I’m sure this has been going on for a while, but I just became aware of this when the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, setup the blog readthestimulus.org. Making H.R. 1, “The Economic Stimulus Package” accessible in a very real way. Using a few applications.

This is is a true “Mashup” or combination of web based applications. Here is a screenshot showing the various components being used.

readthestimulus.org web apps

readthestimulus.org web apps

The site itself is a web application allowing you to search the current draft of the resolutions both on the house and senate floors. On top of that the site has three web applications that have been added with very little code to the site itself.

  • Disqus – An application that allows you to add comments to any site or blog.
  • FusionCharts – A flash application to chart or graph information on your site.
  • Google Spreadsheet – Part of the Google Docs suite that allows you to share a spreadsheet with anyone, including your website audience.

There are a few hidden web applications as well.

  • Gravatar – The globally recognized avatar that tracks your posts to sites across Internet. It is also enabled on this site.
  • Sitemeter – Online statistics and analytics

Obama in his campaign used a combination of blogs, Twitter, and other social networks like Facebook to help his campaign. It is encouraging to see both conservative and liberal organizations use web applications to communicate and start a conversation. Wake up Uncle Sam. We are reading your fine print and talking about you. 🙂 We appreciate when the government engages in conversation with the public. Not just the one way information that I get from a lot of my representatives through their website and newsletters, but a true dialog. Lincoln was famous for his “public opinion baths” lets bathe congress in same, this time using Web Applications.

All this talk about politics, but this is about your business as well. We all need to engage our customers in a similar manor. Customers are talking about us using Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter. So take a moment, find out where your clients hang out online, and chat with them. Market research doesn’t get better than that for you, me, or Uncle Sam.