My personal goal in life is to provide an opportunity for everyone to find & pursue their passions. That’s a viable “goal” to have today because people don’t have that opportunity in the “system” we live in today. In order for our systems to change, the people need to understand the deficiencies within it and have the ability to change it. That’s where Polinav comes in.
Polinav’s vision is to provide a next generation civic platform for the people to shape the political systems that govern them.
The beauty of democracy is that the people can make their voice heard. The tragedy of American democracy today is that people don’t make their voice heard.
KONY 2012: expressing anger v. making a difference
The example that made that abundantly clear to me when I first started on this journey was KONY 2012:
I’ve actually never watched it, but I remember how much it dominated social media at the time. What I got out of it, though, was that as much anger, angst, and disgust the American public expressed, our government didn’t do much about it.
I don’t make this point to say that the U.S. should have had a stronger response in this particular situation. I make this point to say that even when a large chunk of us were angry about something, things didn’t materially change very quickly. So how can we change that?
Polinav’s Initial Goal
Polinav’s initial hypothesis was that if the people had the following two things, that the people could take power back:
- easy to understand information about bills in Congress
- easy-to-use tools to contact and track Congress
The thinking was that the younger generations today really do care about what goes on. That’s what KONY 2012 showed: we cared, so we shared. So I thought that the problem we had to solve was that we needed to give people the tools to actually do something about it. That people already cared enough and they just needed a better way to do something about it.
So, the first product we tried to build was a mobile app that provided text summaries of legislation & the tools to contact your rep about them.
It’s not that what we built was useless, but what we did was to put the cart before the horse.
Polinav’s New Focus: Motivation
The “cart” is important, but we forgot about what it is that actually moves the payload: the horse. The flaw in the initial hypothesis was that accessibility would be self-motivating.
Using KONY 2012 as an analogy, we built a summarized Wikipedia article with the tools to make a difference, but we forgot to make the KONY 2012 documentary. We forgot to build the content that will actually get you (or remind you) to care.
So, the new hypothesis to creating a functioning civic society?
- create viral content that gets you to care about what happens in Congress & the government
- provide easy-to-use tools to contact and track Congress
Basically, we want to become the Buzzfeed of Government.
So, what’s next?
We’re putting the development of our tech tools on hold and turning our focus to content.
Since we’re basically turning our focus onto how to educate the public, we may spin-off this portion of what we’re doing into a non-profit that you could support through donations.
All I ask from here on out: please like, watch, and share the content we’ll be releasing in the coming months! To create a civic society, we need everyone’s participation! We’ll try our best to create content you’ll want to watch.
If you have any ideas on videos or want to help out in some way, reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org