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 creative.”
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.
“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 and Afghanistan, 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 hospitals, 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.