German Election Voter Mobilization Videos


With only a bit more than a week to the German Bundestagswahl (federal elections), it’s time for a brief recap of the (supposedly viral) videos that have popped up over the last few weeks. Take this post as a starting point as it’s most certainly far from incomplete as of yet. Also, please take into consideration that very likely I saw more of these videos from one side of the political spectrum than the other.

The theme tying these videos together is basically: Every vote counts, so go vote, or you support some non-candidate or another.

Time permitting, I’ll be adding more videos as they’re coming in. Please let me know of others if you know them. Also, thanks to Thomas for a first collection. (I’m still thinking of putting all the US versions right next to them. Could be good fun.)


Life updates: Domains still moving, SPD / Juso election campaign, Internet Bill of Rights


Domain Name ScrabbleJust a brief update on what has been going on here. First up: The move to my new hosting service provider Mediatemple is still going. Mostly this is due to the amount of domains that I had registered on my old account. My old partner in crime Thomas Lacher and I have had this old server for about ten years. And just like a good basement, a server is something that kind of fills up organically. It was time to clean up and throw out a lot of stuff. And once you start digging, you find things that you hadn’t thought abot for a long time but that are valuable or dear in some way nonetheless. This, and the coordination required for transferring domains to several people and domain hosters is taking somewhat longer than I had hoped, but it’s all coming together. Still, this feels like playing domain name scrabble, and this site might be down for a little while if something goes wrong. No worries, we’ll fix it as quickly as possible. There’s plenty of other ways to get in touch. You’ll find one, I’m sure.

Second, great news. In Germany 2009 is called “Superwahljahr”, a super election year. There will a European election, federal election as well as a whole bunch of state and regional elections. (A German list of the elections can be found here.) I’m excited to be part of all this as a strategic consultant to the youth campaigning team of the SPD, the Jusos. I’ll be working directly with Panorama3000, who I’ve been working with a lot lately and who I also share office space with. Since this is a paid gig I want to be completely open about this up front. Also, over the course of the year it will always be an issue of mixing my blog and other personal online accounts with the campaigning activities. This is something that I’ll have to re-consider regularly. From today’s point of view I’ll try to stick to a simple rule of thumb that has always served me very well: Full disclosure at all points. Simple as that. If I find something really cool I’ll talk about it; if I find something particularly bad I’ll talk about it. Mostly I’ll try not to make a big deal out of it, and I’ll always play with open cards on what’s going on and why I’m writing what I’m writing. (Feedback on this? Please share.)

Third, more good news. Max Senges (who I’ve also been friends with for a long time and have worked with quite a bit) has been very active in the Internet Bill of Rights coalition (IBR) and has invited me to join in and help out. The mission of the IBR is incredibly important – roughly speaking, the goal is to write down rights and duties of users (or rather: citizens online). Think United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the digital world. I’ll try to organize the blog and all related activities. (Thanks for the invitation, Max!) This is an open coalition. If digital rights and ethics are something you truly care for, please consider joining this effort. Drop me a line and I’ll hook you up with the folks who know much more about the details than I do at this point.

Image: Domain Name Scrabble by polaroidmemories

Super endorsements: Comic characters for Obama


Somewhat odd, but here you go: Comic character Savage Dragon endorses Obama, or so says the New York TimesThe Moment blog:

The celebrity endorsements have begun! Savage Dragon, a superhero and police officer whose adventures are published by Image Comics, is throwing his hat in the ring for Barack Obama. The news is blared across the cover of issue No. 137, with the green-skinned hero dressed up for the occasion in a black jacket, crisp white shirt and striped red tie.

Savage Dragon endorses Obama, img courtesy NYTimes / Copyright Erik Larsen Image: Copyright Erik Larsen

Do you know examples of other comic characters endorsing presidential candidates? Please share in the comments…

Please note: While I’m writing this, the Image Comics website website seems to be down and on the Savage Dragon site I couldn’t find a hint to any of this; however, I have no reason not to trust the NYTimes on this one.

Downing Street 10 relaunches, goes all Web 2.0


Downing Street 10, the British Prime Minister’s office, has just announced a relaunch of their website. The new website is full of web-two-ishness: Prominent space for video (via Brightcove), Flickr integration, YouTube, Twitter, blog, you name it.

Downing Street 10 Relaunch Screenshot: Downing Street 10 relaunch

As I’m testing it, the intro video about the new site won’t play, but by the looks of it they definitively got the basics all right. The design looks kind of old-school (hint: serif fonts don’t automatically look all respectable & traditional), but overall it seems like a decent job. It’s all mashed, syndicated, aggregated, has del.icio.us and Digg flavors as well as links to Facebook.

The UK has been very good at all things e-democracy, e-participation and all, what with the official Ask the PM via Youtube, or the (not government-run) projects by mySociety.

I’m curious what’s going to change over the first couple of days, there’s certainly some stuff that could be tweaked. (For example, the Facebook links go to pictures or videos on Facebook which at a first glance doesn’t make terribly much sense, unless I’m missing something.) Overall, though, why not more like this? Good stuff.

perspctv: Who’s talking about McCain, Obama?


perspectv visualizes who’s being talked about more: McCain or OBama. Or as TechCrunch calls it: “An Election Mashup That Proves Nothing, But Looks Good Doing It“.

And guess what? It’s just that:

This project presents different perspectives in our world, including that of Mainstream media and user-generated content on the Internet. (…) What we think vs. what they say we think — All the chatter on the Internet, all the traditional news media coverage, and all the pollsters (…) and gives a unique “dashboard” picture of the elections at any one given moment in time, totally un-biased.

It’s fairly simple, according to TechCrunch perspctv just counts how many times the two presidential candidates are mentioned, then creates graphs accordingly. Not too special, but to be fair, pretty cool in a way. Cool: perspctv provides a widget that you can embed in your blogs so you always know who’s twittered about more frequently.

Something that might pop up in the next German elections as well?

How to work The Internets (not!) #1


No 1 of my new series How to work The Internets (not!).

Under the unflattering title “Webtards: Mc Cain And Obama Reps Hold Worst Presidential Debate Ever On Twitter“, Gawker describes John McCain’s campaign video game:

McCain’s game is a sad imitation of Space Invaders, a pixelated smash hit c. 1983, but with pigs in place of the aliens, since it’s about how McCain shoots lasers at pork barrel politics, or something. You just know Obama’s game will be better…

What can I say, they’re right. Here’s the probably lamest campaign video game in U.S. politics:


The Daily Show loves the game, too – jump to ca. 4:17 for the relevant part:


Lesson learned? Assume your potential voters are dumb and/or easily wooed by some cheap-ass video game. (Not!)