Status

The #EmptySeat; Google Trends in Iowa trend to Bernie; ranking desirability on Tinder; and more.


  • Tech and the presidentials: On Twitter, the #EmptySeat hashtag was a powerful counterpoint during President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night, with hundreds of people sharing the names and pictures of family members they’ve lost to gun violence.

  • Google Trends reports that during the speech, the #2 question most being asked about President Obama was “Who is sitting behind Obama?”

  • The Rebel Alliance got @POETUS to deliver a state of the union speech, too.

  • Speaking of Google Trends, search interest in Bernie Sanders has overtaken interest in Hillary Clinton dramatically in Iowa as polls show the Democratic race tightening there.

  • MoveOn.org Political Action has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, with what its executive director Ilya Sheyman says was a “record-setting 78.6 percent of 340,665 votes cast” by its membership. Hillary Clinton got 14.6 percent of the vote, and 5.9 percent favored no endorsement. The group says it has more than 43,000 members in Iowa and more than 30,000 in New Hampshire.

  • Brave new world: Taking a page from Gary Shteyngart’s satirical novel Super Sad True Love Story, the dating app Tinder has an internal scoring system ranking how desirable each user is, Austin Carr reports for Fast Company.

  • A New York state assemblyman, Matthew Titone, has proposed what appears to be the nation’s first ban on the sale of smartphones using encryption, Tim Cushing reports for TechDirt.

  • Sharing and organizing: A new report from RSA on the sharing economy says it sees good news ahead. As Brhmie Balaram writes, “we are seeing the development of sharing platforms that are co-operative and decentralised in nature, and able to forgo intermediaries completely with the help of ‘blockchain’ technology. While these platforms are in their infancy, they hold promise for workers who will be able to truly free themselves from under the thumb of a middleman and fully retain their earnings.”

  • Greenpeace’s MobLab has just released The Mobilisation Cookbook, a guide to organizing “people-powered” campaigns.

  • Life in the golden age: Reflecting on the announcement by Mark Zuckerberg that he is donating 99 percent of his Facebook shares to, what, an LLC? charity? trying to influence public policy, philanthropy wonk Lucy Bernholz says it’s high time we clarified the differences between charity, politics and investing.

  • “What do you do with your billions when you become dynastically wealthy in your 20s?” That’s the question behind Felix Salmon’s bracing and sympathetic dissection of Chris Hughes’ failure at The New Republic, written for rival site Fusion.