03/31/2010 | Leave a Comment
Senator Russ Feingold’s website, www.russfeingold.org, provides visitors with an update of his political activity as well as an opportunity to make a difference and get involved. The main screen on the website has two columns, the first features a window which scrolls through five top stories about Sen. Feingold. Each include a picture and cycle every 5-6 seconds. The headlines are as follows: House Parties For Russ!, Madison Office Opening, Feingold Pushing for More Fairness in Dairy Trade Policy, Did You Catch Russ on NBC Nightly News?, and Russ on Citizens United Ruling. Each headline links to a site that is either within the russfeingold.org site or hosted by another source such as the Wisconsin Ag Connection and the Janesville Gazette. Also in the first column is a link to the RuSS FEED (clever play on the traditional RSS feed) and gives the viewer an opportunity to select which feed reader they wish to use. The column also features additional headlines not included in the scrolling window.
The second column on russfeingold.org provides viewers with a place to interact. The title of the first window is called ‘Make a Difference’ and provides links that allow viewers to ‘Contribute’, ‘Endorse Russ’, ‘Get Involved’, and ‘Take Our Survey.’ These categories are soliciting viewers to donate, support, volunteer and let the senator know what issues matter to them. Sen. Feingold shows his Web 2.0 savvy by also featuring a ‘Connect + Share’ section with links to his YouTube, flickr, facebook, and twitter accounts. A more creative feature is the ‘Fein’tunes, which claims, “Russ listens to WI and music too!” Sen. Feingold also has a blog which he seems to update about twice a week.
I was actually quite surprised at the number of channels that this site offers for users to provide feedback and voice their opinion. In particular, the ‘Make a Difference’ tab allows users to not only contribute through donations and endorsements, but provides a place for users to voice their opinions. The ‘Take Our Survey’ link takes users to a page where the first question is, “What do you think our #1 priority in Congress should be?” It also allows you to check issues that matter most, including: Campaign Finance Reform, Education, Energy, Health Care, Jobs and the Economy, etc. Equally impressive was Sen. Feingold’s attempt to reach out to younger users via social networking sites. The ‘Connect + Share’ tab with links to his various accounts provides a direct avenue for users to communicate with the senator. His ‘Fein’tunes feature is creative, but I’m still skeptical on that one.
Clearly, the focus of Sen. Feingold’s site is the presentation of relevant political information. However, he does an exceptional job of providing users with an opportunity to voice their own opinions in multiple ways. The more traditional survey may be targeted towards older users who have not caught on to social networking, while the links to YouTube, flickr, facebook, and twitter give younger users an easy way to give political feedback.