“We first dreamed up the idea back in May 2010 during the UK General Election after stumbling upon a few websites that were aggregating Twitter accounts for all the UK MPs. Back then there were only about 180+ out of the total of 650 MPs using Twitter, so it was quite a niche thing to do. However we also knew that MPs were using more than just Twitter; they had set up Facebook Pages, were uploading photos and videos and also pushing out more traditional blogs. The problem was, as a user it was impossible to track and see all that content, even as a political hack; there was too much information spread across too many formats,” explains Matt Freckleton, CEO and Founder of Yatterbox, and recent University of York graduate.
Freckleton’s idea was to create a website that presents the information from every social media account for every politician in the UK. By the time he got round to building and launching the site in mid-February 2011, they had missed the UK General Election. But that didn’t really matter as he knew that the next few years would be very interesting with the new coalition government in power. “We had always planned to expand to cover more countries, which we did launching a US version 46 days after the UK soft launch.”
After some initial funding, Freckleton built a small tech team of talented computer sciences students from the University of York. The current Yatterbox Team comprises of about 15+ people, ranging from programmers to business development experts.
For the rest of the year, Yatterbox has a slew of new releases coming out that will enable users to connect even better to their political hub, such as using mobile devices. In addition to the new releases, Freckleton’s team is spending the next 5 months expanding the project to cover over 15 countries. “The idea being that Yatterbox will be the preferred hub for following political social-media during major world events such as the 2012 US General Election,” says Freckleton.
Yatterbox sets a good example of applying social media in a very proactive way of engaging politicians with their voters.