In 2014, staying up-to-date on political news is practically a full-time job. To really be filled in probably requires more effort than the average person can dedicate. But, a packed schedule is no excuse for being uninformed, which is why we're fans of clever new app iCitizen. It focuses on three things: Helping you track the issues you care about, showing you how your elected representatives vote on these issues, and gathering your feedback. Through regular polling, your thoughts are sent straight to your rep, so they can get a real-time sense of public opinion.
Once you select which issues interest you the most, the app pulls news stories pertaining to them — so much easier than sifting through a dozen news sites, right? Also, it connects you straight to the source. With iCitizen, you can read an actual proposed bill before forming your opinion, and then share your thoughts with your representative. There's a social element, too, in that you can rally your friends to voice their points of view, as well.
There has been some debate over whether the app leans to the left or right, but one of its cofounders, M. Duncan Dashiff, notes on the iCitizen blog that the app is “a non-partisan platform” with a focus on sharing your opinion, whatever it may be. The Huffington Post reports that both sides are represented on the iCitizen advisory board, at least, which includes former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell (D) among its members. So, next time you're feeling overwhelmed by your paper's politics page, try clicking through iCitizen. Who knows? You might just discover your inner wonk.