The way life shouldn’t be

I haven’t written about the Media Bloggers Association in quite a while, which is probably a good thing. Their website describes the organization this way:

The Media Bloggers Association is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of "blogging" or "citizen journalism" as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.

While the promotion and education of its members is important, MBA probably makes its biggest mark in protecting bloggers against scurrilous lawsuits.

Today, I received an email about Maine Web Report. Lance, the blogger for Maine Web Report has been writing extensively the Maine Office of Tourism. Apparently, people haven’t taken well to his criticism, and an advertising firm involved has slapped him with a ‘3 count multi-million dollar federal lawsuit’. The MBA is will be acting as co-counsel in defending Lance.

I was born in Maine. I have friends in Maine. I still think of Maine as Vacationland and hope to move back to Maine one day. However, I must say, I am very disappointed with what I’m reading about those attempting to promote tourism in Maine.

This isn’t the way life should be. As much as I hate to say it, right now, I prefer New Hampshire and their motto.

Various bloggers that are writing about this include B. L. Ochman, Bill Hobbs, Tor Lindahl, Jason Clarke, James Joyner and Don Singleton

In The News

Today’s Stamford Times has a front page article entitled, “Blogging for Votes”. It does not appear to be online, but has some good quotes from me. Also, the Hartford Courant has Joe's Getting Blogged Down.

Watching, but decidedly not orchestrating, these bloggers is a 46-year-old Leprachaunish-looking Wall Street refugee with a puffy graying beard. His name is Aldon Hynes. He "lives on the web," as he puts it. Sixteen hours a day, scouring sites, writing comments. As an official Lamont staffer, he finds donors and volunteers nationwide on sites like (another source of priceless yet free Lamont help).

Hynes believes the blogosphere is reviving democracy by enabling everyday people to participate in politics on their own terms. He knows that pro-Lamont bloggers like 62-year-old Kelly Monaghan of (Connecticut's version of the Daily Kos, with about 500 unique visitors and 2,800 page views a day) will never follow a central line or strategy. Monaghan regaled me with criticisms of the Lamont campaign at the Naples event. Hynes wouldn't have it any other way. The idea isn't to replicate the "right-wing noise machine" that filters a central daily message to talk-show hosts and columnists and candidates across the country. It's to unbottle an anarchic, grassroots explosion of democratic participation.

The era that began with the Nixon-Kennedy debates has ended, Hynes declares.

"From 1960 to 2000 we had an era of broadcast politics," he says. "You get on TV. You get your 30-second sound bite. That's bad for the country. Spazeboy? He would have never ended up in politics. Some brilliant people have been disenfranchised by broadcast politics."

"People are starving for authenticity. People are tired of Photoshopped, airbrushed candidates," Hynes argues.

I agree. Internet politics may have the potential for even more abuse and dishonesty than broadcast politics. But unlike broadcast politics, it offers us the potential to reclaim our political system from the sell-outs and their Svengalis. That happy scenario may just be unfolding before Joe Lieberman's - and our own - eyes.

Post Broadcast Revolutions

(Originally published at Greater Democracy)

“The Revolution will not be televised”. Gil Scott-Heron told us so. Joe Trippi repeated it, but CTBlogger, Spazeboy and Scarce, among others are doing it anyway.

“The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox”. No, it will be brought to you by Kinko’s and YouTube, by Sony and Microsoft. They will sell you Lenin’s rope.

“The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon”. It will show you pictures of Bush and Lieberman.

“The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb, Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.” However, clips from each of them are likely to appear in the mashup.

“The revolution will be no re-run brothers; The revolution will be live.” It will be recorded by all of us. It will be animated in flash. It will be mashed up, spread by emails and downloaded to video Ipods.

Maybe Marshall McLuhan was right. Maybe the medium is the message. When I was young, I had “thirteen channels of shit on the TV to chose from”. In other countries, where there was one state run television, the TV studios were the first thing to be taken over during a coup.

Now, we have YouTube, Google Video, and plethora of other tools for distributing video. We have Flash, Movie Maker and iMovies to make our content.

The seeds of the revolution is everyone becoming able create and distribute their own content. We saw the beginning of this with blogs. Now, we are seeing it with online videos.

Technology Playday

Fiona threw up last night. Both Kim and I are dragging, so I’m going to focus on some simple fun stuff for a little bit.

Last night, I was asked if I could come up with a map mashup of the different training locations for the Ned Lamont petition drive. I ended up using map builder, which is pretty nice. The first map I produced was this which shows the twelve different locations where we have trainings scheduled.

The second map I produced was this. I took a list of over 600 donations made to the Lamont campaign from people in Connecticut during the first quarter. Map builder geocoded them and added them all to a map. To me, it looks like it follows pretty closely the population density of Connecticut.

Today, I went for something a little less strenuous and created my first page in Google Pages. Very simple and easy to set up pages, but so far it doesn’t seem to have any neat Web 2.0 type functionality.

Next, I played with Google Calendar a little bit more. Anyone who wants to check out my calendar can check this. I tested loading a calendar from Drupal. It seems to work, but needs more testing.

Now, if only I can combine some Google Maps and Google Calendars into a Google page, things will really come together.

(Categories: )

Tech Soup: Online Social Networks event

Tech Soup is having an Online Event on “Using Social Networking Applications for your nonprofit org”. They listed several social networks, and I’ve added the following comment about the online social networks I’m part of. I’m posting it here as well, because a lot of you have asked me from time to time about my thoughts on different online social networks.

Here is a brief run down of the online social networks that I use:

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