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Archive for the Ch 06: E-Mobilization Category

Political Communication Preconference and main APSA conference in Boston

Posted on Fri, Aug 22, 2008 at 6:56 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Just a quick note to say that I'll be at the APSA conference in Boston next week. Nick Anstead and I are presenting our paper 'Parties, Election Campaigning and the Internet: Toward a Comparative Institutional Approach' (a chapter from the newly published Handbook of Internet Politics edited by Phil Howard and I) to the American Political Science Association Political Communication Section Annual Preconference, held at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, on August 27.

I'm the discussant for Panel 38-15: Political Communication Online at the main APSA Conference in Boston. Full details here.

Hope to see you there.


Posted on Mon, Apr 07, 2008 at 12:57 PM by Andrew Chadwick

WikiCandidate is a fascinating experiment in user-generated content focused on a very specific exercise: the creation of a virtual campaign for a fictional presidential candidate.

Run by a team of students led by Professor Tarleton Gillespie of the Department of Communication at Cornell, the site aims to enable you, the plain old regular internet user, to:

"create a "perfect" presidential candidate unfettered by a checkered past or foot-in-mouth syndrome. The only stipulation is that the candidate you build must be agreed upon by the other participants on the site. To reach an agreement, you may need to promote your opinions and positions on various issues, or compromise with other users on some points to gain support for the candidate."

The project has only just begun and things are likely to heat up soon. The most interesting pages to date are those set aside for "Issues." These contain entries on affordable local food, education reform, healthcare, and so on. There is also a section labelled "Coalitions" as well as a Donate button (not for cash donations, but for "donating" survey answers when the team conduct analysis of the experiment later on).

The site is based on a hybrid blog and wiki platform, the aim being to get some discussion going about the candidate's policies and character.

This is an interesting project - a nice mix of ideas about sociotechnical design and civic engagement. The WikiCandidate experiment will be the subject of a panel at next week's Politics: Web 2.0 Conference at Royal Holloway, University of London, organised by the New Political Communication Unit. The final conference programme is now published.


APSA Annual Meeting, Chicago: Mobilization and Participation: The Internet 10 Years Later

Posted on Tue, Aug 28, 2007 at 9:58 PM by Andrew Chadwick

I'll be presenting a paper entitled 'Digital Network Repertoires and Organizational Hybridity' to panel 40-8: Mobilization and Participation: The Internet 10 Years Later at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Chicago on Friday August 31st. Panel details on the APSA site here. Hope to see you there if you're in the neighbourhood.

New Statesman New Media Awards

Posted on Wed, Jul 11, 2007 at 10:39 PM by Andrew Chadwick

New Statesman logo

Looking at the list of finalists for this year's New Statesman New Media Awards, I'm impressed by a) the mainstream political entries (Cameron and the Downing Street E-Petitions) and b) what we might call 'non-official but with a mainstream purpose' sites (18 Doughty Street, The Government Says, PlanningAlerts).

The Digg rebellion

Posted on Wed, May 02, 2007 at 11:01 PM by Andrew Chadwick

An amazing day over at the popular news rating site Digg. In response to participants posting the DRM keys for HD-DVD (recently made widely available on the Internet by hackers), and fellow users 'digging' these, the team behind the site started deleting the posts and suspending user accounts. They did this due to a 'take down' notice issued by what the Digg blog refers to as 'the owners of this intellectual property'. This is a body known as the AACS licensing authority.

There then ensued a huge increase in the number of postings of the encryption key, and the number of diggs quickly spiralled out of control, reaching more than 50,000 as of this posting. When the company's founder, Kevin Rose, realised that it was going to prove impossible to delete the posts and suspend even more accounts, essentially destroying the essence of Digg itself, he threw in the towel, and probably settled in for a meeting with the company lawyers.

This seems to be a clear illustration of this: a core of activist posters and commenters are what drive web 2.0 sites. Without their support, good will, and leadership, a site will die.

Blogs about e-campaigning

Posted on Mon, Dec 11, 2006 at 5:17 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Alan Rosenblatt from the Internet Advocacy Center has compiled a useful little list of practitioner blogs about e-campaigning.

See also this interesting post by one of the PhD students in my Department, Nick Anstead.

Edited on: Tue, Dec 12, 2006 10:27 PM

MoveOn moves on from transnational politics?

Posted on Mon, May 22, 2006 at 7:25 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Looking at how MoveOn is developing, attempts to seamlessly integrate the transnational appear to have given way to a much more traditional focus on national politics. The MoveOn peace campaign founded in the aftermath of 9/11 has been gradually downplayed in the organization's public profile. This presents us with some interesting questions around the necessity of establishing transnational 'credentials' as part of constructing successful online networks. Claiming three quarters of a million overseas supporters adds symbolic weight to the campaign, but how many of these supporters were or are truly essential to the predominantly national campaigns MoveOn now organizes?


