White House 2.0

The first Tech President.  What does that mean and where will that take us?

Obama revolutionized political campaigning and now he has the opportunity to revolutionize the White House and bring government into a Web 2.0 world.

His transition Web site, change.gov, gives us a hint of what is to come, taking us behind-the-scenes of the transition process, providing information and resources.  As a reminder of the high expectations Obama faces, the site has come under criticism for being too one-way and undergoing some clever revisions.

The opportunities for Obama are limitless, but I think he’d be wise to focus his revolution on two areas:

1)      Video

2)      Transparency

He’s off to a good start with video, breaking new ground by delivering the weekly Democratic address not just on radio but also on video.   The address already has more than 1,000,000 views on YouTube.  And how many people gathered by the radio to listen to President Bush? 

Obama’s White House transition team has also indicated they’ll conduct online Q&As and video interviews, including with choices for the Cabinet and policy experts.  I like Dan Manatt’s idea to weave YouTube through all of government, creating a GovTube that would put video in a searchable and friendly format.  This would also enable Kevin Thurman’s smart vision to bring a two-way dialogue to every agency and every Cabinet secretary, getting the “federal government behind having a conversation with citizens online.”

Obama has also indicated he’ll take the lead on transparency.

Obama would be smart to closely follow the 21st Century Right to Know Project to build a White House 2.0.

Let’s see “wikis, comment sections, collaborative projects, public review of pending policies and online dialogues” to bring democracy to the people.  Make G-Webs as familiar a term as YouTube and Facebook to the general public.

The best sign we have of Obama’s commitment is the man he’s place at his side:  Google CEO Eric Schmidt.  He may not become CTO, but hopefully his presence will bring the Google mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” straight to Washington, DC.





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