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The Netcentric Campaign: Numbers for the Notes
  •  Obama's e-mail list contains upwards of 13 million addresses. Over the course of the campaign, aides sent more than 7,000 different messages, many of them targeted to specific donation levels (people who gave less than $200, for example, or those who gave more than $1,000). In total, more than 1 billion e-mails landed in inboxes. (Four years ago, Sen. John F. Kerry had 3 million e-addresses on his list; former Vermont governor Howard Dean had 600,000.)
  • A million people signed up for Obama's text-messaging program. On the night Obama accepted the Democratic nomination at Invesco Field in Denver, more than 30,000 phones among the crowd of 75,000 were used to text in to join the program. On Election Day, every voter who'd signed up for alerts in battleground states got at least three text messages. Supporters on average received five to 20 text messages per month, depending on where they lived -- the program was divided by states, regions, zip codes and colleges -- and what kind of messages they had opted to receive.
  • On, or MyBO, Obama's own socnet, 2 million profiles were created. In addition, 200,000 offline events were planned, about 400,000 blog posts were written and more than 35,000 volunteer groups were created -- at least 1,000 of them on Feb. 10, 2007, the day Obama announced his candidacy. Some 3 million calls were made in the final four days of the campaign using MyBO's virtual phone-banking platform. On their own MyBO fundraising pages, 70,000 people raised $30 million. The campaign even set up a grassroots finance committee that was inspired by the national finance committee's high-dollar bundlers. In the grassroots committee, though, supporters were trained to collect small-dollar donations from their friends, relatives and co-workers.
  • Obama has 5 million supporters in other socnets. He maintained a profile in more than 15 online communities, including BlackPlanet, a MySpace for African Americans, and Eons, a Facebook for baby boomers. On Facebook, where about 3.2 million signed up as his supporters, a group called Students for Barack Obama was created in July 2007. It was so effective at energizing college-age voters that senior aides made it an official part of the campaign the following spring. And Facebook users did vote: On Facebook's Election 2008 page, which listed an 800 number to call for voting problems, more than 5.4 million users clicked on an "I Voted" button to let their Facebook friends know that they made it to the polls. (Talk about online peer pressure.)

MobileActive. This is cool. Go Katrin!

Katrin is running MobileActive and doing a wonderful job. This is a really cool introduction to (I proud to have co-founded it with Katrin years ago.) Go and sign up if you are working with cell phones and campaigns. Katrin will plug you in.

This is cool.  It looks like innocentive meets reporting. I like the UI and the basic business model.  I would consider tweaking it in 5 ways.

1. Shoot for much smaller amounts. Maybe ask to create an entire paper or magazine for $20-25. You contribute an amount and then get to vote proxies all over the board. When any of your stories are "done" you get mailed the link.

2. Let the network of supporters that have already put money into the system connect with each other, reporters and influence articles.  An editorial board needs to debate a bit with each other and make it clear to the reporters what they expect.

3. Let advertisers buy space next to features in the pipeline. (they would reduce the costs but not have editorial board influence as articles get shaped).

4. Let people "buy credits" for other active users on the site.  What if i Really like the instincts of one of the editors ..can I just buy credits on their account and let them shape the paper on my behalf.  Or sponsors could purchase a bunch of credits for a class of students, community activists, etc.

5. Figure out a way to embed the entire workflow into other community sites. (Like the entire MediaConsortium ) so that donations and ideas aggregate from across a universe of sites.

Great project!  I hope it goes national.

Spot.Us is a nonprofit project to pioneer “community funded reporting.” Through Spot.Us the public can commission investigations with tax deductible donations for important and perhaps overlooked stories. If a news organization buys exclusive rights to the content, donations are reimbursed. Otherwise content is made available through a Creative Commons license.

The First Discussion Of "Brand" I like.

The Brand Gap
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: design brand)

I normally can't stand the way that nonprofits and campaigns think about brand.  I think this presentation lays out a few of the key concepts. I agree with...

"Brand is not what you say it is. Brand is what THEY say it is." ..Ding.  Experience shapes what they say.  Are you creating experience that reinforces the brand you are building?

