Government Technology by the People, for the People

Written by Sophie LaBorwit. Edited by Geoffrey Cater.

In today’s society, the growing use of social media by political power players is becoming more prevalent.

More and more young people are getting invested in politics too and, to many, the 2016 election was a reminder to how important politics really is. With Twitter, politicians and governments can communicate directly with the public which is absolutely fantastic.

But if there was a way for government agencies to implement initiatives via apps and other such technology it would also be incredibly useful.

I work on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which allows me and a medium-sized group of people between the ages of 14 and 20 to sit down with government employees and suggest the kinds of changes we would like to see in the city’s youth community.

To implement some of those changes, we concluded that technology was the most convenient and effective way to spread the word.

We have worked on apps to spread initiatives on kindness and, separately, education. Working with App City Life (an app development company), our group, along with people in the mayor’s office, were able to create an app called ABQ Kindness to track, promote, and celebrate kindness. Our goal: one million acts of kindness.

Screen shot of ABQ Kindness

Another app the city collaborated on along with mission graduate was called Launch Me ABQ which launched in the summer of last year. Mission Graduate is an organization developed to help students in New Mexico graduate. The apps goal was to help motivate students to build skills to use in the job market. The app has since helped many students to develop “soft skills” that help in build resumes.

By using technology to make politics more appealing, we are creating a closer bond between government and the people.

After all, America is a country for the people by the people. By involving more communities through technology, there can be more of a conversation within society for change.

If, for example, people sent letters and emails to their representatives as much as they complained about government on Facebook, our government would be more likely to receive more direct critique and respond to the populus by making changes.

Read (and watch) more about these projects: