June 2, 2011 •
Bono releases an app for his anti-poverty group.
We are always on the lookout for any news regarding social media as it relates to lobbying, campaign finance, and elections.
Roll Call published an article today about how Bono’s anti-poverty group called ONE campaign has released an app for iPhone users. The app allows anyone with an iPhone to contact their lawmakers and it gives them a text offering ideas of what to communicate.
Ambreen Ali’s article, “iPhone App Will Help You Lobby,” explores this new facet to the world of lobbying and advocacy.
How do you think social media and mobile technology will affect lobbying and grassroots advocacy? Let us know what you think!
June 1, 2011 •
A Twitter post incident from U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s account leads to Twitter offering recommendations for account security.
Scott Wong from Politico reports how Twitter is responding to concerns on Capitol Hill that the Twitter accounts of legislators are vulnerable to hacking.
A representative from Twitter is sending them advice on how to keep their accounts secure.
Here is the article called “Twitter e-mails Congress safety tips.”
May 13, 2011 •
Have fun with a timeline of U.S. government use of social media.
This week’s Highlighted Site of the Week is the General Services Administration’s Dipity (yes, Dipity), or social timeline, for U.S. Government use of Social Media.
The first entry on the timeline, showing the very beginning of our government’s use of social media, is April 1st, 2002, when the White House Easter Egg Roll was streamed live on the internet. Other landmarks include the announcement that “Ask the White House” was first put online in April 2003, how iTunes first offered presidential speeches in July 2005, Apps for Democracy was launched in October 2008, and Data.gov was inaugurated offering the public 47 databases in May 2009.
What is the latest entry on the timeline? On April 11 the Smithsonian Institution livestreamed Ignite Smithsonian session through UStream. The broadcast was called “Citizen History: Making History with the Masses” and is archived here.
Here is an interesting article by Federal Computer Week. They reference the timeline and ask the question, “Is government adoption of social media slowing down?”
Have a terrific weekend!
March 30, 2011 •
We are keeping an eye on the intersection between government and technology.
Here are a few news items:
- Govtech.com’s Matt Williams writes about the growing group of government workers using iPads and what apps they like to use in their agencies.
- The 2011 Federal Media and Marketing Study is out and Govexec.com reports that 54% of management level government workers use Facebook, 34% use YouTube, 18% use LinkedIn, and 9% use Twitter.
- Meredith Shiner in Politico writes about how U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor and U.S. Senator Chuck Shumer are using Twitter to volley their competing messages about.
- The State Column reports that Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker has won the coveted “Shorty” Award for best government Twitter feed. Mayor Booker had to give his acceptance speech in 140 characters or less.
March 24, 2011 •
We are keeping an eye on the intersection between government and technology.
- Daniel Newhauser from Roll Call announced the U.S. House of Representatives will be launching a new website in April. The article says the new site promises to be more “user-friendly … [and will offer] up-to-date information on the home page about committee schedules, the latest votes and information from the Clerk of the House.”
- The Department of Homeland Security is planning a new social media outreach program, according to an article on FiercegovernmentIT.com.
- Govtech.com reported that the state of Oregon has released a new data portal, Data.Oregon.gov. Oregon has become the latest state to offer raw data where the public can take information about things like state contracts, agency salaries, and expenditures. You can create filters, segmented data sets, charts, and maps. Data can also be exported as XML and CSV files for your own API, or as a PDF for easy presentation as is.
- In another news item, the Des Moines Register wrote a piece about how the Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa will be publishing online flood maps to help citizens and city officials throughout the state better prepare for flood disasters.
- Here is an article from the Houston Chronicle reporting that a bill has been proposed in the Texas House to ban city and state public officials from emailing, texting, and posting on the internet while they are “on the clock”.
March 16, 2011 •
Political consultant sees big changes.
On March 14, Politico published an interview of political consultant Joe Trippi. He speaks about what should be clear to everyone after the 2008 presidential election – social media has changed the rules of engagement in political campaigning.
What will startle many people is his set of predictions: By 2012 or 2016, Trippi sees an end to the two-party domination of presidential elections (thanks to social media) and a level of fund raising that will eclipse what we saw with the Obama campaign. He also sees such funding going to a third-party candidate who is smart enough to use social media in an innovative way. The result could be a great political upset for Democrats and Republicans.
