FREAGLE will give you and every American:
direct channel to your elected representatives
of their voting on the select issues that matter
means of knowing where candidates stand
easy way to make your voice heard – by them and others
way to keep politicians accountable for their votes and actions
window into where their money is coming from
A political social network where you can
The ability to participate in forums, polls and start your own petitions
Why don’t Americans make their voices heard and keep their elected representatives accountable? Are we really that apathetic? I don’t think so.
I’m Niki Papazoglakis, and I believe most of us are passionate about at least a few issues. But we get tired of the spin, the sleaze, and the relentless bombardment of political babble.
And what good can we do anyway? Are we really willing to find the names and addresses of our representatives at the local, state and federal level and communicate with them? Most of us just don’t have the time.
Now, by taking advantage of technology that didn’t exist even a few years ago, FREAGLE promises to change everything.
It will put you in direct contact with your elected representatives. Show you clearly how they’re voting, where they stand and where their money is coming from. And give you a simple way to communicate your opinions to them, share them with others, and really participate – on your own schedule, and without a big time commitment.
We’ll go back to the good old days – when citizens’ voices could still be heard, and politicians were accountable!
They can run, but they can’t hide
FREAGLE will make it incredibly easy to see where your representatives and candidates stand on the issues that matter to you. Along with their voting records, donation sources, political histories, and more.
And our information is OBJECTIVE – gathered from non-partisan, publicly-available and widely-trusted sources. You’ll get the facts, not the spin.
We’ll expose the good, the bad and the ugly, and connect the dots behind votes, political contributions and influence.
You’ll be able to participate in polls and create your own, endorse candidates, promote organizations you support, share your opinions and respond to others.
And, it will be on your own schedule: not the timetable of a cable TV station, speech, podcast or meeting. Now you CAN fight City Hall, because we’re going to bring it to your desktop!
Cut through the clutter
Every day we’re bombarded by so much political news and spin that it’s hard to focus on the issues that really matter to us. You could read several magazines and newspapers, listen to NPR, watch a couple of cable news shows, and end up feeling more overwhelmed than educated.
But with FREAGLE, you can cut to the chase, and select the issues or candidates you want to follow – so you can keep informed without being drowned in information. You’ll even be able to keep track of upcoming events that address your key issues.
Non-partisan and unbiased
We won’t accept advertising, political or otherwise. This will make us a truly open forum for all Americans – whether liberal, conservative or somewhere in-between.
Politics and Facebook just don’t mix
Don’t you hate it when people use social media for their political rants? FREAGLE will provide a new social arena just FOR politics – so you can feel free to unload all those pent-up emotions!
Niki has fifteen years' experience working in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. During that time, she has seen the political system from numerous vantage points including advocate, lobbyist, government contractor, and candidate.
Niki has been a volunteer with various nonprofits and has served on the boards of Leaders with Vision, the LA chapter of Common Cause, and the League of WoMen Voters of Baton Rouge.
Guy Lyman is one of the South's most experienced advertising writers and strategists. Over a 30-year career with Ogilvy & Mather and as a freelance consultant, he has created dozens of groundbreaking campaigns for companies ranging from small start-ups to the Fortune 500. Lyman also has an extensive history in public relations. Recent engagements have included new media campaigns, websites and Internet-based promotions in addition to traditional advertising. “I want to help with this project because I believe it is the first glimpse at what a more transparent and honest political system might look like in the future,” he says. “It’s a perfect example of technology elegantly solving a complex problem – and there is no bigger problem right now than our out-of-touch political system. I’m honored to be playing my small part, and I hope others will recognize the importance of this project and sign on as well.”
Scott has 37 years of law enforcement experience; the past 13 years have been in the IT area with a focus on Law Enforcement Information Management (LEIM) and Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS). Scott is currently a Commander in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and oversees three commands totaling 550 personnel and a budget of more than $200 million. Scott is a nationally recognized expert in the area of law enforcement data sharing and serves on numerous national law enforcement boards, including serving as the Chairperson of the FBI’s CJIS Information Sharing sub-committee. Scott has an AA in Justice Management and a BA in Information Technology from Touro University.
