Last Friday I had a chance to meet with Dave Binetti, the man behind @2gov, a new service that aims to make it easier for Twitter-users to route messages to their elected representatives. The idea is pretty simple: register with the site, then include "@2gov" in your tweets. It'll grab your tweet, look up your previously-recorded location, then run your message through a classification engine that determines what issue(s) it concerns and to whom it should be delivered.
It's a neat idea, and although the interface is elegantly simple, it's clear both from meeting with Dave and from his announcement on the Sunlight Labs list that there's some serious horsepower under @2gov's hood. There's the classification engine, for one thing, which is being hand-tuned, but which Dave says is going to remain closed-source, making it not all that interesting from my perspective. And there's a voter-verification system based on exhaustively-collected voter rolls, which shows an impressive dedication to making sure that the service isn't merely spamming legislators. The whole thing's modular, too, opening the possibility of other, non-Twitter interfaces in the future.
What's most exciting to me is the data powering the site.Continue reading