Whatever unfolds in the coming year, the missing piece from the discussion is consideration of the ramifications for campaign finance regulation. In the scenario Trippi depicts, how will the new issues of advertising on social networks be handled? How will the source of funding be disclosed for a Facebook or Twitter message that is primarily a political advertisement and could social media efforts fall under the category of in-kind contributions?
The developments could complicate state elections, too. We have Maryland’s State Board of Elections and California’s Fair Political Practices Commission as examples of the first efforts at the regulation of political campaigning on the internet. I wonder how many oversight agencies will get out ahead of the issue by the next election?
For the Politico interview, read “Joe Trippi: Social media will kill two-party system” by Mike Zapler.
March 15, 2011 •
Governor Chafee is the target of a recall effort.
We have seen many examples of social media being used as a tool to promote a political campaign, now here it is being used as a tool to remove an official from office. Rhode Island’s Governor Lincoln Chafee is the target of a recall effort, and one group is using Facebook to gather support for the effort.
Take a look at the Facebook page with its 123 friends.
For the full story you can read the Providence Journal article “Governor unfazed by Facebook recall move” by Philip Marcelo and Katherine Gregg on March 14.
March 10, 2011 •
Two new lists rank states and cities.
We keep an ever-watchful eye on any developments in the area of government use of social media. Here are two interesting lists to explore:
A thank you goes out to OhMyGov! for highlighting a new resource by DCI Digital Group called the Digital America Map. This interactive map measures the use of Facebook and Twitter by officials in each state. How did your state do? If you don’t like your state’s ranking, or feel the information needs to be updated because your governor just started a Twitter account and is tweeting up a storm, then send DCI a message on their Twitter account!
Along those lines, Men’s Health Magazine (of all things) published an article a few days ago called “Twitter Towns, USA” ranking “the most socially networked cities” in America. This list is not about government use, but it is still interesting. Washington, D.C. rose to the top position; Atlanta, Georgia came in second place; and Denver, CO was in third. It pains me to tell you Cleveland did not make the top ten. I had to keep scrolling down the page to find out we placed at 51st out of 100.
February 25, 2011 •
A Deputy Attorney General Fired for Comments Made on Twitter
Jim Sedor, the editor of State and Federal Communications’ News You Can Use, offers this breaking news item. Jeff Cox, a deputy attorney general in Indiana, has been fired for commenting on his Twitter account that police in Wisconsin should use live ammunition to disperse protesters.
For the full story, here is the article by Chris Sikich and Mary Beth Schneider in the Indianapolis Star: “Indiana official fired for remarks on Twitter” from February 24.
Here is a statement from the Attorney General’s Office on Jeff Cox’s online postings and his being fired.
February 14, 2011 •
A new study shows a greater connection between social media and political campaigns.
In January, the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project released the results of a study showing 22% of people who are active on the internet were in some way engaged with political campaigns via social media in the 2010 election cycle. According to the study, people felt that connecting with candidates on Facebook and Twitter allowed them to be more in touch with the campaigns and said it gave them timely information.
The base of people involved in social media activity has grown since the 2008 elections:
“The social networking population as a whole has grown larger and demographically more diverse in recent years, and the same is true when it comes to political activity on social networking sites.” said Aaron Smith, Senior Researcher Specialist and author of the report. “These platforms are now utilized by politically active individuals of all ages and ideologies to get news, connect with others, and offer their thoughts on the issues that are important to them.”
You can find the synopsis of the Pew Center’s study here: “22% of online Americans used social networking or Twitter for politics in 2010 campaign” and the site also allows you to download the entire report.
Picture courtesy of VIA Gallery on Wikipedia.
December 20, 2010 •
Two jurisdictions grapple with the regulation of campaign finance in social media.
Just as the use of social media has exploded with the average person in everyday interaction, so it goes with the use the of social media in political campaigns. And just as political ads have prompted regulations in traditional media – in print, radio, and television – ethics oversight agencies in the states are now facing the need to regulate political ads in social media.
In essence, we have a 1970s post-Watergate system of political ads regulation facing a completely new set of challenges with today’s political activity on the internet. How do you get all parties to agree on meanings and terms for features in electronic ads when there is no industry standard? How do you identify the source of funding for a Google or Facebook ad? How would you fit a disclosure statement into a tweet when you are limited to 140 characters? Some have said regulation of political ads in social media constitutes a restriction of the exercise of freedom of speech. Others have argued that endorsements by influential bloggers should be considered as in-kind contributions.
