How Magnify Progress came to be
I spent the five months leading up to November 2016 filled with a deep sense of dread. Most of my friends were convinced there was no chance of a Trump presidency, but I knew I couldn’t let my guard down until after November 8th. I didn’t really do anything with that energy. I spent one afternoon making calls at the Hillary campaign, but I didn’t really rise to the occasion. And despite my nervousness, I was unprepared for what I would feel when the election was called.
The night of the election, my friends got together to watch the results come in. After Florida was called, people started to trickle out, but I sat and watched until the end. The next morning, only 5 people showed up to the office, and no one bothered to verbalize what we were all thinking. I realized that despite the strong desire I’d felt to do something in the months before the election, my political participation had only extended to reading articles that agreed with my point of view, watching the debates, an afternoon of phone calls, and submitting my ballot.
That weekend, I started researching. I read communications from congressional staffers, scoured through articles about 'how to join the resistance' and talked to friends who had been politically active about their experiences. I wanted to learn as much as possible to understand if there was some underutilized method to get people to start participating, at any level, in the political process. I wanted to know how I could most efficiently make a difference, and empower others to do the same. Seeing the energy people were putting into planning protests and ranting on Facebook, I thought the key was a social platform that reduced the activation energy to participate.
I sketched out ideas, made lists of things I wanted and drew mock page ideas for a way to combine the large amount of data around the political process with a social platform people could engage with their friends on. I wanted to make it easy to take actions, while keeping the actions impactful and relevant . The easier I could make it for people to act, the more would likely they were to take that step.
|First notebook sketches of ideas and views|
So out of the ruin of election math, Magnify Progress was born. It would still be some time before I settled on a name (there is a small sample of the many my friends and I came up above) but the project was set in motion.