Twitter, Facebook and MySpace accounts for the White House will contribute to President Obama's attempts at public engagement. Although the White House has maintained a long-running site at WhiteHouse.gov, this marks the first time that the executive branch has utilized a broad range of social-networking tools to spread its message. During his presidential campaign, Obama utilized such tools to rally supporters and spread messages.
President Obama's plans for public outreach by the executive
branch reached a new level with the announcement that the White House will soon
have more social-networking accounts than a 14-year-old kid, including Twitter,
Facebook and MySpace pages.
In an April 25 address, President Obama suggested that, "To
help build a new foundation for the 21st
century, we need to reform
our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more
One of the steps toward that goal, evidently, is having the
White House become the nation's friend on Facebook
, followed on Twitter
, and a connection on MySpace
. The White House blog (RSS) will provide much of the content
for these networks, but as a recent Twitter posting indicates, officials will
be available through these social-networking tools to answer questions and take
comments from the public. In addition, the White House also plans on utilizing Flickr
, a dedicated YouTube channel
, and even iTunes
to spread its message.
"There's a lot to talk about right now," said a May 1
posting on the official White House blog. "From an economic crisis to wars in Iraq
the President and his Administration have a full plate - not the least of which
is making sure the public stays up-to-date and involved in our efforts." In keeping with that up-to-date motif, the same blog posting
suggested that readers direct themselves to the Centers for Disease
Control Website to learn more about the H1N1 virus, also known as
"swine flu," that
has incited a fair amount of panic online.
Obama's reputation as a tech-savvy president has steadily
built since he took office on Jan. 20. Even before his inauguration,
he promised heavy investment in computers and broadband connections for schools
, and announced plans to update and expand the country's
Internet infrastructure. On April 18, Obama
nominated Aneesh Chopra as the nation's first CTO
, tasked with coordinating
and reforming the federal government's technology systems. Chopra's previous
posting was as Virginia's
secretary of technology.