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Early Reviews and Mentions of OpenCongress

February 28, 2007 - by David Moore

OpenCongress launched just this past Monday morning, and already we’ve been fortunate to receive some great notices from around the web. We’re especially pleased that the links come from a mix of political bloggers, activists, tech observers, and broad-based social bookmarking sites. We hope that, in the future, these communities will continue to link to OpenCongress as a rich resource for capturing the “big picture” around bills and issues at stake in Congress.

Here are a few noteworthy mentions we’ve received so far, with thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about our launch this week:

Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo gave us an early link on Monday just after we opened our doors. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit was one of the first bloggers to link to a specific bill on OpenCongress, which then rocketed up the most-viewed ranking on our site — an interesting case study of how linking to bills can affect the overall discourse on the web about what’s hot in Congress. Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing gave us an excellent write-up with a shout for “ripping open the doors to Congress with Web 2.0”.

A post about our launch on titled The REAL story about Congress was featured on the front-page of Digg All Topics and garnered over 1,235 Diggs — thanks to everyone who Dugg and commented on the post. has been saved by over 770 people on the social bookmarking service, which is a really great sign that OpenCongress is beginning to connect with a wide user community. This Metafilter post picked up on the many potential uses of this new resource.

Matt Stoller of MyDD was one of the first to link to our site, giving us a thumbs up for having “permalinks, technorati inbound links, clear vote counts, and a good user interface”. Political journalist Christopher Hayes described the site as “an amazing new tool for activists and citizens” (cross-posted at The Notion). An appreciation of usability was echoed with other added angles by Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias on their blogs, and we were linked off ThinkProgress, the research-intensive blog from the Center for American Progress.

Judy Breck of the social-technology site SmartMobs and Craig Newmark on craigblog both noticed the framework for online collaborative analysis of Congress presented by the site.

OpenCongress is a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation. Ellen Miller, co-founder and Executive Director of the Sunlight Foundation hit upon a great description of the site as “a user-friendly ”“>Thomas, on steroids.” Nicholas Reville, Executive Director of the Participatory Culture Foundation (a sister organization to the Participatory Politics Foundation), nailed it on the Democracy Internet TV blog: “The central belief behind OpenCongress is that in the internet age, everyone should have the information that political insiders do.”

And that’s just a brief, partial overview … of course, we’re appreciative of the hundreds of other links and comments we’ve received from the entire landscape of blogs and sites out there — for a detailed view of the buzz about OpenCongress, head right over to one of our data partners, Technorati, and run a search on us. We’ll be writing more blog posts soon about our initial feedback from everyone, and we’ll link to more political blogs and non-profits that are already using OpenCongress to track the issues they care about. Let us know how you’re using OpenCongress by e-mailing us: writeus AT opencongress DOT org.

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