Archive for July, 2008

Citizen Journalism at UnConvention/RNC

by mediachef at 11:30 pm 2008-07-08
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“Look for more social media at the Republican convention, meanwhile, thanks to a “citizen journalism” outfit called The UpTake.

“The video-centric independent-journalism group has figured out a way to anoint anyone with the right kind of cell phone as a kind of video correspondent, with footage streaming live on the UpTake site at

“The UpTake, meanwhile, is helping a local coalition of arts, media and education groups in a Web effort called The UnConvention. That site has solicited videos from anyone with a compelling political message in a project it’s calling “I Approve This Message.” Get details at”

via Pioneer Press

The UnConvention in the news

by Justin Heideman at 10:50 am 2008-07-03
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We’re very proud to have been featured on both KMSP and WCCO’s evening newscasts recently, talking about My Yard Our Message and I Approve This Message. Here are clips from both appearances.



My Yard Our Message open for voting

by Justin Heideman at 12:25 pm 2008-07-01
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Yesterday was the deadline for submitting sign designs to My Yard Our Message. We got a ton of signs over the last few days, putting us just shy of 300 signs total. We’re very happy with that number, and the quality of some of the submissions.

This morning I turned the site off for a little while to turn the voting on. Voting is now running and as of this writing, there are already 1100 votes in the past hour and a half! To vote, we ask you to consider whether or not you’d put the given sign in your front yard.

Vote on Signs

The site is using the django-voting module to handle voting, but I’ve modified it a bit. Instead of digg or reddit-style voting, where a vote up counts for +1, and a vote down counts for +1, a vote down doesn’t negatively impact the vote count. This relates directly to the question, you deciding not to put the sign in your yard doesn’t cancel out someone else deciding to put it in their yard. In this sense, voting “no” doesn’t impact a sign, but it does allow a voter to know they’ve already made up their mind on the sign. But unlike the ballot box, voters can change their mind through the end of our voting period.

Additionally, the order of the signs on the site has been randomized in an attempt to give each sign a fair shake. Odds are signs that are closer to the front of the order may see more votes than those at the end, so the randomziation is unique for each user. The randomization that I see will not be the same as another user. Additionally, voters who view signs anonymously will see a different randomization each day. This is achieved by using each user’s ID for the random seed, or the day of the year for anonymous users.

While it would be great if anonymous users could vote, even with proper protections in place, it is possible the vote could be hijacked by someone with a lot of friends to vote for them. To prevent this, users are required to have an account to vote. We’ve made it really easy to create an account, all that’s needed is an email address. I’m still working on the verification mechanism, so users who sign up today or tomorrow won’t get a verification message from us until then. Giving an email address logs users in immediately, so they can vote right away, but if they don’t eventually verify the email address, we’ll remove their votes.