Yays and Nays on ShiftSpace

ShiftSpace (§) is an open source browser plugin for collaboratively annotating, editing and shifting the web.

While the Internet’s design is widely understood to be open and distributed, control over how users interact online has given us largely centralized and closed systems. The web has followed the physical transformation of the city’s social center from the (public) town square to the (private) mall. ShiftSpace attempts to subvert this trend by providing a new public space on the web.

By pressing the [shift] + [space] keys, a ShiftSpace user can invoke a new meta layer above any web page to browse and create additional interpretations, contextualizations and interventions – which we call Shifts. Users can choose between several authoring tools we’re working to develop – which we call Spaces. Some are utilitarian (like Notes and Highlights) and some are more interventionist (like ImageSwap and SourceShift).

Read more and install ShiftSpace at www.shiftspace.org


Today, ShiftSpace launched a new Space called Yays and Nays. Yays and Nays allows you to call up your Congressional Representative via ShiftSpace, voice your concerns about political issues and have your call recorded and available online as an Mp3 other ShiftSpace users can listen to.

“It’s a unique function,” says creator Christian Croft “because it allows a normally passive reader to take immediate civic action on an issue they have learned about online.  Also, Yeas and Nays serves to extend the openness of government that the Obama administration has advocated to the Congress, keeping citizens and the representatives they elected committed to change and resolving challenges that lie ahead.”

Yeas and Nays singles out a specific instance where the power of information can manifest into action: that ripe moment when citizens research information online about issues that affect them.  At that moment, Yeas and Nays’ interface provides a simple tool to initiate a phone call to a representative and a way to share a recording of that call with others. The goal is getting citizens listening to other citizens expressing informed positions to their representatives.


Here is how to install Yeas and Nays:
Go to http://www.shiftspace.org/spaces/yeas-and-nays/ to watch the video, and follow the following instructions…

1. Install the space through the settings>Spaces tab by typing ‘YeasAndNays’ in the ‘install a space’ text box.
2. Initiate the space by pressing the [Shift] key, move your mouse over the [+] icon and click on the YeasAndNays icon.
3. The YeasAndNays widget will appear on the screen where you summoned it.
4. Enter your zipcode in the widget to look up your corresponding Congressional representatives.
5. Choose the Congress person you wish to call and enter your phone number.
6. Check the box that says you agree to YeasAndNays generating a call that bridges your phone to your Congress person’s office.  Then choose whether  or not you want to record your call so that others can listen to it on ShiftSpace.
7. Have your phone ready and click the “Call Now & Connect Me” button. Your phone will receive a call almost instantaneously.
8. An automated YeasAndNays phone menu will greet you and instruct you to press 1 on your phone keypad to connect to your Congress person’s office.
9. Once your call is bridged, talk to the representative about your issue. Try to use information on the webpage and refer to your talking points to support your cause.
10. After your call is finished, the YeasAndNays shift will update and tell you that your call is completed.  If you chose to record the call, then you can listen to an mp3 of it now.
11. Your YeasAndNays shift is automatically saved once your call has been completed.  At this point, other ShiftSpace users can see your shift and listen to your phone call to your Congress person.


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