Two states to watch are Maryland and California. The Maryland State Board of Elections and California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) have established rules for proper use of social media by political campaigns, PACs, and private individuals. At the Council on Government Ethics Laws 2010 conference in Washington, D.C., I had the privilege of meeting Jared DeMarinis, Maryland’s Director for the Maryland Board of Elections Division of Candidacy and Campaign Finance, and Roman Porter, Executive Director of the FPPC. It was a COGEL breakfast group discussion with them that prompted me to offer these resources in this post.
Here is the link for Maryland’s Summary Guide to Candidacy and Campaign Finance Laws. Chapter 12, section 6 deals with electronic media. Maryland’s answer to the issue of disclosure within the limited space of a social network appears to be requiring a hyperlink to a landing page that would host the disclosure information. Government Technology has a nice article from August 3, 2010 called, “Maryland Social Media Campaign Rules Take Effect,” which describes the new regulations.
California’s FPPC offers a report from the Subcommittee on Internet Political Activity called “Internet Political Activity and the Political Reform Act,” dated August 11, 2010. Here is a memorandum describing amendments, from October 2010. They also offer a helpful online FAQ page called “Electronic Media: Paid Political Advertisements.” These resources have a great deal of guidance regarding disclosure in social media political ads, what triggers the need for disclosure, and how disclosure is to be done in social media.
Perhaps the work of these two agencies will be the template for other jurisdictions! We will be watching…
October 14, 2010 •
If you want to stay up on the latest happenings in the world of social media, political campaigns, and government, follow techPresident!
With the 2008 presidential election, the relationship between social media and elections undoubtedly changed. Campaigns utilized Facebook and Twitter as a powerful campaign tool. But the change was also felt in the way the average person, through social media, was able to stay connected to the candidates and to generate their own political campaign content on YouTube, blogs, etc.
Recognizing the unfolding revolution, Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry founded a Web site in 2007 called techPresident, reporting on the 2008 presidential campaigns. Through charts, graphs, and blog posts, techPresident kept track of every promotion and attack ad that hit the internet. From Hillary Clinton’s “Let the Conversation Begin” promotion in January 2007, and ads attacking John McCain, to techPresident’s favorite videos of 2007 list showing the top “voter generated” videos in December 2007.
But the election came and went, so techPresident decided to change its focus to how the White House and the public interact on the web, plus going forward they are covering the use of social media in presidential, legislative, and state races.
The same team runs a sister Web site called the Personal Democracy Forum, which claims a broader focus:
Technology and the Internet are changing democracy in America. This site is one hub for the conversation already underway between political practitioners and technologists, as well as anyone invigorated by the potential of all this to open up the process and engage more people in all the things that we can and must do together as citizens. We value your input and ideas.
You can get involved on these sites, too! You can vote for your favorite campaign video, see which politician has the most Facebook supporters, check the job board for listings for a job with a campaign or PAC, follow the techPresident Tweet stream, or stay on top of campaign events on techPresident’s calendar.
Best of all, they want your input: “Got tips, leads, or suggestions for techPresident? By all means, send them in.”
August 4, 2010 •
The use of political ads on Web sites and in social media continues to test the practice of political campaigning.
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission just released a report by the Subcommittee on Internet Political Activity saying political ads used on Web sites and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter should be regulated the same way ads are on any other medium.
Here are two articles for further reading :
“Social media wrap: California watchdog recommends Internet political campaign regulations,” by Craig Howie in the Los Angeles Times on August 2, 2010.
“State panel calls for online political ad rules,” by Marisa Lagos in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 3, 2010.
June 28, 2010 •
Welcome to our new blog!
State and Federal Communications, Inc. is your compliance information source for campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics laws. We are pleased to introduce our new blog – LobbyComply.
State and Federal Communications is always seeking new ways to serve our clients and to reach out to the larger community. Along with what we offer on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, we believe LobbyComply will give us a great opportunity to connect with all of you.
On LobbyComply, you can expect to find news and information regarding lobbying, ethics, and compliance. Feel free to leave comments and questions, or contact us by e-mail. Enjoy the blog!
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.