Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a day: A new President and a new White House website

Within seconds of the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States came another big change today: the take-over of the White House website by the new administration. Social media enthusiasts will be excited to learn that the new site resembles the much praised Change.gov site the Obama team had put up to communicate with the public during the presidential transition phase. The new White House website contains a blog and the first post by Macon Phillips, Director of New Media for the White House, clearly describes the priorities of the Obama administration's new media efforts (emphasis added by me):
1. Communication -- Americans are eager for information about the state of the economy, national security and a host of other issues. This site will feature timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up-to-date and educated. Check out the briefing room, keep tabs on the blog (RSS feed) and take a moment to sign up for e-mail updates from the President and his administration so you can be sure to know about major announcements and decisions.

2. Transparency -- President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and WhiteHouse.gov will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President's executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities.

3. Participation -- President Obama started his career as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, where he saw firsthand what people can do when they come together for a common cause. Citizen participation will be a priority for the Administration, and the internet will play an important role in that. One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.
Update: Wow, I must say Obama's new media team is on the ball! I published this post at 1:52 p.m. and received a Twitter notification exactly 32 minutes later to inform me that Government Tweets (dotgov) is now following me on Twitter. And I thought they were all busy celebrating...

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