Did you know that the White House has a website? Have you taken a look at it before yesterday? What did you think? Rather stiff and conservative, yes? Nothing too shocking or graphical – more like “just the facts”, huh? Well with the recent inauguration of Barack Obama as the country’s 44th president, the White House website has gone through a revamp, of sorts.
The master of online marketing & campaigning, the Obama camp has done a phenomenal job working on attracting followers and attention through their masterful use of the world wide web. I guess it started with Howard Dean when he ran for the Democratic nomination a few years back, but now Obama has pounced on it by using Facebook, Twitter, and even created a “government 2.0” mechanism to allow his “fellow citizens” the opportunity to respond to him versus going through the middlemen which is the Congress of the United States.
Obviously he’s not going to respond directly to everyone in the country – his community, but he’s continuing his philosophy of transparency and restoring trust in the American government by engaging with social media. Just think about when he first announced his candidacy? He took advantage of creating a website where you could offer your insight, build your own community (and potentially lead your own tribe, a la Seth Godin), donate, or offer other ways for the public to follow on the journey.
Perhaps beginning as one of the most open administrations in the country, Obama has accepted technology into his presidency by addressing the country through videos posted on YouTube, broadcasting short messages on Twitter, establishing an organization on Facebook, and now made the White House website more interactive.
But why is it considered Government 2.0? Well simply because it’s meshing the government bureacracy with the social public. The public community now has a means to fight back and seek redress from their government. You will see from the New Media Director of the White House offering insight and a glimpse into what the President is up to. Not only that, but you’ll be able to play a part in the conversation by checking out what’s going on.
So look forward to what’s ahead in the Obama administration. If you’re not transparent in your website, then how are people going to believe what you say when there’s information passed along to media or anywhere else? Use the website to its full potential by saying what you really mean and defending your position.