iPads are taking the world by storm, going into schools, TV shows, car dealerships, and we have just heard that every Russian MP elected this fall will get a brand new iPad to use in the parliament. Two months ago British House of Commons allowed the use of iPads in committee meetings. The politicians will look cool, so maybe they will start making cool movements for the people.
iPad boosts productivity…
MPs need to have a lot of information when at work – laws, committee timetables, Hansard, decisions, bill proposals, supporting materials, etc. and when they get those documents in electronic form iPad seems like a obvious choice to help them access all that content in a user-friendly manner. It definitely beats paper versions and it allows much more flexibility than laptops. If comparing to laptops as the “tool of choice” there is one more advantage on the iPad’s side: for MPs it is more important to get the information than to create content during sessions (for which they would still need laptops, because iPads are still impractical for longer typing sessions). We can say that they need the features where iPad has an upper hand over laptops and therefore, it seems that Apple is likely to go political by entering parliaments across the globe.
… and is great to kill time during boring sessions
However, there are several drawbacks as well. Have you already seen those photos of politicians playing games on their tablets while the parliament was in session? If not controlled and standardized for use during sessions, this would be just another way for MPs to read newspapers, and entertain themselves while they should be concentrating on making decisions which change people’s lives.
It will be very interesting to take all those iPads after a couple of months and see which apps the politicians have installed. A couple of thoughts bellow to help them get started…
Apps to keep up with the developments
A good politician must be informed and having apps such as Washington Post app for iPad and CNN App for iPad on the device is simply a must. It would be good to keep an eye of what other politicians are doing and My Politics is great for that. A sort of dashboard to politics, it enables you to keep track to all the latest in politics, monitor the real-time updates from politicians and their parties.
Apps to raise money
Perhaps, these would be the first apps installed on politicians’ devices. The approach used for Haiti and other fundraising campaigns can be applied with success to raise funds to run for an office. Just look at Obama 2012 app for a good example of how things should be done.
Apps for elections
Around the world election campaigns are not what they used to be. Obama’s campaign was a confirmation that you’ll either go digital or won’t get elected and the power of Internet has recently been demonstrated in several uprisings in North Africa. Politicians understand this and there are more and more personal candidate’s apps in the stores which allow supporters to help campaigns in various ways, helping more people be reached and bringing community-based approach to a new level. We won’t give examples here, but will say that if the candidate is serious about making success with his election app, it should use the power of location-based services, social networks and push notifications.
Apps to stay close to the voting body
Apps to keep your presence on social networks and keep your supporters updated on your work, your stands on important issues and policies is something every politician has to do. Smartphones make this easier and even more instant (if this is even possible anymore), so cool apps such as Tweetbot (app of the day at Smashapp a couple of days ago) or other social networking apps, are simply necessary. And it may be cool to have something like Mood of the Nation installed, too – just to keep track of how the voters are feeling right now, especially in case you have some (bad) news you want to tell.
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