Saturday, November 07, 2009

So You Want to be an Engaged Citizen

This compilation of resources combine my interests in new media technology and citizen-centered political advocacy. Reading about, exploring, and using these resources have been educational to me in learning how to be an effective advocate, how best to harness the latent power of ordinary citizens for social and political change, and what tools are available on the Internet to help an individual be an active, engaged citizen.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive. It is a compilation of what I think are the best resources available from reputable organizations which deal with issues and politicians in a non-partisan way and which seek to promote greater transparency from the government and elected officials.

Online Resources for Researching Information about the Government

Open Congress

OpenCongress brings together official government data with news coverage, blog posts, public comments, and more to give you the real story behind what's happening in Congress. Small groups of political insiders and lobbyists already know what's really going on in Congress. Now, everyone can be an insider.

Show Us the Data

Show Us the Data: Most Wanted Government Documents is collecting examples of government documents and data that are unclassified and should be easily available to the public online, but are not.

Open Secrets: Center for Responsive Politics is the nation’s premier independent website tracking the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens’ lives.

OpenCRS: Congressional Research Reports

Taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service, a "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. Yet, these reports are not made available to the public in a way that they can be easily obtained. Open CRS provides citizens access to CRS Reports already in the public domain and encourages Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports.

Online Resources On Elected Officials and for Contacting People in Government

The White House: Office of Public Engagement

The Office of Public Engagement creates and coordinates opportunities for direct dialogue between the Obama Administration and the American public, while bringing new voices to the table and ensuring that everyone can participate and inform the work of the President.

Project Vote Smart

Project Vote Smart provides detailed information – biographical information, campaign finances, interest groups ratings, issue positions, and public statements – on elected officials including the President, members of Congress, state officials and leadership in state legislatures.


GovLuv uses Twitter to connect you instantly with your representatives in government.

General Sources of Information that Relate to Citizen Advocacy

Sunlight Foundation Insanely Useful Web sites

The Sunlight Foundation was founded in 2006 with the non-partisan mission of using the revolutionary power of the Internet to make information about Congress and the federal government more meaningfully accessible to citizens.

Personal Democracy Forum

Blog focusing on the latest news and information on the intersection between technology and politics.

Book Recommendation

The Citizen's Guide to Lobbying Congress

Exactly what the title says it is. A handy, practical guide for citizens to lobby their Congressional representatives.

1 comment:

The Angry Independent said...

Thanks LAD,

I have some of these listed...but there are some that I don't have. I will either add a link for the article in the sidebar or list the other sites.

I added a separate section for these about a month ago... so it should take just a few minutes.