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Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Why We Love Twitter

Jacob iChat

That’s me on the big screen (from Los Angeles) having an iChat about Why Tuesday? and American voter participation with Diana Laufenberg’s high school juniors (in Philadelphia) last week. You can read more about our chat, and how we met on Twitter, on Diana’s blog. Here’s a preview:

Last Tuesday (how fitting), Jacob iChatted in at the end of the school day to 60 juniors all jammed into my classroom. They spent the next 45 minutes trading ideas and questions about voting, civic motivations and US history. It was spectacular. When we debriefed on Thursday, many of the kids felt like this was a wonderful way to ‘have class’. A majority of hands went up when I asked if they would like me to try and arrange for other experts to iChat in. When I asked them what they liked about the iChat, they were most impressed that during their conversation with Jacob, he didn’t just talk *at* them. They genuinely felt like he was interested in their ideas and the process of sharing thoughts, rather than just hearing himself talk. (so good)

Be sure to follow me, Why Tuesday? and Diana on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

VIDEO: Why Tuesday? At 140Conf L.A.

Why Tuesday? at 140Conf

Last month, as I let you know in advance here, I participated in a panel at the 140 Characters Conference at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. The panel was called Hollywood Politics: The Making of a Twitter Cause Celeb and it was moderated by blogger Maegan Carberry.

We talked about how, in Maegan’s words, “Twitter has allowed real life celebrities and the newly created class of Twitter celebrities to participate in the political process.” My co-panelists were Variety Managing Editor Ted Johnson, Causecast director of strategic partnerships James Sutandyo and Participant Media’s Wendy Cohen.

I tried to stress how the work we do at Why Tuesday? towards increasing voter participation and turnout in elections goes hand-in-hand with technology like Twitter. Watch the complete panel discussion and read a recap some of my main points after the jump. (more…)

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Why Tuesday? At 140Conf L.A.


Greetings to those of you finding your way here by way of the 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) at the Kodak Theatre, home of the Oscars and if you’re not new here, our video coverage of the 2007 CNN Democratic Debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, in Los Angeles. I’m speaking today at 3:35PM PT on the panel Hollywood Politics: The Making of a Twitter Cause Celeb. My co-panelists are Wendy Cohen from Participant Media and Ted Johnson from Variety, and it’s being moderated by blogger Meagan Carberry.

First thing’s first, I hope you’re already interacting with me via Why Tuesday? on Twitter. If you’re not, please start now.

For those of you that have no idea what the #140conf is, here are some details:

At the #140conf events, we look at twitter as a platform and as a language we speak. Over time it will neither be the only platform nor the only language. #140conf is not an event about microblogging or the place where people share twitter “tips and techniques” but rather where we explore the effects of the emerging real-time Internet on Business.

The original scope of #140conf was to explore “the effects of twitter on: Celebrity, “The Media”, Advertising and (maybe) Politics.” Over time the scope expanded to include Sports, Music, The Arts, Sciences and more. Given the location of #140conf:LA, this event will have a special focus on the use of twitter in the Entertainment Industry.

American voter participation ranks near the bottom of all countries in the world. Why Tuesday? was founded in 2005 to honor the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and make the state of America’s voting system an issue our elected officials cannot afford to avoid. In 2006, our co-founder Bill Wachtel started the Get Out The Why? contest, seizing on the emergence of YouTube in the political scene to put candidates and elected officials on the spot about election reform by asking them one simple question: why do we vote on Tuesday, smack in the middle of the work week?

That’s how I got involved with Why Tuesday?, and after meeting with Bill, we decided to go a step further and make Why Tuesday? not just a 501(c)3 that advocates a dialogue about election reform, but one that forces the issue by using social media. We put our heads together with Joe Trippi, who linked us up with the folks at Echo Ditto and Jim Brayton. On September 25th, 2007, we relaunched the website based around the Why Tuesday? Candidate Challenge. We set out to get every 2008 presidential candidate on the record, on video, about voting in America, and we did (including President Obama and Senator McCain).

From the moment we relaunched the site, Twitter was a part of our platform. At first we weren’t sure how to use it, but looking back, it provided a memorable scrapbook of the 2008 campaign and as Twitter developed, so did our use of it. I tweeted before and my interview with President Obama at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and from a horse-drawn carriage outside the ABC News debate in Manchester, New Hampshire.

As the campaign progressed, we joined forces with a major coalition of nonprofits and news organizations to be a part of the Twitter Vote Report, a tool designed specifically to find voting hot spots on Election Day. This complimented nicely our participation in Video Your Vote, on which we partnered with PBS and YouTube to create the largest library of polling place video ever. Every video was marked on a map, and the highlights were aired on PBS on Election Day. Perhaps this year, the two efforts can combine. One thing is for sure, there’s lots of room for improvement in our voting system, and coverage of it, and Twitter will certainly be a part.

Photo of the Kodak Theater via patrick kiteley on Flickr.

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Lever Voting, The NYT, and Twitter

NYT Lever Voting Picture

Props to New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee for using Twitter to follow up on a cool voting machines story.

On May 24th I noticed her article about New York’s “love affair” with lever voting machines. New York is the only state in the Union to still use this technology, and Lee’s article outlined the debate over whether or not keeping the machines around is a good or a bad thing. But one thing was left unresolved in her article: which counties in New York would be ditching the machines in favor of optical-scan systems. So I sent her a tweet to see if she had an update.

@WhyTuesday? to @jenny8lee

A few days later, I also tweeted her with an article saying that 16 counties were losing lever voting.

@WhyTuesday to @jenny8lee #2

Ah, the power of Twitter. The next day, Lee tweeted me back saying my tweet had inspired her to do an update to her story to see what New York City’s plans were!

Jenny 8. Lee Response

The update was that New York City was resisting New York State’s push for an optical-scan pilot program and would be sticking with the lever voting machines. The reasoning?

“Participation in the pilot program proposed by the State Board of Elections is not authorized by state law,” said Gregory C. Soumas, the Democratic elections board commissioner for Manhattan. “Any expenditures for voting systems incurred pursuant to the state board’s pilot program are not authorized by law.”

You can tweet with us too. Follow Why Tuesday? on Twitter by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Twittering Behind The Scenes At The Debate

Our in-debate coverage was more of a live-twitter than a live-blog. Here’s a sampling:

Debate Twitter

If you don’t follow us on Twitter, do it now. As my latest tweet said, we got tons of great interviews to cut for you, and we’ll be burning the midnight oil to do so — all in the name of strengthening our democracy by increasing voter participation.

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Twittering Bill Nelson on Election Reform

This morning I woke up to watch U.S. Senator Bill Nelson talk to Wolf Blitzer about his recently-proposed election reform plan, and I found myself transcribing their chat, tweet by tweet, as it went along:


If you don’t follow us on Twitter, start now! It’s one of many ways you can stay connected with our efforts to make voting as secure, reliable and accessible as possible.

About Us

Why Tuesday? is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout and participation in elections... More

The Answer

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote... More

Recent Comments

Patrick, France is a post-Christian secular country. Relatively few of them attend church, and voting on Sunday does not interfere with their religious practices, because most of the population is not religious...

Posted by John on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

In France they last voted on a Sunday. France is despite the Bourbon legacy a largely Catholic country, yet they vote on Sunday...

Posted by Patrick on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

I think weekend voting would make the most sense, as people wouldn't have tu run home after work or wake up early to hit the polling stations beforehand.

Posted by Zander on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?