Posted on Mon, May 08, 2006 at 11:51 AM by Andrew Chadwick

Details on the latest Zapatista FloodNet hacktivist virtual sit-in are here. Over 100,000 participated. See also the story about the denial of service attacks on the site of Save Our State, a right-wing anti-immigration movement.

IPDI PoliticsOnline Conference 2006

Posted on Thu, Apr 06, 2006 at 4:00 PM by Andrew Chadwick

This looks like it was excellent. Maybe I'll have the days free to attend it next year.

Wal-Mart fights back

Posted on Tue, Mar 14, 2006 at 10:41 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Fascinating and quite depressing story in the New York Times about Wal-Mart fighting back by using bloggers to feed other bloggers positive facts about the company.

Deleted Scenes #04: The Uprising in Indonesia

Posted on Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 11:49 AM by Andrew Chadwick

This passage on the role of the Net in the rebellion against the Suharto regime in 1998 didn't appear in the final version of Chapter 06: Interests Groups and Social Movements: E-Mobilization.

An example of how an Internet and technology driven approach to development can have unintended consequences for the political system may be found in Indonesia's troubled transition to electoral democracy during the 1990s. In common with Singapore (and many other South East Asian countries operating according to a 'developmental state' model), during the 1980s, the Indonesian government rolled out an ambitious programme of infrastructural IT and network development. Overseen by President Suharto and led by the activist Minister for Research and Technology, B. J. Habibie, the programme established research networks linking universities and government bodies. By the mid-1990s, the country had a private ISP sector, and growing levels of Internet access. Habibie, who briefly became the country's President following the collapse of the old regime in 1998, had been inspired by a vision of a high-tech Indonesia that would leapfrog its way to economic development. Yet the regime believed that this would occur within the established confines of the Suharto regime's authoritarianism, in which media were censored by the state, their ownership concentrated in the hands of an economic and political elite sympathetic to the regime (Several of Suharto's family owned the major private television stations).

Indonesia not only consists of thousands of islands, making even internal travel difficult, but also its relative isolation in relation to the larger mainland areas in the region has traditionally made it more difficult to establish external links. Ironically, these kinds of communication problems spurred Habibie's development programme to create a large number of publicly subsidised Internet cafes, colloquially named 'warnet' (in reference to 'warung' - traditional Indonesian community meeting places). These proliferated during the mid-1990s, and eventually came to be used by pro-democracy campaigners to communicate their messages away from the official media (Hill and Sen, 2000; Lim, 2003).

By May 1998, censorship in Indonesia had all but collapsed, and the regime had been toppled. The Internet played a major role in the democratic revolution, allowing student rebels to plan their actions, such as the occupation of the Parliament building during May, using email and private bulletin boards. It allowed journalists to publish articles that were cut from the mainstream press by the censors. And it also made it possible for human rights groups in the West to make links with campaigners inside Indonesia. The Net was instrumental, not only in bypassing official censors, but also in overcoming many of the limitations imposed by the geography of the archipelago. The network of warnets were not only important in providing access for Indonesia's poor, they also functioned as important nodes in communication networks beyond the Internet. The latter included critical expatriates who were willing to publish information about the regime on bulletin boards and web sites, as well as intermediary groups such as taxi drivers, newsagents and street traders. Rather than a simple case of an 'Internet revolution', it was the way in which the Internet interacted with pre-existing social spaces that mattered (Lim, 2003: 284).


Lim, M. (2003) 'The Internet, Social Networks and Reform in Indonesia' in Couldry, N. and Curran, J. (eds) Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World (Rowman and Littlefield, Oxford), pp. 273-288.

The political impact of blogs

Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 4:11 PM by Andrew Chadwick

An excellent article by K. Daniel Glover at Beltway Blogroll on the political impact of blogs in the United States. It's packed with good examples, and has an evolutionary perspective that's often lacking in this area. Highly recommended.

For a surprising complement to this, see the recent article by former prime ministerial spinner Alastair Campbell enthusing about the power of the Net to reshape parties. Thanks to my third year student, Kerri Mackay for alerting me to this.

Blogging, smart mobs and the riots in France

Posted on Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 5:36 PM by Andrew Chadwick

There's a good article in the Guardian Media section today by Jeff Jarvis about the role of blogs and other websites in the ongoing riots in Paris and other French cities [free registration required to access Media Guardian online].

There appear to have been some smart mob behaviours associated with the riots.

Of equal significance is the fact that the French minister arguably responsible for making the situation worse bought some ad space with Google - to make sure his side of the story appeared prominently in the form of clickable links when individuals searched for information about the disturbances.

Wake-Up Wal-Mart

Posted on Mon, Nov 07, 2005 at 9:33 AM by Andrew Chadwick

Can you imagine this (particularly the blog and discussion forums) before the Internet?

Wake-Up Wal-Mart

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