Idea: Making Your Voice Heard, For Introverts

As a result of a very off-topic side project, an idea has been dwelling in my head. A way for more people to call their Senators and Representatives and have their voices heard. I thought this was a dumb idea for a while but now that a lot of #s are busy and you have to call back and back, the barrier to entry to make the call is worse.

My default is to ignore any ideas for new projects in worlds where other people have been fighting in longer than I ever will. I think a better use of my time is to continue calling my own senators and rep’s offices weekly, but hey if you think this isn’t a bad idea I think I could make it within a week. Please tweet me @jc4p if you think this is a good or a bad idea.

I have two spins on the idea, one where only the first group exists and the second group is scripts auto-calling and delivering automatically, but…

Basically, a website or app that caters to two groups of people.

  1. Those who want their voices heard. Someone who wants to call their representatives, but doesn’t know how long the call will take and hates talking on phones. Let’s call these people Speakers.
  2. Those who have time, and want to facilitate calls. Someone who has 5–30 min to waste, and has already called their own representatives. Let’s call these people Callers.

For Speakers, the website:

  • Asks them for their ZIP, brings up a list of their senators and reps.
  • Gives the speaker a list of high-importance topics. They click on one and receive a script.
  • The speaker hits “Record”, reads the script out loud however they want.
  • They hit “Done”. They’re done. They can go back to work, or continue with their lunch break, or whatever else is more important in their lives.

For Callers, the website:

  • Shows a list of pending calls. For each call, shows the people that need to hear the recorded message and the topic of it.
  • Callers select a recording to facilitate the delivery of, based on issues that they care about the most or specific senators they want to reach or etc.
  • Caller types in their own phone number. Receives an automated phone call from us, once they pick up the first D.C. phone number to be contacted gets called and added onto the session.
  • Caller waits for senator’s staff to pick up, presses “7” on their phone to play the recording, then we hang up and call the next one number.

That’s it. That’s all the idea is. It’s not super revolutionary, it’s nothing too different from the sites I use when I call on my own, e.g. Call Them In.

The benefits though, sound numerous.

Someone in California with two mostly helpless Democrat senators could call their own reps then help 12 people in Louisiana have their voices be heard. That sounds like a win to me.

If the interface for the Speakers is made well enough, I do believe that more people would be quick to press Record and read something out loud than actually calling the real numbers and talking to someone on the phone.

For the speakers, if they want, when their call is delivered we could e-mail or push notify them about their voices having been heard, and ask them to queue up more calls if they’d like.

For the callers, we could gamify it. I think being able to tweet something like “I helped 50 people’s voices be heard today” is a really powerful thing.

We could have everything be crowdsourced and voted on by the users. From the templates the Speakers recite to Callers leaving notes for each other that show up before they call.

So, that’s all I got. Does this sound useful? Would it a better use of my time to continue calling my senators and representatives on my own rather than build something new?

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