Obama Invents Citizen Centered Government Communication

A model for government agencies and science organizations to replicate. From a Politico article on Obama's campaign pledge to use technology to enhance transparency, responsiveness, and citizen engagement:

The transition period between Election Day and Obama's swearing-in was just 76 days long, but in that time, it's fair to say that the Obama transition -- and in particular its website, Change.gov -- has made a serious down payment on these promises. Consider all the salient features of this dynamic, responsive and refreshingly open government website:

⢠Its central feature is a blog, written with a conversational style and with the authors of posts identified by name.

⢠The names and jobs of hundreds of members of the transition team are posted on the site.

⢠For the hundreds of groups lobbying the administration-to-be, Change.gov created Your Seat at the Table, where meeting topics, dates and documents delivered to the transition are posted for public viewing and comment.

⢠The site has launched discussion forums on several topics, including health care, the economy and community service.

⢠Participants in those forums can rate the comments made by others, and tens of thousands of comments are posted on the site.

⢠Transition staff, including top officials such as incoming health czar Tom Daschle, have posted video replies to those forums, using sites like YouTube.

⢠Site visitors have been invited to host local community meetings to discuss health care reform, and thousands have responded.

⢠The health care sector of the site even asks for participants in those local meetings to report back by uploading documents, photos and videos to the transition team.

⢠Open for Discussion -- a gigantic forum for people to post questions to the transition and vote for their favorites -- has gone through two rounds, with more than 5.7 million votes cast by nearly 125,000 people on about 86,000 submitted questions.

⢠The site features the Citizen's Briefing Book, where anyone can post or vote on proposals on any issue facing the administration. The highest-rated ideas will be gathered into a book that will be delivered to President Obama for his review.

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Yes, change.gov was incredibly interactive. But whitehouse.gov is not nearly on the same scale. Granted, they're still having some issues, but the new site is not nearly as participatory.

Do you think they'll hang on to change.gov for this purpose? How will they continue to capitalize on their social media strategy if they can't make some immediate changes?