Blog

Share and Share Widely

The row of icons for Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and other such sites under each blog posting are there so that you can share these entries with others on the web. In many cases, you can share a little commentary of your own (sometimes it might be “this is so stupid!” – nothing says you have to agree with me on anything – but to my mind it’s even better if you can promote something you think is worthwhile).

I’ve added a similar row of icons on the BlueBroward Calendar and plan to do the same with the campaign listings here, so that you can help promote events and campaigns. On the blog, I’m using a freely available WordPress plug-in called Sociable, and I’m mimicking techniques drawn from that tool to add the same sort of functionality elsewhere on the website. That’s in addition to the Facebook-specific integration I added recently.

All this is so that campaigns, causes, events, and ideas posted here (by myself or others) can be shared more widely.

P.S. Help me out here. This blog is open to postings by any member with a BlueBroward password. I tend to post about the techie aspects of running this website and Internet strategies you can apply to your own online political efforts. I’d like to see others who are more knowledgeable than I about issues such as healthcare and the economy adding their voices here.

District Boundaries

Alan Erlich, Ralph Rickle, Cynthia Bush and her daughter Sophia have been circulating petitions to get a proposed amendment to the Florida constitution on the ballot this November. The amendment would make it easier to keep people who live in the same city grouped into the same legislative district or the same congressional district. People on different sides of the same neighborhood street wouldn’t find their voices diluted by being split into two or more legislative districts. It has turned out ot be one of the easiest petitions to get signed. It’s a pretty good idea.

Rebooting the BlueBroward.org Blog

This is a re-launch of the Blog I started here a couple of years ago. I always wanted a better way of integrating the blog with the rest of the website, so that people would be able to post blogs and comments here without needing to keep track of a separate password.

I have got that working now, and any registered BlueBroward.org member should be able to start posting blogs as of today. The blogging system is based on WordPress, which has a reputation for being fairly easy to use and working well with the search engines.

I want other BlueBroward.org members to post here because I know many of you have strong, well-informed opinions, and different opinions from mine, which should make this more interesting. I never wanted BlueBroward to just be my soap box. It’s supposed to be for the whole local Democratic community.

I haven’t actively blogged here since 2006, but I still think some of the points I made then about things like effective email communication are legitimate. The old posts are available here, at least for now. I think there may be a way of loading them into this system, but I haven’t gotten that far.

Update: I’ve now imported the old posts so they’re visible here. Some of this is pretty outdated, and some of it (particularly on web/email strategy), I still stand behind.

See: Best of the Old Posts

Best of the Old Posts

Because some of the old posts are fairly outdated now, I thought I should highlight a few that I believe are still relevant in terms of strategy for exploiting the Internet.

Political Email

Email – please identify yourself

Campaigns and other political organizations, like most organizations of every type these days, have made use of the Internet integral to their operations. But they don’t always do a good job of it. I’ve been known to make some mistakes of my own, of course, but there are certain principles …

Even Big Campaigns Screw Up Email

This is a perfect example of how even big campaigns sometimes miss on the basics of email communication. So I’m scanning through my email on a busy day, and it contains a mix of spam and commercial promotions. I make my living as a tech magazine writer, so some of …

Hazards of Email

Interesting Christian Science Monitor piece on the hazards of email miscommunication. Not specific to politics, but something to keep in mind for every kind of email interaction.

Web Strategy

The Worst Thing a Campaign Web Site Can Be Is …

…outdated. The same could be said for most Websites, political or not. But when I do a campaign Web site, I want people to come away with the impression that there’s a lot going on with the campaign, momentum is building, this is a campaign worth getting involved with or …

The Broward DEC Web site is dead again

This really annoys me. One month to the election, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the Broward County Democratic Executive Committee website. Until recently, it hadn’t been updated since July. Then somebody posted a tiny item with a link to the AM 940 website — I guess because chairman …

Compare and Contrast – Broward Republican Executive Committee

Out of morbid curiousity, I took a look at the Republican website for the county. See the comparison: http://www.bluebroward.org/img/compare.htm

Mandate Media on Politics and Technology

These items are from a newsletter from Mandate Media that just turned up in my inbox. There’s a lot of good stuff in here. I particularly paid attention to the items on the value of making confirmation emails meaningful communications with voters, the worst campaign websites of 2006, and legal advice for online politics.

