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New tools: Constituent management software

Back when I was a San Francisco City Hall reporter, I saw lots of little pink pads in lawmaker's offices. They were printed with a phone call message form and interns ran them back and forth from front office to back and stacked them up in tidy organizers.

Lawmaking may get most of the press attention, but consistent constituent service is the hallmark of a truly successful government office. Staffers spend most of their time answering questions, following up with departments, and otherwise making sure the people who voted for the boss or might in the future get what they need out of their government.

But those pink pads just don't cut it, and neither does a spreadsheet or email folder. Tracking issues and followup effectively in an age where tweets and emails can initiate a new requests takes sophisticated constituent management software. For the past several months, I've been working with iConstituent, which focuses exclusively on government communications and efficiency software tools - unlike other products that try to pick up government business for tools designed for sales teams. Can we make government better through software? I think so.


Phone appends with Accurate Append

I've got a new post up about how data append vendor Accurate Append can help with data challenges, including email appends and phone appends. You can read the whole thing here.Ā 



Vote by Mail, No ID Required

Want to avoid voter ID issues at the polls this November? Absentee registration for vote by mail is a great solution in many states where IDs are not required for VBM. States that don't require IDs for VMB include: Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Alaska and Oklahoma. To make registration for vote by mail simple, Debra Cleaver of Long Distance Voter has created a tool for folks to sign up for VBM in 50 states. You can use it on my site by accessing this simple vote-by-mail signup widget.

Keep reading if you'd like to put a widget on your own site.

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Hmm. I Didn't Sign up for ANY of These Lists

End of quarter means so much undesired political fundraising email. And the subject lines just get sadder and sadder.

All yesterday, reverse chrono (resisting, mostly, an overwhelming urge to go all MST3K, but you should feel free):

"Deadline EXTENDED"

"2 hours left: I need your help"

"please adriel"

"Friend, we're PLEADING with you"

"Holy cow"

"We're on the clock. Donate before 11:59 p.m."

"Adriel, can you give?"

"Time is now - Help"

"17 more in California?"

"Just 6 Hours Left to Help Us Meet Out Goal!"

"bad feeling"

"In just a few hours"

"EVERYONE has emailed you"

"Big Endorsement Yesterday: Sacramento Bee!"

"Brush your teeth"

"Now's the time" (From "midnight@")

"FWD: We're all very proud"

"I'll ask directly"

"Too close to call"

"No time to wait"

"Quick check"

"Before midnight"

"FW: Final deadline tonight"

"we're downright PLEADING"

"FW: today after work?"

"Can you match?"

"Last chance, Tammy needs our help"

"Fox News PANIC ATTACK"

"Literally lying"

"Gagnier Countdown 12, 10, 11..." (OK, I did sign up for this one)

"11 hours and counting"

"Why all the email?" (Please, make it stop)

"Last chance to help"

"We were Winning!"

" " (really?)

"President Clinton's urgent warning:"

"The tipping point to save the Senate?"

"What the Governor said" (Not my state, not at all)

"New GOP Smear Campaign Again Me: I'm 'Unethical'"

"we're begging now"

"We're all very proud"

"Scrambling: Need you now"

"re: the urgency of now"

"Don't let them hijack our elections"

"Can you give on Debate-slash-Deadline Day?" (why no "/"?)

"Five weeks to go, three ways to help"

"On the Road Towards the Deadline"

"Can you help before midnight tonight?"

"absolutely urgent"

"When I see your name" (No, Bill, when I see yours)

"Reason to cheer"

"I'll keep this short"

How was your end of quarter?


Goodbye Facebook, You Landline of the Internet

Leaving Facebook has kind of become routine for me. I really despise the social network and its crass commodification of interpersonal communication. Quitting Facebook is also a great way to reset its mind-bending newsfeed. Yet it keeps sucking me back - for an easy connection to my family, for posts from my friends from former cities, for logins to my favorite sites and apps. It reminds me of birthdays.

But like cable TV and the landline phone, it's time to drop this utility.

