An App That Makes It Easy to Pester Your Congress Member

Joe Trippi pioneered the use of social media as a fundraising tool. As campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean in 2004, he started a trend that has reinvented that way politicians run for office. But he believes that many politicians are still missing out on the power of the internet once they’re elected.

“There’s been a lot of focus on winning campaigns, but there’s been less focus on governing,” Trippi says. “There are a lot of tools out there for campaigns to talk to voters, but not as many looking at how to give citizens and voters more impact on actual elected leaders in Congress.”

‘There’s been a lot of focus on winning campaigns, but there’s been less focus on governing.’

That’s why Trippi is working with an internet startup called Countable, which seeks to give citizens a greater voice in national politics. The company’s online service, which launches to the public today, gives you a simple and concise overview of the bills your national representatives are debating, and it lets you instantly send emails to these representatives, telling them how you would like them to vote.

Countable joins a growing wave of online tools that can improve the dialogue between citizens and representatives, including Madison, which lets you add your thoughts to both proposed bills and existing policies, and ThinkUp, a tool the White House uses to gauge popular sentiment through social media. The new service is most similar to Democracy OS, which lets governments and non-profits set up websites where people can discuss issues and vote on particular topics. But instead of building a platform that government operations must install on their own computer servers, Countable is offering a ready-made service.

In other words, you don’t have to wait for your representatives to adopt anything. All you have to do is sign up and start sending your thoughts to Congress.

WIRED

Politics in Plain English

Countable was founded by Peter Arzhintar and Bart Myers. The pair previously founded the web TV company SideReel, which they sold in 2011. “We were talking about what to do next, and we’re both passionate about politics,” says Myers, who was also involved in the Dean campaign in 2004. “We were interested in what happened with campaign finance reform and SOPA, but we were disappointed with the tools that were out there to drive advocacy and let the average voter to get involved.”

They noticed that there were plenty of sites where you can find lists of bills being debated by Congress, but understanding those bills usually required quite a bit of specialized knowledge. They decided that one of the best ways to improve the political process would be to simply create a site that explained each bill that the House and Senate is voting on in plain English. So they built Countable.

For now, you need a Facebook account to use the new service. Countable taps your Facebook profile information to determine your name, location, and your national representatives. It then shows you the next piece of legislation your representatives are expected to vote on, with a short summary of the bill and a list of pros and cons. You can click “yea” or “nay” to automatically send an e-mail to your representatives, or you can “skip” it. You can also click on the bill’s name to pull up more details, including voting activity, costs, links to media coverage, and the full text of the bill.

Countable then keeps track of how your representatives vote on bills compared to the way you wanted them to vote, giving you a “compatibility ranking” for each one. But the company will also use this data to target adverting.

The startup just closed its seed funding round, and it’s now working on an iOS app, which Myers says should launch in about a month. So things are just getting started, and the company plans to add more tools to the service in the future, such as the ability to get voting recommendations from advocacy groups that you trust, ask your friends how you should vote, or suggest changes to a bill. It may eventually cover state level politics as well.

It’s All in the Details

One of the biggest challenges the company faces is providing enough information for citizens to develop informed opinions, without overwhelming them with details. “Fortunately, most pieces of legislation can be reasonably straight forward,” Myers says. “It’s when you get into complicated legislation with different political motivations associated with it that things get hard.”

For example, politicians often add amendments to bills that contain additional regulations or spending unrelated to the bill in question. Myers says that Countable will post updates to bills that have such riders. “Being able to call that out is actually a benefit in what we do,” he says.

The company is hiring writers from a variety of backgrounds, including politics and marketing, to ensure that the content is both accurate and understandable. Myers says the company strives to offer a balanced view of the pros and cons of each piece of legislation. “The editorial team represents multiple different political view points, but it will never be perfect,” he admits. To improve develop the editorial process, the company is also advised by former Reuters News publisher Andrew Goldner.

‘It’s hard not to worry about a company that is compiling dossiers on people’s positions on every single bill in Congress.’

The other issue is e-mailing your representatives may not be that effective. And since Countable doesn’t do much to verify that you are who you say you are, a lobbyist or advocacy group could sign-up for multiple accounts and make it look like constituents feel more strongly about an issue than they actually do. But Myers says this isn’t much an issue, at least for now. “When talking with representatives, it’s not a major concern,” Myers says. “You can already e-mail your representatives without verifying your identity.”

Instead, he says, representatives are just keen to find a way to gather data from constituents in a new way. “Most of them would still prefer to get feedback by phone,” he says. “But millennials can barely call their parents, let alone their representatives.”

But the biggest issue facing the company is privacy. It’s hard not to worry about a company that’s compiling dossiers on people’s positions on every single bill in Congress, but Myers says the startup won’t sell data about how its users vote on particular issues to fundraisers or anyone else. “We’re not building a lead-gen business,” Myers says. “Fortunately, our investors are in total agreement. But the terms of service are such that if that ever changes, people will be notified.”

Homepage image: K3nna/Flickr

More From this publisher : HERE

    Recommended Products

  • Viddyoze Template Club Viddyoze Template Club instantly adds 400+ templates to your account, in addition to 20 exclusive templates every month!
  • Fearless Netpreneur Magazine [3YR PREMIUM] Get The Power-Packed Marketing Magazine, Created By Marketers, For Digital Marketers" for regular access to Internet Marketing Tips; Product stats/Analysis; Advanced Training Articles; and What’s Working from top internet marketing gurus...
  • List Janitor RESELLER List Janitor is an email list cleaning and management software for your desktop PC.
  • Viralism.io Pro Viralism.io builds viral sites like BuzzFeed, ViralNova and PlayBuzz with easy 1 click trending search discovery and publishing.

If you like our content help us with a share… or two …  

Also -  I have some free stuff for you .......

Nr 1. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?

 

Nr 2.  You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...

 

Nr 3. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong.  How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.

   

Nr 4.  Special free report .  It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...

The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!

Nr 5.  Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of  traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.

Nr 6.  When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !

Nr 7. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!

  Nr 8. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!

Nr 9. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!

Nr 10. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.

Nr 11. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.

Nr 12. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.

Nr 13. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)

Nr 14. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.

Nr 15. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?

   

Nr 16. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"

This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't  forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.

Nr 17. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!

Nr 18. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.

Nr 19. If you've ever failed to create a WordPress site of your own or typically waste hours & even weeks trying to figure it all out on your own....

Nr 20. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...

 

Nr 21. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!

Use them  .... and have fun !