Archive - Aug 2009

August 31st

Start of School Updates

Slowly, the patterns of fall return. Today, Fiona took the bus to school. It was the first day, and is usually the case, the bus was a little late as everyone got back into the swing of waiting for the bus, saying their goodbyes and heading off to school. Last night Fiona was tired and not looking forward to school, but after a good night’s sleep she was excited to see her old friends, her new teacher and what the year will bring.

After a busy week, I’ve more or less caught back up with my emails. Sure there are a bunch of emails from earlier in the year that I’ve not gotten a chance to read, but I have read everything since we got back from vacation.

Many of the emails are in response to various things I’ve written and deserve some follow up here.

The Kindle

On my blog post about Progressive Blogs and Citizen Journalists on Kindle, Kate from After Cancer, now what let me know that her blog is now on Kindle. In addition, I told about Uppity Wisconsin on Kindle and RootsWire on Kindle

One person asked about online news sites on Kindle. The big players are there. The New York Times on Kindle costs $13.99 a month. I don’t know what percentage Amazon takes. Likewise The Washington Post on Kindle and the Boston Globe on Kindle both cost $9.99 a month. What is missing are smaller papers and online only news sites. I’m trying to find out more about what a local paper or online news site needs to do to get on Kindle. That will have to wait for a further update.

Twitterville

I continue to enjoy reading my way through Twitterville. I’ve read the section about how Twitter started as well as the part about Twitter at SXSW. I’m now getting closer to the meat of the story, in the section where Shel Israel about Ricardo Guerrero, @ggroovin, of Dell first exploring Twitter. Meanwhile, I continue to work with the efforts to save dogs from kill shelters in Connecticut.

CT Underhound Railroad

Recently Zsuzsa who sends the @LastChanceCT tweets joined theCT Underhound Railroad Mailing List. We talked about Twitter in terms of outreach and she had two great stories.

The Grant County Shelter, KY, @GrantCoShelter tweeted this message on Thursday August 27th: “Urgent need 4 fosters & rescues. Cnty ordered 30+ dogs euthanized 8/31 if not pulled from shelter. Grant Cnty KY-35 miles south of Cincy OH”

Twitter users were able to repost this message to help get the message out quickly & crosspost to Rescue sites. Here's last nights update from the Grant county Shelter: “Thanks to all of you, we adopted 22 dogs today and about 33 yesterday- 55 dogs in 2 days. All healthy adoptable dogs are safe!”

Another great example: Recently a rescue dog from TN, just placed in a home Freeport, ME ran away. The rescue tweeted the message, it was retweeted. I contacted LLBean PR in Freeport, thru Twitter & they sent out an Urgent email blast to employees to be on the lookout for this dog. We also found wonderful storeowners throughout Freeport (also on twitter) who reposted the message. It was highly publicized on Twitter. I read later the dog was found! We were all so grateful & happy for the support of the Twitter community.

One friend saw that I had Retweeted a recent message from LastChanceCT and asked how to Retweet. It depends on how you are getting your twitter messages. Mostly, I get them on the web and I just copy the message and past it into the box where they ask what I’m doing. Then, I stick in before the message RT and the userid of the person who originally sent it.

Other bloggers from the CT Working Families Annual Meeting

While I was at the CT Working Families Annual Meeting I ran into many old friends. Mary Geake mentioned that she now has a blog, The Politicians Wife. She also mentioned that her brother has a blog, Rookie Internet Entrepreneur. Also, I had a brief chat with @CouncilorCotto who is on Twitter but currently has his tweets protected.

The Underhill Decision

Last week, I wrote a little bit about The Decision by Judge Underhill concerning the Citizens’ Election Program. Lots of people put out press releases and I added my thoughts on Hopeless Candidates. Most recently, I’ve receive an email to the Attorney General’s press release saying that he will seek and immediate stay. My understanding is that there are plenty of talks going on today and I am still hoping for more updates soon.

AudioPal

Today, I received an email about AudioPal, “the first voice-enabled status update tool”. Well, I was thinking that Utterli probably fit that bill better. Nonetheless, I gave the AudioPal beta a try. You go to a website, call in with a number and pin provided, get an email with the link to your message which you can then paste into whatever website you choose:

Hmm. Too many steps. If they gave me a phone number and a pin, and allowed me to set preferences to where I wanted my audio status posted, that would be nice. Come to think of it, that is pretty much what Utterli already does.

Okay, there are probably a bunch of other random updates I should add, but I should also get some other work done.

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August 30th

Progressive Blogs and Citizen Journalists on Kindle

Recently, I've been getting into some discussions about monetizing blogs and specifically about Kindle Publishing. Kindle Publishing allows a blogger to publish their blog on Kindle. It costs 99 cents a month to subscribe to a blog on Kindle, and Amazon returns 30% of that to the blogger.

I've set up Orient Lodge on Kindle but don't have any Kindle subscribers yet. So far, I've found a few other good progressive blogs on Kindle. They include Burnt Orange Nation and Capitol Annex.

In addition, the Center for Independent Media has a strong presence on Kindle, including the Colorado Independent, the Iowa Independent, the Minnesota Independent, the Michigan Messenger, the New Mexico Independent, and the Washington Independent.