Network Customer Service :

This looks like an interesting site that melds the customers and the staff on customer service. It will be interesting to see which nonprofits and campaigns might pick this up.
Customer service doesn't have to suck. Real conversations with company employees and other customers who will answer your questions about the products and services you use. Get heard.

Progressives Move back to DC

Interesting note in the shift that is in the pipeline among many foundaitons to move the game back to DC. 

Many foundations shifted the organizing and capacity to the states during the Bush years. Now there is a HOPE that the progressives can go on the march in DC and fix many of the things we have been blocked on for 8 years.

The result will be an increased push of resources back inside the beltway to move policy.

I am not sure that that is a wise move. The landscape for influence is not going to be geographically confined as it was in 2000. The networked Obama/Biden administration may be just as influenced by conference calls and emails conversaitons across the country as they are form across town.   Adddtionally, abandoning the state capacity in the middle of this economic downturn will amplify the crash of the distributed network in the field.

I expect there to be a stuggle for the old guard to reposition old politicing in the DC power halls as the answer but I also expect the connected campaign culture and operatives that are going to be coming to town to be less influenced be glad handing in the halls.

Change is not just the campagin slogan and I am not hearing lots of advocacy and campaign groups really listening and reassessing strategy with the new administration.  This is not 1992.

Hopefully, the funders don't lock into a strategies prematurely as all the DC groups lobby for bigger slices of the pie.

Good Riff on Prop 8. The networks start the backlash.

Worth a read... Can the networks channel the energy productively?
Backers of California's Proposition 8, which enshrined a ban on same-sex marriages in the state constitution, scored a narrow victory on November 4th, winning 52.3% of the vote. The immediate impact in California is huge: the invalidation of 18,000 marriages. But that vote didn't put an end to the fierce debate, not even close. People have been protesting Prop 8's success in Los Angeles, San Diego, and, as the LA Times put it, "even Modesto." What was largely a state legal battle seems to be morphing into a national cultural moment, helped along by the web, including Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube.

Yes Men: "War Ends" from the NYTimes. Network Distribution.

November 12, 2008


  * PDF:
  * For video updates:
  * Contact: mailto:[email protected]

Early this morning, commuters nationwide were delighted to find out that while they were sleeping, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had come to an end.

If, that is, they happened to read a "special edition" of today's New York Times.

In an elaborate operation six months in the planning, 1.2 million papers were printed at six different presses and driven to prearranged pickup locations, where thousands of volunteers stood ready to pass them out on the street.

Articles in the paper announce dozens of new initiatives including the establishment of national health care, the abolition of corporate lobbying, a maximum wage for C.E.O.s, and, of course, the end of the war.

The paper, an exact replica of The New York Times, includes International, National, New York, and Business sections, as well as editorials, corrections, and a number of advertisements, including a recall notice for all cars that run on gasoline. There is also a timeline describing the gains brought about by eight months of progressive support and pressure, culminating in President Obama's "Yes we REALLY can" speech. (The paper is post-dated July 4, 2009.)

"It's all about how at this point, we need to push harder than ever,"
said Bertha Suttner, one of the newspaper's writers. "We've got to make sure Obama and all the other Democrats do what we elected them to do.
After eight, or maybe twenty-eight years of hell, we need to start imagining heaven."

Not all readers reacted favorably. "The thing I disagree with is how they did it," said Stuart Carlyle, who received a paper in Grand Central Station while commuting to his Wall Street brokerage. "I'm all for freedom of speech, but they should have started their own paper."

Get your own at Scribd or explore others:

Flu: Data and Feedback Loops

Here is a really interesting way that transactional data shows other trends. Searching beats CDC.

Flu Trends, as the product is called, tracks the number of searches by Google's users for flu-related terms like "thermometer" and "cold remedies." A spike in the number of such queries may indicate a flu outbreak in a particular state as people try to find information about their illness. Last year, a test showed that Google's tool highlighted flu outbreaks about two weeks faster than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's tracking, which relies on reports from local hospitals and state health departments. Getting a quicker heads-up may allow officials to ensure that there are enough vaccines on hand in a particular area and to warn residents to get their flu shots. "The sooner we have indication that flu is in a community, the earlier public health officials can take action," said Glen Nowak, a CDC spokesman. Google unveiled the product at the start of the flu season, which, according to its data, doesn't seem to have yet had much of an impact on California. Most people who catch the illness recover without much trouble, but it nevertheless manages to kill up to half a million people worldwide annually.