Innovative list-building Flash BlogAd from John Kerry

He may not be running for President, but John Kerry is staying in the game. This week, his was the first organization to debut a Flash ad with BlogAds. And not just any Flash ad — but a well-designed little sign-up form, inviting progressive activists to join his campaign to set a deadline to end the Iraq War.

John Kerry now hiring EIGHT new media staffers

We’re not quite sure what he’s up to, but Senator John Kerry’s campaign team is hiring to fill eight positions in his Netroots Team.

Now that’s a fabulous automated receipt email!

Anytime you donate or sign up online, there’s always that instant and automated response email. Usually, those emails are boring and entirely functional. Of course, since it’s an email that the recipient is actually expecting and hoping to get – it’s a missed opportunity to do a little communications, a little branding, a little relationship-building.

Convio acquires GetActive

Convio is one of the largest technology providers to large nonprofit organizations (and did some early work for the Dean 2004.) GetActive is a bit closer to the political space – with clients like the AFL-CIO, SEIU, Planned Parenthood, and…

15% of Americans say internet was primary source of campaign news

Some 15% of all American adults say the internet was the place where they got most of their campaign news during the election, up from 7% in the mid-term election of 2002. A post-election survey shows that the 2006 race also produced a notable class of online political activists.

Starbucks defends itself on YouTube

What do you do when you’re getting attacked online? Respond online. I don’t know all the details, but Starbucks is under attack from Oxfam for its business practices in Ethiopia. So, Starbucks has responded with a short video on YouTube…

Joe Trippi on Transformational Politics

Trippi: "My own view is that Television helped kill transformational politics because it took people out of the process and made chasing big money too important. I really believe — indeed have always believed since about the mid-1990’s that the Internet would help herald a new era of transformational politics because it puts back into the process the most essential ingredient of them all in a democracy — the people."

Don’t be a control freak

At his blog "How to change the world", tech evangelist Guy Kawasaki has an interview with the authors of a new book – Citizen Marketers: When People are the Message. He’s not talking about politics, but we could all learn a few things from the guy who sold the Macintosh to the world.

Making caucus votes open, transparent, and instantly reported

Over at the Iowa Voters blog, they’re discussing the possibility that the 2008 Iowa Caucus could feature instant online reporting of votes cast at the precinct level.

The confirmation email: a key resource

When someone donates to your campaign, do you send a brief confirmation email? And if so, do you take the opportunity to cement the relationship and encourage them to do more?

Extend the life of your computer

Over at TechSoup.org, the website for nonprofits, John Avellanet has a great roadmap for computer maintenance. In short, he argues you oughta pay attention to your computer like you change the oil on your car.

Safire explains "netroots"

It seems like we all use "netroots" these days, especially in this business of politics and technology. So, where did it come from? William Safire explains.

Candidate Domain Squatting

The New York Times took note of the large number of domain names being grabbed by squatters in anticipation of the 2008 presidential race. How much are those domains worth? The answer will surprise you.

Site Promotion Checklist

Over at TechSoup, Leanne Bergey has a great checklist for launching a new website. Everything from the free and easy to more expensive and complex rollout options. Nothing rocket science here, but most promotion stuff isn’t. Check it out….

Worst campaign websites of 2006

Over at CNet, they’ve compiled a slideshow of seventeen of the worst campaign websites in the country.

Organizing Online? Think like a rock band.

Frogloop: "It would be so convenient if launching a viral message campaign, political or otherwise, on a social networking platform were as easy as just adding water. But, the truth is that as with any grassroots campaign, it takes persistence, lots of online and offline effort, and the right tools and the right message in the hands of the right people at the right time. Oh, and a little luck, too. Basically, you need to be scrappy, flexible, and think like a rock band."

