Information architect Sean Tevis is running for the state house in Kansas. He has no political experience, just a died-in-the-wool idealism. He launched an online fundraising campaign on 16 July. Here’s his 13 August report:
By using the ability to collaborate online, connect with an audience, and communicate in a way that, say, mailing a brochure simply can’t, we were able to break the record for the most number of donors to a State Representative campaign in Kansas. Almost all of these donations were less than $10. Almost 50 donations were $1 each from people who know that we need real change, but they’ve been hit too hard by the economy to afford more.
We raised more money from more local donors than my three-term incumbent opponent. It means, too, that I have no strings attached to my funding because it’s not money from lobbyists or special interest groups. Hundreds of friends emailed me when they sent in a small donation. Mike said, “I have not had a job in sixteen months. Eight bucks and change will still move my old Ford Explorer about 40 miles if I drive real carefully. And I’ll be glad to avoid some driving so that your voice is heard in Topeka – LOUDLY, please!”
More from NPR (tip).
The goal: put together one aggregated RSS feed that combines the campaign blog feeds from Hillary Clinton (the best URL of the bunch), Barack Obama (bleh) and John McCain (second best URL). The first two: a piece of cake to find the RSS feed link (after ducking past that annoying splash sign-up page).
But McCain’s site had me running (well, clicking) in circles. There is no ’single’ RSS feed for the blog and no feed that contains current posts, even though there are five (5!) category feeds (and no archive links). The dates of the last posts: campaign (14 Mar 2008), economy (28 Nov 2007), health (28 Nov 2007), iraq (28 Nov 2007) and spending (28 Nov 2007). (Yes, those four all end with the same post.) The latest post right now, however, is 8 Apr 2008 (Speech to VFW). Is it the ASPX system?
As a matter of general principle, I vote no on citizen initiatives. There is usually no nuance; they are often pushed by one special interest group (or person); and I’m skeptical of direct democracy on the scale of statewide law.
Since mid-August, more than 79,000 people have joined http://www.meetup.com to support one of the nine Democratic presidential candidates, according to the Washington Post. More than 195,000 people (about 25 percent of the total membership base) have joined to find others who care about Democratic candidates.
An analysis of site statistics shows that Dems aren’t the only politicos flocking to the site, however. Join Arnold ranked number 18 at the time this was typed.
The site was created in early 2002 to give anyone with a hobby a chance talk about it and a way to find others with similar interests. It extends community facilitation pioneered by eGroups (now part of Yahoo!Groups) from online discussion to face-to-face meetings. The site features groups on more than 2,200 topics; about 750,000 people have registered.
More news: Fort Worth Star Telegram; The Globe and Mail (Canada); Capitol Hill Blue; TwinCities.com