I had the opportunity to learn about some awesome tech stuff happening in politics, advocacy, and government yesterday evening at a DC Tech Meetup. For those not familiar with the group, the DC Tech Meetup “convenes technologists, entrepreneurs, investors and the broader innovation community regularly to learn and share. Each month, 800+ innovators gather to see demos, launch products and meet their future co-founders, partners and funders.”
The event featured three groups of three to four speakers/demos, followed by a short Q & A session. I want to highlight a few things that I thought were really cool.
Provides an extensive listing of events happening in the DC area, as well as a weekly email (Weekbook) and job postings (Jobwonk). As a policynerd, I will admit that I get excited when I see the Weekbook email in my inbox.
I really liked the demo of this site, despite the issues experienced due to the Internet connection. The site lets you track what folks on your lists are saying on social media. You can filter lists into smaller segments, search for key words, find and get to know your most influential contacts, and more. Attentive.ly officially launches on September 25th. You can contact them for a demo, or subscribe for a free 1 – month trial on the website.
A project of Code for America, Textizen is a “service to help city officials, community leaders, and local organizations get feedback from the public via SMS to make more data-driven, representative decisions.” Basically, you create a survey in which you ask open ended, multiple choice and/or yes/no questions. You can ask additional questions (texted back after first response) or follow up questions (triggered by certain responses), for a total of 5 questions per survey. You then advertise your survey, hopefully in a way that draws attention and engages with your audience. Once the ads are live, you can track responses and analyze data. All I can say is I love this idea.
Two other ideas that I love – an app that gives you information about political ads and customized email or text alerts that tell you what government is doing around an issue that you care about or a piece of legislation you’re interested in. Both of these awesome projects are brought to you by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing government openness and transparency.