letters, faxes and actual mail. Sifting through it all took up a huge amount of time (and incurred more than a little staff resentment).

These communications varied wildly in impact. We often took the effort required by a particular medium as a rough proxy for the level of sender’s depth of feeling and commitment. A personally written letter, for instance, carried a lot more weight than a lowly mass-printed postcard, which was maybe a little more significant than a petition.

And if a tangible, paper-based petition is unlikely to soften the flinty hearts in the corridors of power, you can how much hope their electronic kin have. Point-and-click protest is so easy to do – and for that reason, just as easy to ignore in the face of so many competing demands for attention.

So my heart usually sinks whenever I receive yet another appeal to go sign yet another e-petition. With a very few exceptions (such as the petition to change Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day’s first name to “Doris” in 2000), and despite the hopes of their sponsors, they almost always wrap up without making a dent in public policy.

But now British Prime Minister Tony Blair seems interested in rescuing the lowly e-petition from irrelevance. Earlier this month, his office launched a remarkable experiment with online petitions.

You can read the rest of the post here.

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The netroots are coming to Second Life


RootsCamp - a series of gatherings for progressive Americans and members of the "netroots" to discuss and debrief on the U.S. midterm elections - won't just be happening in San Francisco, New York City, Bloomington, Washington DC and Columbus.

The first of the planned conferences won't even be happening anywhere you can find on a map.

Instead, it will kick off on Better World Island... deep in the heart of the avatar-based Second Life virtual world.

The conversation launches at 1 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, November 8, and runs through November 14. It's an unconference (wha'?), open to anyone who meets the exacting criteria:

Attendees must give a demo, a session, or help with one, or otherwise volunteer / contribute in some way to support the event. All presentations are scheduled the day they happen. Prepare in advance, but come early to get a slot on the wall. The people present at the event will select the demos or presentations they want to see.

If you're politically minded and you've been dying to learn more about the Second Life weirdness you've been hearing so much about, this is a great way to dip your toe in the virtual waters. And if you're progressive and a SL veteran with something to share about the election campain, well, you've probably already signed up.

For more info, visit the RootsCamp Second Life site. And see you there!

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Looking at the Liberal leadership web sites

2006 Political campaigns engage with social web, but fall short in building vibrant online communities

Political campaigns are supposed to be innovators when it comes to the online world; witness the breakout success of the Howard Dean campaign and the increasing significance of blogs in U.S. politics.

So whenever an election is underway, it's worth having a look at how campaigns are using the web and the power of online community – and in Canada, the big electoral news right now is the Liberal Party's leadership campaign.

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Blogging and the 2006 Canadian election

Here's a quick link for political bloggers and their followers: the CBC's blog columnist in the last election, John Bowman, recaps blogging's impact on the campaign in a Policy Options magazine article (PDF).

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

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