Reported by Luke Russert
Produced and written by Jared Anderson
If you were to stop and think about everything you own, how much of that do you physically carry at a time? Out of everything that you carry how much of those items do you use daily? Chances are your cell phone is somewhere on that list. Now politicians are making their presence known on your most used personal device.
The UN reported earlier this year that 4 billion out of 6.3 billion people worldwide have cell phone access. The need for technology is fundamental, if you want to communicate over distances you must be able to identify the person you want to communicate with. It has become evident through the success of social media websites and the sheer number of cell phones that people want to be connected.
Technology is leading the consumers to a new marketplace and politicians are beginning to take advantage of that. The COO of Facebook , Sheryl Sandberg said around 11% of teens use email daily, “if you want to look at what we’ll do in the future watch what the teens are doing now.”
Politicians are exploring new collaborations with their constituents through mobile phone apps. Political apps provide content distributed on their own terms to the public via cell phones. Creating apps is a step towards ubiquity so it is no surprise that the US Congress is starting to take advantage of this technology.
Congress has far more to gain than to lose. As smart phones develop and become more powerful the value of apps will increase. Apps are an increasingly relevant distribution option to politicians as apps are seen as more personal than social media sites yet less invasive than email blasts.
The most dominant content driver for online digital media distribution is iTunes. Steve Jobs reported at the annual WWDC that the App and iBook Stores currently have over 115 million credit card accounts filed as customers – if you translate the accounts to represent constituents then you have a valuable resource to champion your cause. Congressional apps will bring a much needed political relevance to this growing marketplace.
Three million iPhone 4’s were sold in the first three weeks following the 2 million iPads sold in it’s first two weeks of sales. With the popularity of Apple products increasing it is safe to assume that iPhones will eventually be available to other networks. The internet has been abuzz with reports that the iPhone will become available to telecommunication giants such as T-Mobile and Verizon as early as 4Q 2010; when this happens Apple will have an increase not only in consumers for iPhones but an increase in market share for the iTunes store.
Consumers know how to use iTunes and are familiar with the distributor, not to mention you can create a cross platform app that works on multiple Apple devices such as an iPad. Congressman Chaka Fattah’s (D-PA) vision is to interact with as many of his 650,000 constituents as possible and he believes this app will help to close the digital divide between Capitol Hill and the citizens. Fattah is the first Democrat in office to have an app developed; his app was made designed by Sympaticoapps.