At last October’s Networked Journalism Summit, organised by Jeff Jarvis, I had the pleasure of meeting Micah Sifry of the Personal Democracy Forum which is described on their website as a "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."
PDF is the organisation behind TechPresident. When I met Micah, he seemed almost surprised when I told him I’m a huge fan. Which I am. I think it’s one of the most interesting projects to emerge in the last year.
For the uninitiated, TechPresident tracks the American Presidential candidate’s use of technology – in particular blogging, youtube, and social networking – in their campaigns.
There’s stats porn aplenty, for example the graph at left which plots the number of facebook friends each candidate has and shows whether that number has risen or fallen in the past week. You’ll also find aggregations of candidate blogs.
But what I enjoy most are the original posts by Micah and his team that provide insight into the clever ways some of the candidates are really trying to leverage the capabilities of social media in their campaigns. For example, yesterday’s post by Michael Whitney points out a facebook widget developed by the Barack Obama campaign to help users find out which of their friends might be eligible to vote in the important Iowa primaries (today) so that they might remind their friends (and influence) their vote:
With the US Presidential Primaries taking place over the next two months, and the actual election following in the autumn, TechPresident is likely to get a lot more notice in 2008 and I can’t wait to see how the site continues to develop.