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08.25.05

GovLink
Announcing the release of GovLink, a new service on I-neighbors.org. I-neighbors users can now communicate directly with elected officials through their neighborhood website. Users sign into their account at I-neighbors.org and click on “GovLink”. Users are then presented with a list of the federal, state/provincial, and local elected officials for their area (or the best information we could compile). Users click on an official’s name and compose a message. Under the belief that many elected officials ignore or are overwhelmed by emails, we take the message and fax it to the official’s office (for free of course!). Users then have the option of sharing their message with other I-neighbors members. A month later we email users and ask them to report back about the speed and quality of the official’s response - which we will soon aggregate and post on I-neighbors.org. Of course, we are interested in how this technology affects political participation and users receive a short survey about past levels of political activity. For more information, have a look at the GovLink FAQ Here is my plea. While I was able to lock a small group of students into a room for a semester and have them collect a lot of contact information on elected officials, our database is far from complete. We could use all the help we can get adding contact info for local officials across the United States and Canada. We have built a modified Wiki system into I-neighbors.org that allows peopled to enter information and to check the accuracy of information entered by other users. A special thank you to Tom Steinberg and the U.K. based website faxyourmp.com for inspiring GovLink.
Thu Aug 25, 2005 @ 2:42:16 pm
move / new contact info
My move to the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania is finally complete. It took a little longer to get settled than expected - blame it on two damaged research servers and the corrupt hard drive on my laptop. Note that my contact details have been updated and my homepage has been updated in general. I-neighbors.org has also successfully been moved to ASC. As an active research project the website had to go through Penn’s Institutional Review Board (also took longer than I expected). The IRB was generally happy with the current ethical guidelines and required no changes with the exception of some minor new wording in the Terms of Use, which further highlight that I-neighbors is a research project. I think the change was a good thing as many people till confuse us with a for profit dot com.
Thu Aug 25, 2005 @ 2:15:45 pm

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