Reporting / Community-Building on EveryBlock

Here’s a post I made after reviewing EveryBlock during a breaking news story today:

URL: (Daniel X. O’Neil) (#4601)Headline: Connections among police killings and arsons?Location: 32nd and YeslerThe suspect in the Tacoma police ambush killer was believed to be holed up two blocks away from the site of another police ambush killing on Halloween.Here’s the EveryBlock block page for the street where police killed the guy suspected of murdering four Tacoma police officers:’s the EveryBlock block page for the same address on November 1, 2009– the day after the murder of Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton: police arrested someone else in connection with the Brenton murder: They are treating that incident, as well as the attack on the Charles St. Depot (, as “domestic terrorism”: proximity of all these locations, as well as the similarity of the attacks, makes me wonder if they are all related.Trying to make more connections.

POLITICAL EMAIL: I Endorse David Hoffman

Today I composed this email on behalf of the Hoffman campaign:

Dear Supporter:

Yesterday was a big day for our campaign. Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle, State Representative Lisa Hernandez, and other leaders in the Latino community announced their support for David Hoffman’s bid for the U.S. Senate.

The leaders supporting David join a growing list of people from all over Illinois who support him.

They’re not riding the prevailing winds. They have the independence to speak out and challenge the insiders and special interests in Washington. They know that David will bring our voice and our concerns to the table and make sure the interests of taxpayers and families are represented.

Please forward this email right now to at least one voter in Illinois. Let them know you endorse David Hoffman for the U.S. Senate.

That’s how we’re going to win this race– with individual Illinoisans standing up to say they’ve had enough with politics as usual. We need your voice– your endorsement– as well.

Yesterday, City Clerk del Valle said, “David Hoffman stands out in this race. He combines the progressive values that will move this country forward with a record of independence and integrity. He will stand up to the special interests and fight to reform health care, education, and the banking and financial services industry.”

These Illinois community leaders join a growing list of Hoffman endorsers:

  • State Senator Susan Garrett
  • State Senator Jeff Schoenberg
  • State Representative Karen May
  • State Representative Lisa Hernandez
  • State Representative Elaine Nekritz
  • Judge Abner Mikva
  • Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle
  • Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Jesse Ruiz
  • Alderman Joe Moore
  • Naperville Democratic Party Chairman Tom Wronski
  • Former Alderman Bill Singer
  • Former Alderman Marty Oberman
  • Former Alderman Dick Simpson
  • Lake County Board Member Michelle Feldman
  • Kane County Board Member Jennifer Laesch
  • McHenry County Board Member Paula Yensen
  • 6th Congressional District State Democratic Central Committeeman, President DuPage Democratic Club Bob Wagner
  • Highland Park City Councilmember Steven Mandel
  • Highland Park City Councilmember Nancy Rotering
  • Highland Park City Councilmember Jim Kirsch
  • Former Highland Park Mayor Dan Pierce
  • Northfield Township Trustee Carol Bluestein
  • Northfield Township Trustee Mary Reynolds
  • Northfield Township Clerk Laura Fine
  • Northfield Township Collector Doug Gereleman
  • Glenview Trustee Scott Britton
  • West Deerfield Township Trustee Ron Schwartz
  • Collinsville Unit 10 School Board Member Gary Kusmierczak

We need your endorsement, too. Forward this email to your family and friends in Illinois with the subject line “I Endorse David Hoffman”. If you are on Facebook or Twitter post, “I Endorse David Hoffman” and link them to our Endorsements page.Thanks for your support.

Daniel X. O’Neil
New Media Director
Hoffman for Illinois

P.S. Show your support right now by forwarding this message to your family and friends with the subject line “I Endorse David Hoffman”!

Magazine: Some of My Writing Featured in Emigre 70

Today I received my signed copy of Emigre 70, a retrospective on one of the most influential graphic design magazines of the last century. I wrote for issues #37 — cover essay, “Joint Venture” (1996), #38 The Authentic Issue (1996), #41 The Magazine Issue (1997), and #46 – Fanzines and the Culture of DIY (1998).

Emigre 70

Some of that work is featured in this issue.I’m also quoted on the inside front cover here:

I say that copyright is the mechanism by which underground people or independent people or people without resources can create a stable entity. There’s only so much land in this world, but you can wake up every single day and create brand new intellectual property. That’s beautiful. Dan O’Neil, Emigre #36, 1996.

Emigre 70 > I'm quoted on the inside front cover.

Presentation:”Hacking the City”at A+DEN National Conference

Today I spoke at the 2009 A+DEN National Conference with my colleague John Tolva. John gave a devastatingly comprehensive take on how read/write data will transform how we interact with our cities. My portion focused on various civic projects. Here’s the description from the program:

Tolva and O’Neil will discuss city spaces as platforms that bring together all aspects of a built environment: physical, digital, social, and political. How do digital tools augment our understanding of the cities we live in and how can they make us more engaged teachers, students, and citizens? What are the larger implications of new technologies for our conception of how the built environment is actually experienced?

Presentation to the A+DEN ( Architecture+Design Education Network) conference in Chicago, November 6, 2009. More here on the A+DEN site.

Note: the lion’s share of this presentation (slides 1 – 69) are by John Tolva. This PDF does not do it justice. Here it is as a movie.

LAUNCH: New Web Site for US Senate Candidate David Hoffman

Today I launched a new Web site for US Senate candidate David Hoffman.

David Hoffman, Democrat for US Senate_1256839790012

Here’s the blog post I wrote for the launch:

October 27, 2009

Tour Our New Web Site

Today we launched our new campaign Web site. Here’s a look at the features and content. Most importantly, we’d like invite you to contribute to it in meaningful ways.

David on the issues

We’ve heard from lots of voters that they’re ready to back a candidate that is not associated with politics as usual, but they want to hear more about what he’ll do as our next Senator. Here’s what David has to say about Financial Regulation, Health Care, and many more important issues of the day. If there is an issue that you believe should be addressed, write to us at

See David on video

David has been storming the state and appearing on television, talking about the issues and letting people know where he stands. If you want to get to know more about David, you can see him talking on Chicago’s West Side about how he has fought gun violence, talking to Champaign County Democrats about corruption in Illinois, and an interview with Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight.

Join the conversation with Twitter

Lots of campaigns tweet, with one-way posts that link to press releases. We see that Twitter can be an essential source for organized discussion on the Web. We highlight three types of tweets right on our homepage– from the campaign, what people are saying in the #hoffman4IL hashtag, and what people are asking using @hoffman4IL. This allows anyone on Twitter to publish directly to our the bottom of every page on our Web site, including the homepage. If you don’t have a Twitter account or have any idea what it is, they have a great video and other helpful information on their site. Please note that we welcome all voices here, but we won’t tolerate hateful, violent, spam, or otherwise off-topic tweets. Don’t worry– if we remove your right to publish to our site, you’ve still got the whole rest of the World Wide Web to work with. We’re interested in hearing about the issues that matter to you and other Illinoisans. Please join us!

Flickr feed

We think we’ve integrated our Flickr account pretty nicely. We plan more ways to show support for David and engage photographers from all over Illinois in the future. We’re a member of Illinois-oriented photo groups on Flickr like Enjoy Illinois.


One of the challenges for a campaign like ours is getting the word out about David. The more people know about him, the more they like him. So if you visit our site and are signed in to Facebook, you may see people you know who support the campaign. Join them on Facebook now.

In real life

We know that the world doesn’t begin and end on the Internet. Our Web site is just one tool for us in winning the election in February. We need your help– here on the Web, door-to-door, person-to-person. Please volunteer to help out in any way you can.

Contact us

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me at any time–

Daniel X. O’Nei
lNew Media Director
Hoffman for Illinois

And a pretty comprehensive blog post covering a major new feature:

Adventures In Campaign Twittering

As some may have noticed, our campaign coverage has taken a back-seat to some other issues in the past month.  Expect it to ramp back up at the beginning of next week.In the meantime, those interested in the intersection of social media and political campaigns should check out a feature on U.S. Senate David Hoffman’s newly-redesigned website.
First some background: From a technological standpoint, one of the notable aspects of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was the large user community that sprung up around its website,  Millions of users regularly flocked there because the campaign allowed them to actually publish blog posts and interact with each other on the site.
Now, in the wake of his victory, lower-level campaigns are wondering how they can build similar engagement online.  Most don’t have the resources to moderate the type of community built by Obama’s new media team.  Moreover, there just isn’t the same degree of interest in congressional or statewide races as you see during a presidential campaign.
So what other options are out there?
Many campaigns are actively using Twitter to keep followers up-to-speed on the latest developments (see Alexi Giannoulias, Cheryle Jackson, and Dan Hynes as prime examples on the Democratic side).  Now, with his new website, Hoffman is trying to up the ante by encouraging and exposing the interaction that happens on Twitter.
Towards the bottom of his homepage, his campaign has devoted an entire horizontal section to 1) tweets from the @hoffman4IL account, 2) tweets about Hoffman using the #hoffman hashtag, and 3) replies to his account for other users.What this means is that anyone with a Twitter account can write a message (assuming it is within the realm of civil discourse) that appears on the Hoffman homepage.  They just have to reply to his account or use the #hoffman hashtag.  Already one user has asked about Hoffman’s position on the “responsibility to encourage and fund the arts.”  And they received a response within an hour.It’s a creative idea and something to keep an eye on.

Here’s some more coverage:

David Hoffman On the Series of TubesIL-SEN Thu Oct 29 2009

The Illinois techie-political blogosphere is abuzz about former Chicago Inspector General and current US Senate candidate David Hoffman’s new website redesign, which includes the ability for users to post directly to the candidate’s website through Twitter hash tags–it also looks pretty damn good. Head over and check it out.

That sort of interactivity, which the Obama campaign allowed with its user pages (“”) is going to be both a major innovation and a major challenge for campaigns from here on out. How do you allow for the public to interact and take some ownership of the site without risking losing control, getting off message, or getting high jacked? Looks like the Hoffman campaign is interested in testing those waters. Good for them.

Panel Discussion:”Daily Urbanism”at Open Cities conference

Today I participated in a panel for the Open Cities conference in Washington, DC. The topic was “Daily Urbanism”. Here’s the description from the program:

A good infographic is worth a thousand words. Data visualization can help bridge the gap between government projects and citizen engagement. Panelists will discuss opportunities to use data to better understand cities and guide regional policies.

Here’s some of the points we covered:

  • It may seem like automatic data, but there are millions of humans behind it
  • People reporting potholes, cops coming to the aid of citizens, building inspectors crawling through job sites
  • Represents immense human labor and many citizen interactions
  • Getting represented here is as important as being represented in the voting booth

POLITICAL WRITING: Blog Post re: Endorsement of Opponent

Here’s a writing sample for persuasive political writing:

Leading With His Chin

by: Daniel X. O’Neil | 9/24/2009

The National GOP is champing at the bit to make the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Illinois all about former Governor Rod Blagojevich. This morning, the Alexi Giannoulias campaign is serving them up a free punch, trotting out an endorsement from the union leadership that was Blago’s biggest supporter and whose president was completely enmeshed in the controversy over Rod’s attempt to sell this Senate seat. (He even appears on the infamous Blagojevich wiretap!)

You can bet Giannoulias will sit silently on the dais and smile broadly as he receives the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leadership, just as he did when the Blagojevich controversy first surfaced. He doesn’t rock the boat, and he’s no doubt excited about stepping up to the same trough that netted Blagojevich more than a million dollars in campaign cash.

It’s not the janitors, health care workers, security personnel and other hard-working SEIU members who are the problem. It’s not even the idea that the SEIU endorses candidates and puts its political power to use. We support the rank-and-file and their agenda for social justice. We take issue with the SEIU leadership– the same leadership who once stood next to and endorsed Blagojevich as his strongest champions– the same leader who was allegedly captured on a Federal wiretap having behind-the-scenes discussions with the Governor about his cynical and outrageous attempt to leverage this very Senate seat (the one he called “[bleeping] golden”) for his own personal and political advantage.

This kind of merry-go-round involving the same cozy insiders doing the same political dance is what’s wrong with Illinois politics. This is why David Hoffman– a true independent corruption-fighter with no ties to the scandals of the past– is running to be our senator. We deserve better. The SEIU members deserve better. David stands with them.

The National Republicans who are looking to take the President’s Senate seat next year are going to have a good morning with this endorsement.  But come February 2, the people of Illinois will have a choice between more politics as usual and turning the page.  As the Democratic nominee for this Senate seat, David Hoffman will take the corruption issue and Rod Blagojevich’s dirty dealings off the table.  Then, the Republicans will have to run on the issues – and that’s a contest they can’t win.

Leading With His Chin