The YouTube Game: Good post on Crafting Viral Vids.

Notes on Youtube: Good post on crafting Viral Vids.  The next step is to think through how a big video can be used to reboot a network of people.
Core Strategy: Getting onto the “Most Viewed” page Now that a video is ready to go, how the hell is it going to attract 100,000 viewers? The core concept of video marketing on YouTube is to harness the power of the site’s traffic. Here’s the idea: something like 80 million videos are watched each day on YouTube, and a significant number of those views come from people clicking the “Videos” tab at the top. The goal is to get a video on that Videos page, which lists the Daily Most Viewed videos. If we succeed, the video will no longer be a single needle in the haystack of 10,000 new videos per day. It will be one of the twenty videos on the Most Viewed page, which means that we can grab 1/20th of the clicks on that page! And the higher up on the page our video is, the more views we are going to get.

Network-centric advocacy and organizing meets New government

The NYTimes moment has arrived.

The network and the movement combined to set a new standard for organizing . We might even see network-centric government. A government that creates and fosters social ties among its people. A government that helps establish peer to peer communication around the biggest issues and challenges. A government that creates shared resources that can be mixed and reused. A government that provides open transparency and feedback data that people throughout society can use to to identify important societal trends. A government that welcomes outside leadership and engagement. A government that realizes that the answers to its challenges are not in the handful of expert staff but distributed in the power and skills of the people it serves.

A government not focused on the survival of one player, one lobby or one interest group but a government that embraces the roll as a network organizer. Not reaching out to get others with only options to "Join or donate" but one that offers engagement, leadership and the ability to really influence outcomes to all participants.

Network-centric governance and leadership.

“I think it is very significant that he was the first post-boomer candidate for president,” Mr. Andreessen said. “Other politicians I have met with are always impressed by the Web and surprised by what it could do, but their interest sort of ended in how much money you could raise. He was the first politician I dealt with who understood that the technology was a given and that it could be used in new ways.” The juxtaposition of a networked, open-source campaign and a historically imperial office will have profound implications and raise significant questions. Special-interest groups and lobbyists will now contend with an environment of transparency and a president who owes them nothing. The news media will now contend with an administration that can take its case directly to its base without even booking time on the networks.

Crashes: Crisis: Network Resilience: Nonprofit Action Planning for the New Depression (working paper - feedback please)

At this point no one can reasonably argue that we are headed for anything but extraordinarily difficult times; about as bad as we imagine and definitely worse than we can easily come to terms with.

One of my board members recently sent me a note that analogized our situation to the “Wile E Coyote Effect.” You might remember the coyote running along and not realizing that he has run off the cliff. He keeps running suspended magically by denial. Then he stops. Wile feels around his feet for the ground, and then looks down to find the ground has disappeared beneath him. Well, here we stand in . Some of us are stopped on the edge of the cliff, some have kept running and are suspended way out over the cliff, and some of us are holding the anvil over our heads.

We should all begin to operate with two assumptions.

1. The decline in revenue is going to shred the progressive advocacy movement. The movement at the end of 2010 will look very different from the movement of September 2008. People, talent and assets that remain are going to be scattered across the landscape. We are going to need to remap and network those elements together in order to continue to mount successful campaigns.

 2. For at least two years, the federal government is going to be dominated by Democrats. They are going to be able to move legislation and government action quickly. Legislative and policy opportunity is going to come in even tighter and more intense waves.

My intention is to present those assumptions and add to the ongoing conversation about what these changes mean from the viewpoint of the activist, executive director, network strategist and progressive.

We need a plan that can deal with these reductions in our capacity, staff and resources while also enabling us to capitalize on the opportunities the new political climate is going to produce. Our movement can not shrink from the opportunity the current climate has created nor can we run full speed off the cliff assuming we can run on thin air.