Victor is an Operational Excellence and Technology Consultant and Social Media Strategist. He has served as the President / Chairman of the Baton Rouge section of the American Society for Quality. He has over 25 years in business management and has delivered training and consulting in matters related to business and Information Technology for the U.S. Military, Federal and State Agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and a variety of organizations across several industries.
an Adjunct Instructor for Louisiana State University's Professional Development
Department. His focus areas include Quality Management and Social Media
courses. He has developed and teaches the LSU Social Media Specialist
Certificate Program. He holds certifications in quality, computing and
The Founding Fathers
would barely recognize the United States we live in today. Automobiles, computers,
smart phones – and especially crowdsourcing campaigns! – would be foreign to
them. But as to the problems we see today, which we sometimes think are unique
to our times – lobbyists, the influence of special interests, misleading
information campaigns, money in politics – the Fathers were more than familiar with
all of these issues. Only the technology driving these issues has changed. But
this technology can also drive solutions. As we introduce the concept of
FREAGLE, we believe our Founders would approve of our efforts to clarify,
simplify and increase the dissemination of knowledge to our citizens.
That is also the reason that so many people have become apathetic and disengaged from the political system. Being one of 700,000 people, many of us feel that our voices and our votes don't count. However, we are a representative democracy. Our Founding Fathers designed our system of government so that the people would have an active role in the political process. We don't envision our structure of government changing, so FREAGLE aims to restore representation by providing the tools and information necessary for constituents and politicians to re-engage with one another in meaningful and demonstrative ways. We want to restore the Founders' vision for this country, yet adapted for the Digital Age!
FREAGLE is using technology to restore representation in democracy through citizen engagement.
Here are some screen shots to give you a better idea of how our platform will look.
The first page is the FREAGLE Wall which is the social network interface. Create a "political" network separate from your "social" networks. Share civic and political information, promote organizations that you support, and keep track of upcoming events in your community......all in one location. Are you a community leader or want to personally endorse specific candidates? Feel free to share past and upcoming voting choices through the "My Ballot" feature.
Next is our Constituent Dashboard which is a private view that provides links to information and tools for communicating with your elected officials as well as the hub for locating information regarding issues, bills and elections customized for you.
Next we show our Legislative Scorecard where you can find objective information about your elected officials' performance in office.
Meeting our goal of $50,000
will complete the first stage of our product development and will let us get to
market. Through your generosity and
willingness to help, we can get FREAGLE up and running!
The $50,000 will be spent as follows:
- $15,000 - scale the platform's data back-end
- $15,000 - build the social network interface
- $15,000 - build first set of engagement tools
- $5,000 - load testing and beta deployment
Of course, we don’t want to stop there – more resources will let us explore new features, get the word out to more potential users, and maybe even bring on full-time staff to get us up-and-running even faster. Every dollar we raise above our goal will help us make FREAGLE an even better product and reach a greater number of citizens – and you can be a part of that.
It took over 200 years for our political system to become as broken as it is today. Many of our problems are fixable, but we must all engage. FREAGLE gives us the tools to do that. Conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Libertarian or Green, we are all Americans first. We’re harnessing technology to help change the political landscape so that the issues can be identified, debated and resolved through substantive dialogue, rather than manipulated by money and special interests. Innovators like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would certainly approve!
Lack of funding
We are leveraging a “freemium” business model where it is free for the general public and premium users such as elected officials, candidates and other political/community leaders pay a subscription fee. We could run into cash flow issues if we grow our free user base significantly faster than our premium base.
While this situation would put us in a very good position to be able to raise additional capital from traditional investors, there is a risk that outside investors may have different priorities for the direction of the company.
If we run into cash flow issues because we are building rapid momentum, our preferred approach would be to come back to the crowd to raise the additional capital to get us to positive cash-flow.
There is always risk of competition, so we are constantly monitoring the competitive landscape. There are numerous companies trying to solve the problems in our political system; however, to-date, we have not come across any that are going about it in the same way. We are focused on building a high quality platform with key differentiators incorporated into the architecture from the ground up.
Driving users is the key to any web platform. It is even more difficult with a two-sided market. We have accounted for this through a multi-pronged go-to-market strategy which leverages a variety of tactics ranging from traditional, direct sales all the way to social media marketing activities to drive viral growth.
Some people just can't contribute, but that doesn't mean you can't help:
- Please share our campaign with your friends & family using the share tools.
How do people know you’re not partisan?
We’ve taken a lot of steps to make sure we don’t have any partisan leanings. Our team ranges across the ideological spectrum – Democrats, Republicans and Independents. We also have an advisory board that is just as diverse to make sure that we are not inadvertently introducing bias into the product.
In fact, we believe that remaining objective and non-partisan is a critical success factor. If we lean one-way or the other, then we will lose a significant portion of our potential users. So our success very much depends on our ability to remain non-partisan while providing a platform that supports substantive partisan dialogue.
If this is such a great idea why has no one else come up with it?
Well, coming up with an idea is one thing, but implementing it is something else.
Much of the tools and data that we are using weren’t around ten years ago. Some of them weren’t even around two years ago. It’s fair to say this is an idea whose time has come, as we now have the technology to make such a platform possible. It is also important to note the significant effort by numerous government transparency groups, like the Sunlight Foundation, OpenSecrets.org and GovTrack.us to name a few, who have worked very hard to aggregate publicly available government information and make it freely available to entrepreneurs like us. Without those organizations, FREAGLE would not be able to provide objective, quantifiable information to constituents about what is happening in government.
How are you going to get users? Don’t you think the average American has better things to do than debate politics?
The average American feels that way because for the most part they’ve never believed their voice is being heard. Look at the recent studies showing that the views of everyday Americans are ignored by decision makers. Then contrast that with the studies showing the dramatic rise in political activity taking place on social media. In 2012, The PEW Center reported that 39% of all American Adults have used social media for political activity.
The problem is that people are using tools designed for interpersonal communications, not politics, because they very much want to engage and are using the only tools available. Freagle is built from the ground up to support substantive civic and political engagement.
We also believe that providing valuable tools and information, constituents will come to FREAGLE to find out information about issues important to them, find out objectively how their elected officials are performing in office, and be able to compare candidates based on substance rather than who raised the most money and bombarded them with the most ads.
It may be tempting to say that people are disengaged from politics, but we believe that gets the issue backwards – it’s politics that are disengaged from the people. FREAGLE is a tool to give people the opportunity to re-engage in our representative democracy in a constructive and useful manner.
If we can bring political debate back to the people in a substantive way, we believe they will participate. And FREAGLE can help with that.
Do you really think that politicians are going to buy into this? Why would they participate in a system that’s going to open them up to so much criticism?
The best way to encourage politicians to participate is to be honest with them. Right now, politicians are just as much a part of the system as the rest of us.
When a politician is criticized, they usually don’t have a good way to defend themselves or to explain. Much of our political communication is founded on expensive thirty-second TV ads and anonymous social media rants. While the internet has helped move us away from a one-way, media controlled dialogue and allows the rest of us to participate, it also has become flooded with trolls and political operatives whose sole intent is to sabotage opponents and distract from any meaningful debate on the issues or the quality of candidates.
FREAGLE gives politicians a venue to defend themselves and to engage in real and substantive dialogue with their constituents.
In the long run, it might even take some of the money out of politics by reducing the emphasis on expensive advertisements. One thing I can tell you is that no politician enjoys raising all the money they need to run campaigns. There’s a lot of things they'd rather be doing.Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com or visit our website at http://freagle.com.
Video by Sarunas Daugirdas - www.elevantproductions.com
Music by Kc Daugirdas - www.daugirdasmusic.com