Creating Technology for Social Change

Understanding politics: a Civic Media project for a better news consumption

The Internet is continuing to erode the other channels of information like TV, radio, and newspapers as the source of news. One of the latest survey made by Pew Research Center (conducted in the late Spring 2012), which is taken biannually and cover the changing in the news landscape, argues that the faster spreading of mobile devices and social networks is accelerating the shift to online news consumption.

“The percentage of Americans saying they saw news or news headlines on a social networking site yesterday has doubled – from 9% to 19% – since 2010. Among adults younger than age 30, as many saw news on a social networking site the previous day (33%) as saw any television news (34%), with just 13% having read a newspaper either in print or digital form”…

(Credit: Pew Research Center )

In this context, where people are getting news on the web and sharing stories with others using social media, could be possible a better understanding and comprehension of the news thanks to extensions and other applications nowadays so popular in a digital environment?
When we are getting news from TV or newspapers is common to don’t recognize a politician, forgetting his role and his past, sometime even his party. Moreover, there are some political definitions which are very complicated to understand: electoral systems, law-making procedures, constitutional articles and so on.
These misunderstandings make difficult the comprehension of the political world, fostering distrust, lack of participation and transparency
Understanding politics is an extension for web browsers that provides short, essential info and explanation on politician and terms related to politics mentioned in a story, without leaving the page you are seeing.
When you are reading something from any web pages (even social media) you can double click on a term or name to show a small pop up (or a tab on the right side of the screen) to learn more about that specific word/politician. When you select a person, you’ll get a short bio and his social media accounts (if they have one or more), to contact him, and whether you want to know more, it would be possible to see his page on sites who collect data about politicians (like OpenCongress), in order to see his history.
When you select a political definition will appear either a short and simple explanation of the meaning of that word or an infographics that help in the learning of that concept.
Keeping track of every political figure/definition isn’t easy. You don’t need a degree in political science to understand the world today. What you need is a web browser, an extension and politics will have no secrets. No obstacle between you and the White House!
Obviously this is just a concept: comments, feedback and help are more than welcome!