Entries in Apps (3)


Obama Requires Federal Agencies to Make Services Available as Apps

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration said once again Wednesday that technology is high on its priority list. It said it is launching a new initiative that aims to make government services more available to consumers through mobile apps.

The president has ordered each major federal agency -- the Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, etc. -- to make key government services, ones “the American people depend on,” available as mobile apps within the next year.

“Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device,” President Obama said in a statement. “By making important services accessible from your phone and sharing government data with entrepreneurs, we are giving hard-working families and businesses tools that will help them succeed.”

The administration is also working to make large amounts of government data more accessible to developers so they can “innovate new services and mobile applications,” the administration said in a press release.

View the full memo sent from the president to the heads of executive departments and agencies here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Facebook App Lets Voters ‘Cosponsor’ Bills in Congress

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has launched a new app on Facebook called Citizen CoSponsor, designed to connect voters with bills making their way through Capitol Hill.

The new platform allows users to “cosponsor” a bill -- essentially the equivalent of “liking” in Facebook lingo -- and receive updates on its status throughout the legislative process, from committee hearings to votes. There is also a “keep me informed” option, which allows citizens to follow the bill rather than support it.

“We are dedicated to modernizing the way Congress connects with the American people,” Cantor said in a statement. “With the simple click of a button, Citizen CoSponsors will become a part of the deliberative process, using the same social networks they already rely on in their everyday lives.”

Citizen CoSponsor is built on Facebook’s Open Graph, which allows third-party developers to create apps that “deeply integrate into the core Facebook experience.”

Matt Lira, director of digital media for Rep. Cantor, says the genesis of the idea came as a challenge to re-think the way Congress can better communicate with the public in this social media-driven age.

“We’re still in beta,” Lira said. “This hasn’t been done inside of government or Congress [yet], and we envision in the future providing opportunities for more user engagement.”

Lira also cited Rep. Darrell Issa’s, R-Calif., Project Madison, an interactive blogging platform that allows citizens to comment on individual passages of legislation, as an example of the inspiration behind Citizien CoSponsor.

Cantor’s office hopes that the platform will encourage more engagement between American voters and Congress, as well as create a transparent and open legislative process.

At launch, the platform has six bills and only one of those is sponsored by a Democrat, sparking critics to charge that the app is partisan. Shortly after Rep. Cantor’s office tweeted about the app’s unveiling on Tuesday, the press office of House Minority Whip Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., tweeted back: “We like the idea of Citizen CoSponsor, but why did you re-write the bill titles and descriptions in an entirely partisan way?”

But Lira said he “would dispute that characterization.” He added that Cantor’s office is “looking for ways to involve all people in the program,” which means Democrats, Republicans and independent voters alike.

As of March 22, the bill with the most Facebook sponsorships is the Republicans’ 20-percent tax cut proposal for businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The bill is sponsored by Cantor and currently has 935 sponsors.

Other bills included on the platform are the DATA (Digital Accounting and Transparency) Act, the Permanent Hyde Rule (no taxpayer funding for abortion) and Repeal IPAB (the health law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board). The one Democrat-sponsored bill is Rep. Al Green’s, D-Texas, Homes for Heroes Act, which has 269 Facebook sponsors, the lowest number of all the bills.

“On the scale of partisanship, I don’t know if this comes on the heavy end,” Lira said, adding that the app includes Democratic and bipartisan legislation. “But that’s the typical back and forth of Hill politics. One side does something, the other side throws up a volley, but I’m hopeful we’ll overcome it and succeed.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Social Polling App CEO: Social Media Will Drive the 2012 Conversation

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Social media self-promoters live for that “re-tweet,” or Facebook “like” -- actions that can go a long way toward spreading a message to a large audience. But in today’s ever-evolving social media landscape, simply broadcasting your message is no longer enough, particularly in politics.
“If we look at social networking in 2008, it was a one-way conversation, where candidates could put out a message and it may or may not be heard by an audience,” said Richard Schultz, CEO of Floop, a social polling app. Now, he said, “the conversations have become more collaborative and global.”
“People are getting on [social networking sites] and are interested in talking with their friends, seeing what the communities think about different issues and different candidates.”
That means Republican presidential candidates face increasing scrutiny, not just from opponents, but from the watchful eye of social media crowds. Fans, followers and now social pollsters are watching and dissecting a candidate’s every move.
Schultz predicts social polling apps will play a “critical role” in the 2012 election.
“[The] people going to town hall meetings and Occupy Wall Street protests are largely the people who have the most free time to be able to do those things,” Schultz told ABC’s Top Line Tuesday. “In contrast, the number of people getting on social networks and expressing these sort of opinions and viewing them is exponentially larger than the number of people showing up in person.”
Schultz said Floop users can log onto events -- say, Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate -- and weigh in on topics and candidates in real time. A graph would also move up or down during the debate, reflecting positive or negative responses to candidates as they speak.
For those influenced by peers, Floop tracks what users’ friends are saying about particular topics. Want to see what neighbors are thinking? Floop tracks that, too, showing “what people near you are thinking about different topics, what’s important to them,” said Schultz.
Floop is one of several new social polling apps launched in the last few months. Others include GoPollGo, Poll Position, and Wayin.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio