Monday, May 19, 2008

Obama and "HisSpace"

Really interesting article in The Atlantic about Obama's use of social campaign techniques and how that might translate in to presidential "stuff" (don't worry, they put it far more eloquently than that :)).

The author makes the point that many President's in our history have stood at the Vanguard of a new technology and/or way of communicating. Andrew Jackson and the printing press, Abraham Lincoln and newspapers, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his fireside chats... You get the picture. I am reminded of the role talk radio played in the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. Most democrats did not realize the power it would have -- until it was too late. As noted in the article:

"No other candidate in this or any other election has ever built a support network like Obama’s. The campaign’s 8,000 Web-based affinity groups, 750,000 active volunteers, and 1,276,000 donors have provided him with an enormous financial and organizational advantage in the Democratic primary."

How will his enthusasim for and understanding of the Internet be demonstrated in his presidency? I (and others) predict a more participatory government, where citizens might:
  • Indicate online which policies they "DIGG" and which they don't
  • Comment on the blogs that every federal agency would be required to post
  • Participate on federal "social networking" sites to improve government services
  • Utilize a Google-like search tool to learn more about government spending
  • Review federal agency statements via YouTube
  • Subcribe to the PodCasts of agencies they want to learn more about

And that would be just the beginning. What about a model program where citizens directly decide on the fate of executive branch initiative themselves? The list (and possibilities) go on and on...

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