In last week’s Q&A, I talked to local tech blogger and programmer Gina Trapani about technology going more mainstream, among other things.

Today, Trapani announced her new job that will take one of her projects all the way to the White House.

Trapani is joining Expert Labs, a nonprofit that’s working with the White House to use technology to connect policy makers with expert answers.

The program Trapani developed, ThinkTank, organizes responses to messages people send out on Twitter.

I sent an email to Trapani this afternoon to find out a little bit more about what she’ll be doing.

What will your new job with Expert Labs entail?

My title is Project Director, and I’ll be in charge of ThinkTank development. The job will involve managing the ThinkTank project and its community of contributors, writing code, reviewing code contributions, and blogging and speaking about the process (to help others start/run similar projects).

I’ve been doing much of this stuff for the past 11 months as a nights-and-weekends personal project. The only difference now is that the scale and purpose of the application is much wider and more important, and it’s a paid position.

How will the White House be using ThinkTank?

My focus is to make sure the software does what we say it does. Then the White House will use it to gather responses from the public using its various profiles on different social networks, like The White House plans to use ThinkTank to help with its Grand Challenges initiative. The Grand Challenges initiative will help determine what scientific and technological challenges should be the nation’s highest priorities.

In short, this means ThinkTank will help the White House parse public responses to the question: If you had to pick the next project on the scale of the moon landing, or the human genome sequencing, what would you suggest?


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