I just got an email from the president this morning – probably like a ton of other people. I get text messages from him, too.
Sure, I know that HE isn’t the one sending them out–that there are hordes of staffers digitizing the office of the president faster than I can type this…but that’s why I’m typing this.
I LOVE that our new president is not so “presidential” that he only addresses us at 7pm from the oval office with flags behind his head. I love that I get texts and email from the white house (they even sent the best street directions in DC during the inauguration to ensure we would get there), that the president is on YouTube (of his own choosing, not because someone decided to throw a shoe at him during a press conference in a foreign land) and that he hosted a bipartisan superbowl party. I love that he sends video messages and fosters community meetings around issues that are important to all of us.
With the use of new media, Barack Obama is changing the presidency as we have known it. He is creating the transparency around the highest offices that would eventually come–but instead of waiting for it, he is using it both to his advantage and ours. That sense of transparency works to help reinstate a sense of trust with the government that has eroded significantly. (I know, trust and government in the same sentence – and not in a bad way!) It also works to include us by creating community in ways that have been lost since, uh,(and I’m just throwing this out) maybe the 50’s? Hey, my email reads, get together with your neighbors. Host a meeting at your house and ask people to bring chips and good ideas. Talk about the economy and raise questions you want answered. Send us your questions. What a concept!
In this day and age of social media, the approach isn’t new–just new for the government as a way to interact with citizens – the people it serves. It rings a bit of Lincoln’s “by the people, for the people”, and it sounds good to me. I am excited about how the White House will use social media in the future and how we the people will begin re-entering the conversation in ways we haven’t before.