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22 Mar

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Whose tweets are these anyway? (What happens when election campaign tweets get deleted?)

March 22, 2013 | By |

Today, there was a bit of a flurry of tweets after the official Twitter account by SPD candidate for chancelor, Peer Steinbrück, sent this tweet:

deleted tweet

… and then deleted it. (Screenshot from Politwoops)

Because it can be hard to read, the tweet says: “Wann hat sich ein Kanzlerkandidat irgendeiner Partei schon mal für Netzpolitik interessiert! Wann? cc @pottblog” (translation: When did any party’s candidate for chancellor have any interest in net politics before? When?)

In general, deleting tweets isn’t considered good style. Fair enough.

Before I continue, full disclosure: I once was an advisor to the federal youth campaign for SPD, back in 2009, and as a student job I worked on the SPD 2005 campaign as well. I don’t have any business relationship with the party now.

So, now that that’s out of the way, I think there are several aspects to look at this.

One, overall etiquette. Should tweets ever be deleted (if so, when is it acceptable), and if they are, should it be marked? I tend to go a pretty pragmatic way: If something’s posted accidentally, delete the tweet or say it in the next tweet. This, and that’s important to stress, doesn’t serve to hide the information, but to help prevent the spreading of information that wasn’t intended to be published. In other words, both the deletion and the clarifying statement serve (IMHO) as a statement of intention: “please don’t spread this, it was an honest mistake and not intended to be published”. If something’s tweeted on purpose but simply wrong, never delete but own up. Also, be aware that no tweets stays deleted, ever, because what’s out there is out there.

Two, if something is tweeted, like in this case obviously, accidentally on one account but was meant for another. (According to Twitwoops, the fantastic services that archives tweets deleted from politicians’ accounts, the tweet in question was deleted within half a minute.) If, in other words, something that was meant to be a tweet from the personal account of a member of the election campaign team that has access to the candidate’s twitter account as is normal and as it should have, then what’s the best next step? Does a tweet, even if by technical/human error sent from a candidate’s account, count as “their tweet”? Frankly I don’t think so.

Here’s the original tweet, from the owner, and surely it’s harmless enough in this context:

Tobias Nehren (Fison) on Twitter

So, I don’t know what the best practice is. But I do know that a bit of common sense helps put this things in context. In my experience as someone who pretty much posts stuff online all day and who’s also been heavily involved in election campaigns where things tend to move very fast, more often than not there’s no intention to hide things but simple, honest mistakes. We’re all human.

09 May

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Drumbeat Berlin

May 9, 2010 | By |

drumbeat

Yesterday Mozilla held an event in Berlin to build ground support for their new open web initiative Drumbeat. For the super-brief version of what Drumbeat is all about, let me quote Mark Surman from the first Drumbeat blog post:

At its simplest, Mozilla Drumbeat is about everyday internet users using technology to make and do things that will keep the web open for the long haul. Diversity will be a critical to this. Drumbeat needs to engage the huge diversity of people who use the web in their work and play. Teachers. Artists. Lawyers. Filmmakers. Children. Everyone. It also needs to reflect — and be shaped by — the diversity of cultures that make up the web. Drumbeat needs to be truly global right from the start.

So with Mark, Henrik Moltke (Drumbeat Project Producer), Allen Gunn and a whole bunch of other crew members, Mozilla brought in the big guns, so to speak. And showed that they’re serious about Drumbeat. This is support building as it should be. The level of enthusiasm and energy was contagious. (And made me feel even worse for coming in way late.) It was a room full of folks from all walks of the web that share a mission: to keep & make the web as open as possible. And in this mission, I guess, is the key to what makes Drumbeat special: rather than an initiative, it felt more like there’s a movement building up.

I’m curious to see how to best get involved, and where this will take me. But trust me, this is going to be big.

Thanks a lot to Mark, Henrik, Allen and all the others for putting all of this together. You guys rock!

12 Oct

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Support Creative Commons (Campaign)

October 12, 2009 | By |

As you might know, I’m a big fan of Creative Commons (CC), a very easy way to share your content online and thus contribute to an ever-growing pool of freely available body of text, picture, videos and music to work with. It’s not a replacement to copyright, but an addition that gives the content creators (that’s you) more rights to share their works and others more rights to use them. Creative Commons is a building block for a free culture.

A few days ago, the annual fundraiser campaign has kicked off. As you can imagine, like many industries, non-profits like Creative Commons have also been hit hard by the economic crisis as they have to rely on donations both by institutions and individuals.

Before getting into the details, though, a quick intro video for those of you not familiar with Creative Commons. A good place to start is the video “A Shared Culture” by filmmaker Jesse Dylan, known for the “Yes We Can” Barack Obama campaign video:

A few brief examples how Creative Commons is relevant to my work:

  • Practically all the images used in this blog are licensed under CC. The blog itself is licensed under CC – with one of the most liberal licenses (CC Attribution). Anybody can use all the content that I created here as long as they point out who it’s from (that’s the “attribution” part), no matter if for non-commercial or commercial uses.
  • My photos on Flickr are all licensed under a slightly more restrictive license (CC Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike), which means anyone can use them as long as they point to me as the creator, but they may only use them in a non-commercial context (because I wouldn’t want a friend of mine ending up in some kind of commercial or anything along those lines), and as long as they share the work based on my photos under similar conditions (thus also contributing to the growing pool of available works).
  • In practically every client project I argue for sharing as much as possible on the web, and usually a Creative Commons license is the easiest, most reliable (and most legally sound) way of doing so.

For different kinds of uses and content, Creative Commons offers me the chance to pick just the right license and keep the rights I want to keep while giving up the ones that aren’t important to me. That’s the main difference between the old model you know from old-school copyright aka “all rights reserved”. With Creative Commons, it’s “some rights reserved”.

The official fundraiser kick-off post has the details on the campaign (and a neat CC shirt motif), Joi Ito has some more background.

So what can you do to support a free culture? You can spread the word, share your content (thus enabling others to build on it while also building your reputation), or donate cash, which helps fund the (small) organization behind the scenes:

Here’s more ways and hands-on tipps on how to support Creative Commons and spread the word. Thanks for your contribution.

19 Sep

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German Election Voter Mobilization Videos

September 19, 2009 | By |

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.)

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