Archive for the ‘ Blog ’ Category

New blog site

As much as I liked having my blog as a subdomain over at, there are just too many tools for wordpress that only worked on the website. When embeddable tweets came out last month and I couldn’t get them to work on the old blog, that was the last straw. Hopefully this site location will allow for better (and more frequent) postings.


Happy Birthday! turns 1

Wow, it’s been exactly one year since Ben Smith at Politico was kind enough to write a blog post about my website on his blog at Poltico. Clearly this has been a year full of social media firsts in politics, and I still disagree with Ben’s statement that “it’s not clear that many of these members or their staffs update their online identities all that often.” Now, close to 90% of the 535 members of Congress use some form of social media, and most of that number update their profiles (debating “often” is the subject for another post).

When I started out last spring learning to write and format the tables that would be at the heart of my website, I could only dream for the positive feedback I have received in the past year. When the site launched, all it had was a House page and Senate page, and no 3rd party influence scores. Now I have pages for Federal agencies, Governors, 2012 Presidential campaigns and four separate influence scores.

Just yesterday President Obama and the White House social media team announced that they will be using foursquare. How far we have come. Every GOP candidate currently uses Facebook and Twitter, most use YouTube and Flickr – the power and usefulness of these tools cannot be denied anymore. and this blog have allowed me to meet some very cool people doing awesome things, both in politics and in social media, and occasionally, I get to talk to some of the very cool people working in this niche intersection. Through this site I’ve met social media company staff, think tanks, gov employees, elected official staff – I’ve even had the great privelege to interview a Congressman or two.

Networking one connection to the next I was offered the amazing opportunity to write a weekly blog post for the Washington Post for close to two months. While the particular venue I was writing for had to close, my website’s reach had grown exponentially, something I’ll never be able to properly thank my editors at the Post for. (Thanks Natalie!)

My Washington Post blog was seen by a producer at Sirius/XM radio, so the next thing I know I am being interviewed live on air in front of thousands of listeners – something I never, ever could have imagined when I started this site last year. And it’s one thing to write an article that will be reviewed and edited before posting, it’s quite another to answer questions live. Thankfully I did not sound like a complete idiot, and they were kind enough to have me back a second time.

Right now I’m at a crossroads. I work on the site a few hours a day if I can, but I am quickly reaching the upper limits of what I can to technically to improve the site. Of course there will never be enough time to enter all the data myself – one of the reasons I made the site a wiki in the first place.

Right now I am looking for a way to fund improvements to my site, especially a database engineer. If you enjoy the content of this site and can help contribute, either with knowhow or funds, please contact me.

Thanks for reading, for your support, for your criticisms, and your feedback. I’m looking forward to an awesome campaign year.


Josh Shpayher

p.s. I’m also going to attempt the speaking circuit soon – results TBD.

Coming down the pike

Good morning! Just a tease of the charts to come. Tomorrow I will have the House Committees page up with the Senate committees coming sometime next week. Federal agencies & cabient members next week as well.

As for blank charts (ones I layout but don’t collect data up front) I will try and have every state senate by beginning of next week for readers to begin populating. We will also try a state agency and top official page (AG) for one lucky state and see see what the feedback is for that.

Thoughts? Priorities of items you would like to see sooner rather than later?

First day of the blog

Welcome to the blog! My name is Josh and I am an attorney from Chicago. I tried blogging about politics a few years ago, but I didn’t have the will to write when my articles led to endless debates with friends and colleagues. Hopefully this site, which will be non-partisan in the way it looks at and rates the various government officials and offices, will avoid (most of) the harsh partisan sniping that usually comes with the territory.

I am a huge political nerd and social/new media enthusiast. I hope to provide government staff and the public at large a comprehensive look at just who in government is using social media, who is falling behind, who is innovating, and who is using the most popular products the best. In the next few months I will try my hand at answering the great question of our time that any staffer or politician asks about Social Media: What value is there for us? Why should we devote staff resources to updating our facebook page?

Right now I have three pages up, Senate, House and Governors. These pages allow the reader to quickly identify which government office/politician is using which social media product. Later this week I will add a page comparing the various Congressional committees. I hope to have Federal agencies done by next Monday. If there are any specific page requests (e.g., Wyoming Senate), please let me know.

This site is intended as a public wiki. As of now the House and Senate pages remain locked, but every other page I add will be open to the public for editing. At some point in the near future I will unlock the other two pages. Layout and content feedback is very much appreciated.

I am generally new to blogging, and especially new to wordpress, so please forgive the dust as I figure out post options, theme/background layout etc.

Thanks for reading,


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