If you know me, you might have already guessed that I was pretty happy over the outcome of the election this past week. But I don’t really want to talk politics, but instead talk about the awareness that our new president already has of the internet.
The versatility of the Obama campaign over the past year and a half has been pretty wide when it comes to modern functions of the web. Although they based much of their fundrasing and grass roots measures off of what Howard Dean did back in 2003 and 2004, they also had the insight to use social networking features as well as just about all of the popular venues of communication available to them. For example, instead of using some proprietary flash player, they used YouTube as an avenue for all of the videos. The Obama account on Twitter has also been the most followed for some time. Plus, he’s gained my tremendous respect on this regard because of his stances on technology issues, and specifically Net Nuetrality.
Yesterday, the Obama-Biden transition project launched a government website at Change.gov. While much of it seems to have been ported over from the old campaign site (the design layout is almost identical), it has something new that really struck me. It asks for and encourages feedback. It’s pretty broad at this point, but the site actually has sections on it asking users to “share your vision for what America can be, where President-Elect Obama should lead this country.” Wow. Surely the suggestions and content produced will just be looked at in a broad opinion gauging context, but it’s pretty exciting to see something like this. If the transition and eventual administrative staff continues to use the same kind of techniques as they did throughout the campaign, it’s feasible that we could even see a social network site where users are encouraged to speak somewhat directly with the administration. It certainly could give new definition and perspective to “by the people, for the people”.
This is exciting for me in another way in that President Obama can now completely cut out the middle man of the media. If interested citizens want to sign up, they can receive information directly from the White House, perhaps even specifically tailored for him. And I don’t think it’s completely out of the ordinary to expect things like a number of blogs, podcasts, and maybe even a continued use of Twitter.
I’m somewhat dreaming out loud for what I think would be great but within the first few days of being elected, its already looking like we might have just elected the first truly internet aware president.