idea #038: Citizen Voice
Streamlined connection between public officials and those they represent.
Politics and policy just don't feel very personal. We are all affected by what happens behind closed doors but are removed so far from the process. I've never watched CSPAN, nor do I ever plan to - that seems like the worst solution possible to stay engaged with democratic discourse. However, it could partly be our (citizens) fault - I didn't know who our Representative was until about 5 minutes ago, and I'm sure that's not a rarity. However, I'm sure there are equal ignorance and frustration going the other way, by that I mean for politicians connecting directly to their people. I am still ever so slightly on the side of optimism first, to the point that I still believe our elected officials want to do what's best for their people, so I will figure it's safe to assume there is value across the board in closing the gap between officials and individuals.
One of the things that seem strange to me, however, is given that the 'world is getting smaller' and we are all more connected than ever, then why does a cavernous, deep, communication rift still exist between us (the public) and our officials?
I went online to try and understand how I would actually contact my representative. It was....suboptimal. A clunky field form, and some dated links to policy issues.
The idea is pretty basic. The good old repurposing of existing technology. Ah, yes, the social network. This could work fairly simply, where each representative, official, senator, whoever would have their own profile and ecosystem as we are accustomed to now. But, to get access to that, you need to be verified as part of their district, a la Nextdoor.
What's the value for the individual you ask? Simple. Be heard directly. Increase the frequency of communications with your rep and his or her staff. Respond directly to issues that affect you locally. Participate in democracy more than once every four years.
And for the official? Even more of an upside - tap directly into the voice of the people. Get more accurate polling. Find immediate feedback on issues before casting any votes.
As for monetization? Well, when in doubt, I'm sure there's a way to do targeted marketing or lobbying. I heard there's a lot of pork out there.
Soundtrack for this idea: