As mentioned in Karim’s article, VO4TO or Voice for Toronto launched today at the Centre for Social Innovation. The current focus is the Toronto Municipal Elections; the following is a demo (found on their website).
As you can probably deduce, (the technical expert that you are), VO4TO is not altogether groundbreaking but something anyone can create on their own through Twitter lists of candidates and a “voteTO” hashtag search. Moreover, Youtube is included in the aggregation and facebook is only integrated by the “like” plugin. The map feature appears to be the coolest part as it will allow user generated content to be created like “stories” or a newsfeed using video, pictures and text around selected neighbourhoods or wards. This is something I feel would be powerful as it could lead to focused discussions between candidates and voters on issues or concerns. Moreover, linking it to foursquare could further show how many people are for or against that particular discussion in that area. However, this feature is coming soon.
The Q&A portion became slightly heated as audience members noticed some gaps in the plan. Here are a few questions that were asked:
How will hash tags be filtered to only show relevant data?
There doesn’t seem to be a need for it just yet, but definitely something we can look into.
Is there a search capability to show older posts of twitter history or show tweets on specific topics?
It only goes back 2 weeks.
Is it available in different languages?
We are sticking to English as this point.
The fact that Toronto has the lowest voter turnouts (26% to 42%) at the municipal level, shows that ANY tool or promotion will be a good thing and potentially raise voter numbers. Perhaps, this may turn out to be the tool that makes it happen, once all the bugs are straightened out.
What do you think of this tool? What would you do to improve it or do you think its great how it is?