Getting By With A Little Help From Your Friends

It's no secret that I started my Drupal career in politics, coming up as part of a self-organizing band of web-savvy volunteers creating a little thing we called "DeanSpace" back in the summer of 2003. However, while about 1/2 of Chapter Three's business does come from the government and non-profit sectors, we've done virtually no work on elections directly. It's not that we don't care, but because it seemed to make more sense to build our business by establishing ourselves as Drupal experts in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, ironically a much less crowded market compared to Washington DC.

Still, we've stayed connected, and when I met two of the founders of Music for Democracy at this summer's Netroots Nation conference, I couldn't help but want to get involved, given my own history with Music for America in 2004. The result of that collaboration is finally out, just in time for one of the most pivotal elections in US history:

Using Drupal and Flex, we created a viral widget which interfaces behind the scenes with the SayNow web service. Users sign up and receive a confirmation phone call with a message from the artist of their choice. On the day of the election (or any other time an artist chooses) they'll receive another voice message reminding them to vote for Obama.

Drupal provides the glue here, creating a platform for organizing the information around the widget and tracking signups as they're passed through to SayNow. It's a great illustration of an emerging concept I like to call Drupal in the Cloud, which basically boils down to Drupal's extremely API-friendly nature making it a natural hub technology for building websites which leverage external services. It's really just an extension of Zack's old Drupal is a Mashup Machine concept, but I think we're starting to see ways in which the platform technology really begins to open doors in ways that "making a google map of some stuff" only hinted at.

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