The plan we develop must be cheaper for our groups, protect as many of our talented people as possible and address both the opportunity and the chaos of our time.

We must rally the nonprofit sector to view this as our own strategic restructuring milestone.The moment the progressive advocacy movement figures out how to collaborate and synchronize on a scale never imagined. It is in this chaos that we are challenged to reorganize, retool, rethink and network in new ways. We have the opportunity to emerge as a networked movement that can solve the big problems including ones we could not solve in the past. After this depression, whatever infrastructure is in place will be the backbone for a new era of advocacy if we plan and execute our transition well it will be our greatest success.

We need to understand a little bit about what happened in the market? What is coming? How do we continue to fight for change and run our campaigns in difficult times? How does the economic and political change reshape our work, shift our day-to-day actions and force us to revisit strategy?

Pew Election Snap-Shot

Add it to your notes. 46% of Americans. I wonder what kind of total turnout we get. Are the online audiences actually the critical mass of voters?

The Internet and the 2008 Election 6/15/2008 | MemoReport | Aaron Smith Lee Rainie A record-breaking 46% of Americans have used the internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views and mobilize others. And Barack Obama's backers have an edge in the online political environment. Furthermore, three online activities have become especially prominent as the presidential primary campaigns have progressed: First, 35% of Americans say they have watched online political videos--a figure that nearly triples the reading the Pew Internet Project got in the 2004 race. Second, 10% say they have used social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace to gather information or become involved. This is particularly popular with younger voters: Two-thirds of internet users under the age of 30 have a social networking profile, and half of these use social networking sites to get or share information about politics or the campaigns. Third, 6% of Americans have made political contributions online, compared with 2% who did that during the entire 2004 campaign.

The Strategy of Web Superiority and Web Dominance of an issue.

In the past, I have highlighted the value of web dominance and in 2003 talked about the value of "web superiority" with the hope of flooding the chatter, setting the tempo and message online no matter where online influentials looked they would see your message.

It seems like a more doable strategy the smaller the issue.  If you work on farming issues in WI, or river protection in Georgia dominating the web discussion would be a very easy territory to take over. I am surprised anyone can pull it off on a national issue with so much attention and so many sites but check this snap shot of Obama vs. McCain.

Here is a snap shot of how that plays out ...

  Online snap shot obama mccain

More on the Obama Networked Campaign
Obama is the first to successfully integrate technology with a revamped model of political organization that stresses volunteer participation and feedback on a massive scale, erecting a vast, intricate machine set to fuel an unprecedented get-out-the-vote drive in the final days before Tuesday’s election." Noting that huge resources have gone into professional organizing in the Obama campaign, Wired goes on to describe how an individual volunteer in Florida has used the available online tools to "do her own thing" with unprecedented effectiveness:

Protect the Vote: Lock it in today for election day:

If you plan to vote and are interested in protecting the process checkout  ....

Put CHALK on the Sidewalks ...  Report your experience ... 567-258-8683.

It is pretty cool the way they are both collecting and using all this data to provide feedback to the media and public on the voting process.
Four ways to submit reports to Vote Report:

 * Twitter: include #votereport and other tags to describe the scene on the ground * SMS: Send text messages to 66937 (MOZES) starting with the keyword #votereport plus other hash tags

* iPhone: We have a Twitter Vote Report iPhone app in the App store!

* Phone: Call our automated system at 567-258-VOTE (8683) to report about conditions, using any touch-tone phone And if you would like to talk to a human to report bad conditions you’ve observed, please call our partner 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

As news outlets and blogs will report on Election Day stories, is an invaluable resource for thousands of voters to get immediate help. From questions like “where do I vote” or “how do I make sure that my rights are being upheld,” Twitter Voter Report augments these efforts by providing a new way for voters to send text messages (aka tweets) via cellphones or computers which will be aggregated and mapped so that everyone can see the Nation’s voting problems in real-time.

Imagine a nationwide web map with pins identifying every zip code where Americans are waiting over 30 minutes to vote or indicating those election districts where the voting machines are not working.

Collectively we will inform each other when the lines are too long and ensure that media and watchdog groups know where problems exist.