Right-wingers talk about the local lefty blogs

Mary Katherine Ham, of major right-wing website Townhall, wrote: "I’ve always felt a little guilty that I’m not better informed about the city council," Ms. Ham wrote. "The folks who do follow and blog that stuff are doing yeoman’s work."…

Legal advice for online political activity

There are always lots of questions about the legal reporting requirements and restrictions on bloggers, campaigns, and other kinds of activism. While the FEC (and state regulators) continue to explore the terrain, the Center for Democracy and Technology has released their Net Democracy Guide.

More, more, more…

Of course, there’s much more over on P&T. New stuff 6-10 times a month. Dig in at PoliticsAndTechnology.com

Atlantic Monthly: Bush is fading. Bush Republicanism is here to stay.

Atlantic Monthly editor Ross Douthat has an interesting commentary in the March issue about why Bush’s legacy is likely to continue in the Republican party, with current GOP candidates largely following his political strategy.

In addition to the continuing need of Republicans to court the fundamentalist Christian voting block, he writes:

Republican candidates have another reason for giving Bushism a second act: It has more potential to appeal to the broad electorate than other visions of where the GOP should go from here. The enduring popularity of the welfare state makes big-government conservatism far more palatable to voters than the government-cutting purism that Bush?s right-wing critics hope to revive. (In the long run, the country may be forced to choose between keeping spending high and keeping taxes low; in the short term, though, the deficits Bush has run up are not the public?s first priority.)

The link is here, although you have to be a subscriber to see the full text:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200703/douthat-comment

Presidential Contenders – Everyone’s Welcome

Back when the dust was still settling from the 2004 Kerry campaign, BlueBroward.org was established with the goal of organizing a community of volunteers who could be put to work for the next Democratic nominee for President. Well, as you may have heard, the 2008 campaign season is starting early. So far only the John Edwards campaign is registered on BlueBroward’s campaigns page.

BlueBroward is open to all contenders in the primary phase, so I encourage those of you who may be backing one of the other candidates to introduce the local coordinator for that campaign to BlueBroward and/or volunteer to be the person who will make sure campaign events in our area

will be posted to this calendar.

Any BlueBroward.org member can post events to the calendar, but ideally campaign events should be posted by designated representatives of the campaigns. First, we’ve got to get those campaigns to recognize BlueBroward as a regional organizing resource.

Remember, this is a community website, so ideally everyone’s supposed to participate in making it better – not just the webmaster! And I do appreciate all your help.

Thanks,

David

Help file for Democratic Club contacts

If you post event notices for your Democratic Club, these instructions may help you understand a little better how to use the meeting schedule editor on BlueBroward.org.

http://www.bluebroward.org/help/Club_Meeting_Editor.htm

Of course, it’s all supposed to be easy to use and self-explanatory, but some of the feedback I’ve gotten is that there’s still room for confusion. Hope this helps.

Congratulations and Thank You

Congratulations to the winners in Tuesday’s election — and to everyone who helped make those wins possible by making phone calls, knocking on doors, waving signs, manning polls, and/or writing a check or two.

Of course, we had some notable disappointments on the state level, and we ought to be thinking about what we could do better next time to produce the bigger turnout that might have put candidates like Jim Davis and Skip Campbell over the top. But first let’s take time to celebrate winning a Democratic majority in Congress and picking up seats in the State House for the first time in way too long. Let’s be proud of Ron Klein, Martin Kiar, and Ken Keechl for winning very tough races with enthusiasm, hard work, and the backing of a lot of great volunteers.

Winners from among the campaigns registered with BlueBroward.org included:

Congressman Kendrick Meek and Senator Bill Nelson

Ron Klein for Congress

Jeremy Ring and Ted Deutch for State Senate

Martin David Kiar and Elaine Schwartz for State House

Alex Sink For CFO

Ken Keechl for Broward County Commission

Phyllis Hope for Broward County School Board

(There were others who won without BlueBroward’s help, and congratulations to them, too, but here I’m emphasizing those who participated in our campaign and event listings).

I hope that BlueBroward.org provided some useful services to these campaigns. Feedback on what we could do better in the future is always welcome.