See,Ā between a high, solid wall and the egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg. SoĀ Facebook's Real Name crackdown on drag queensĀ is this time my impetus for leaving. It also helps that one of the most productive, empathetic and amazing people I work with and call a friend lives successfully without Facebook (really, when you're a social media junkie, this is how seriously you think about a decision like this).Ā 

I've also watched the rise of chat apps with great interest. If you want to reach me on WeChat, Line, Viber or WhatsApp (this isn't a Facebook corporate boycott, this is a rejection of the Facebook product), or even call or text me, my cell phone number is 925-895-3744. And I'm almost everywhere, as adrielhampton or adrielh: on Skype,Ā Ello, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr. Or just email me at adriel@ adrielhampton.com or wiredtoshare.com.

My life is on the internet, and it's mine. Fuck a fake friend, Facebook.

And, a little history:

Ted Nguyen's video interview from one of the previous times I quit Facebook -Ā http://www.tednguyenusa.com/why-are-social-media-experts-quitting-facebook/

On Google+, Identity and the Corporation -Ā http://www.wiredtoshare.com/sl

Identity+: When Corporations and the Social Mob Determine Who You Can Be -Ā http://www.wiredtoshare.com/identity

Google+: Isolating the individual -Ā http://www.wiredtoshare.com/isolate

See you around.


Productivity hacks for handfuls of new business card contacts

business_cards.jpgWhen I go out to a networking event or conference, I put a stack of business cards in my pocket and go hard until they're gone. Business cards, like email, remain an essential networking and organizing tool, but they are also really messy in this digital world and can end up in stacks on your desk or kitchen counter.Ā 

I wanted to make the most out of business card contacts so went on a hunt for productivity tools. There are lots of options out there, but what I landed on is leaps and bounds ahead of other options.

  1. Download the FullContact Business Card Reader App for iOS or Android.

  2. Set up a FullContact account.

  3. Create a new spreadsheet in your primary Google Apps account and add the following column headers (these are a bit flexible (and designed for my imports into NationBuilder's community organizing system) but you'll want most of them:Ā First name; middle name; last name; company; title; website; work email; address city; address zip; address state; address1; address country; work phone; mobile phone; Home phone; Other phone; fax; tags (this is how I use FullContact's note); Twitter URL; Facebook URL; About Me URL; External ID

  4. Create an account with Zapier.com and use this template to great a zap that will sync your FullContact cards with your spreadsheet: http://zpr.io/Rb3Q

Ā 

After you've finished the setup (about 30 minutes that will save you hours and hours of data entry later), you can snap a picture of any cards you pick up, they will be transcribed into FullContact, and automatically synched to your spreadsheet. You can then download a csv of that spreadsheet and import it into any contact management system of your choice.


Always on the side of the egg

"Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.

"Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand with the egg. ...

"Each of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul enclosed in a fragile shell. This is true of me, and it is true of each of you. And each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high, solid wall. The wall has a name: It is The System. ...

"We are all human beings, individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called The System. To all appearances, we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong - and too cold. If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others' souls and from the warmth we gain by joining souls together."

~ Haruki Murakami


Bursting out of the dating time capsule

I'm single after 17 years. It's going to be OK. So let's get on with it.

I was married before I could legally go into a bar. And the internet's been good to me (I did have a friend in my early 20s who met his wife online, back when that was weird).

So I've got an OkCupid, a Match.com, and a Tinder. I don't exactly know what I want out of romantic life next, but I know I'm interested in dating and I need to meet people I don't work with or who aren't from my kids' swim club. It's been a few weeks in the online dating pool and I've learned that it's hell. Female friends advise me on photos where my intense eyes and bald head don't create a serial killer vibe. Male friends talk about the pure numbers game that's meeting someone in a bar or on OkCupid.

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How I lost 72 lbs. in less than a year

People ask me how I lost so much weight, so fast. The first 20 lbs. weren't really noticeable. That's what I call my "startup weight," the mass I put on quickly when I transitioned three years ago from a commuter job that had me walking at least a mile a day to living seven days a week out of my home office.Ā 

The next 50 lbs. were more impressive. "It's like a whole piece of you is gone!" remarked a coworker recently. 72 lbs. is my seven year old son and one of our cats. It's a hell of a lot of weight.

Skinny people ask me how I did it, which always seems weird, because I've still got a ways to go to really be where I want to be. But I'm in the best shape I've been - better in a lot of ways - since I was 21. I hit my 2014 goal here in May. The weight has just started to pour off - 25 lbs. in just the last eight weeks. And there's been a healthy pattern to it that's not been all that hard.Ā 

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