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Measured Voice: Why We’re Coding for America

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Measured Voice is one of the seven civic startups in the inaugural class of the CfA Accelerator

We started working on federal government social media communications more than four years ago — before Barack Obama was president. And prior to that, we created “web 2.0″ (doesn’t it sound quaint now?) tools for presidential campaigns. Needless to say, the past few years have been a thrilling time to be at the intersection of government and technology.

Of all the major government technology initiatives we’ve seen over the years, Code for America has stood out the most. Amid all the summits, consortia, and working groups, Code for America has been completely different. It’s optimistic and biased toward action. Instead of agitating for big changes at the top, Code for America has gone ahead and started making change happen at the bottom.

By sending fellows into cities and solving small problems at the municipal level, they’ve done far more than create a few (very cool) municipal apps. They’ve proven that public service is alive and well in America.

Code for America’s vision has always resonated with us and we have always wanted to get involved somehow, which is why we applied to the Code for America Accelerator.

Measured Voice was created to help government organizations at all levels communicate briefly, frequently, and directly with citizens. To borrow a phrase from a Code for America fellow, we’re trying to build “interfaces to government are simple, beautiful and easy to use.”

Social media is an interface to government used by millions of people every day and we expect it to reach even more people in the future. Our mission is to make sure people can understand what the government is saying, when they say it through use social media tools. And after spending our first week at the Code for America Accelerator, we became even more passionate about this mission.

The most important thing we learned during week one was that we’re not crazy – or rather – we’re not the only crazy ones. Working with our fellow Accelerator companies and seeing the work being done by the Code for America fellows reinforced our mission. It was humbling to meet so many people working passionately improve our country.

In 1993, the Clinton administration launched the “National Performance Review.” It was an initiative to create a government that “works better, costs less, and gets results Americans care about.” I bring this up because it sounds remarkably similar to what many of us are pursuing now, almost 20 years later. The desire to improve the functions of government are nothing new, but this time, it’s different.

This time we have the Internet. While governments continue to push for reforms, more individuals and businesses are collaborating to do their part too. They’re meeting online and sharing their work. We count ourselves among them, which is why we’re coding for America.

http://measuredvoice.com

 

Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.

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