So, are you on Kindle? If so, let me know where.

August 29th

Hopeless Candidates

I have been thinking a lot about Judge Underhill's decision on Thursday where he ruled that the Citizens' Election Program was unconstitutional. Part his reasoning was "that the CEP is not narrowly tailored to achieving the state’s compelling interests because the state has failed to demonstrate how the public fisc is actually protected by imposing stringent qualifying criteria on minor party candidates, while permitting equally hopeless major party candidates to qualify under significantly less onerous qualifying criteria, in vastly greater numbers and at windfall funding levels."

The idea of "hopeless candidacies" particularly jumped out at me. What is the hope of candidates running for office? What is the state's interest in candidates running for office? It seems as if Judge Underhill makes a common mistake. He talks about hopelessness in terms of "electoral success". Clearly, it is in the states interest to promote competition between those most likely to succeed in terms of their probability of electoral success. However, I believe that this is looking at the electoral process way too narrowly.

I know many candidates, my wife included, who have run for state office and not been elected; who have had their campaigns labeled hopeless. However, there is a much greater hope of many candidates than simply getting elected. Candidates hope to promote involvement in the electoral process and discussions about the policies that effect the state. My wife ran as a Democrat in a district that has not elected a Democrat in nearly a century and where the Democrats had not even fielded a candidate in several election cycles. I believe that by Judge Underhill's criteria, such a campaign would have been labeled hopeless. While my wife's candidacy did not achieve electoral success, it was extremely successful in promoting involvement in the electoral process and discussions about the policies that effect the state.

I have often argued that the Citizens' Election Program should be best compared to our education budgets. Whether you are talking about fifteen million dollars during election cycles with just state legislators or fifty million dollars during elections cycles with constitutional officers, this is a small amount to pay for the education of voters on the issues, especially when compared to the education budgets of the towns and cities of Connecticut.

Yet there is a common concern between education in our public schools and education in our public elections. The state does have a keen interest in making sure that the educators, whether they be school teachers, or candidates, are most likely to succeed in their tasks.

While it may seem unfair, major party candidates, no matter how likely they are to get elected have a greater probability of promoting involvement in the electoral process and discussions about the policies that effect the state. Minor party candidates do not have that greater probability and need to be able to demonstrate that they can have an effect on electoral involvement, independent of their probability of electoral success. The mechanisms to assess this ability, based on percentage of votes for candidates of the minor party in the previous election, or the number of signatures gathered seems like a highly reasonable method for the state to determine the likely success of the candidates in promoting involvement in the electoral process and discussions about the policies that effect the state.

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August 28th

Connecticut Working Family Annual Meeting

Saturday morning from 9 until 1, the Connecticut Working Family Party will hold its annual meeting at CCSU Institute for Technology and Business Development at 185 Main St, in New Britain CT.

This will include a Gubernatorial candidates forum including former speaker Jim Amann, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, State Senator Gary LeBeau and Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy.

The keynote speaker will be Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer for ACORN.

It is my intention to cover the event live. If there is WiFi, I will use CoverItLive. However, being prepared for possible wifi problems, I will set up CoverItLive to take my tweets as well as any Tweets with the tag #ctwfp. I will also set up CoverItLive to start an hour or so before the annual meeting when I know that I will have access.

Please join in the discussion.

Follow Friday

@MaureenCole @shelisrael @lizstrauss @jdlasica @kdpaine @scottmonty @MissRogue @veronica @gapingvoid @sreenet @gartenberg @briansolis @stevecla @sncr @scobleizer @thornley @tobydiva

Well, it has been a busy Friday and I'm only now getting a chance to write my Follow Friday post. I actually started planning this post a few days ago, when I received a review copy of TwitterVille by Shel Israel.

I receive my share of books for review, and have noted that books that I receive about Twitter do not have the Twitter handle of the publicists or people being quoted. Twitterville is different.

@MaureenCole works is a "Publicist at Portfolio, the business book imprint of Penguin Group". The letter accompanying Shel's book provided her contact information, including her id on Twitter. Kudos to Maureen for including it. Then, of course, there is the author, @shelisrael. I've followed Shel on Twitter and in his other writings, so I already knew his Twitter id, even though I'm not finding it in the book.

The cover letter included 'Advance Praise for TWITTERVILLE' which had various quotes found in the book or on the cover. All of the quotes had the twitter ids of the people being quoted.

Inside the book are quotes from @lizstrauss @jdlasica @kdpaine and someone identified as a 'social media consultant' that didn't list a Twitter id.

On the back cover were quotes from @scottmonty @MissRogue @veronica @gapingvoid @sreenet @gartenberg @briansolis @stevecla @sncr @scobleizer @thornley @tobydiva. All of these people have important things to say about social media, besides simply praising Shel's book. Most of them I had already been following and are well enough known not to require any sort of introduction. For those that you don't know, check out their Twitter page. You can find more than enough information about the people there.

As I read through the book, there are frequent references to people in Twitter, and so perhaps I'll have another Twitterville related Follow Friday next week or in some subsequent week.

Let me end by saying that if you're new to twitter, these are great people to follow, to get a sense of what is going on with Twitter. With that, I'm off to my weekend. More later.