How difficult can it be?
That was the question asked moments before the concept of Waaromkiesjij.nl (and with that, the Vox Pop Foundation) came into existence. The simple thought that, in a world more and more polarised by social and traditional media, we can send a message across the globe in seconds yet a political discussion with someone outside your 'bubble' seems unlikely at best. For many, 2016 felt like the pinnacle of Internet-led polarisation. The words ‘filterbubble’, ‘echochamber’, and, for some for the first time since high school, ‘algorithm’, were all proudly added to our collective vocabulary. We therefore wanted to create an online platform that facilitated these discussions, where voters could randomly meet and share their opinions in an anonymous one-on-one environment.
The vox pop foundation
After the successful launch of Waaromkiesjij.nl running up to the Dutch elections, it became clear that the concept could work for every democratic country. After Diskutiermitmir.de the foundation now has a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities when creating a Vox Pop platform. The clear benefits of enabling voters to discuss politics one-on-one has led the foundation to believe that the concept should be used in every democratic election. Both the concept and the technological infrastructure are owned by the Vox Pop Foundation and are available for cost price, including advise from the board. Moreover, the foundation is looking to develop other concepts for digital civic engagement or to link with like-minded individuals or organisations. The report over the first six months of the foundation is available for the public, and downloadable below:
The Vox Pop Foundation is currently creating concepts for digital civic education in the Netherlands and abroad. A modified version of the platform will be used to match students from all over the country with different backgrounds to debate societal issues one-on-one. In doing so, not only will the peers actively break their filterbubbles, but they will also learn democratic skills in a practical and innovative way. More info coming soon.
The Vox Pop Foundation is founded by friends Ruben Treurniet, Leon Horbach, Willem Herter and Sem Houben. The initial platform, Waaromkiesjij.nl, was built with the help of numerous volunteers and developed by Studioweb, who are also responsible for developing Diskutiermitmir.de.
Members of the board (unpaid)
Ruben Treurniet (chairman)
Leon Horbach (vice-chair & secretary)
Robin de Vogel (treasurer)