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Welcome to 44 — President Barack Obama… and a new White House blog!

with 12 comments

obama-web-photoA big welcome to President Barack Obama.

Some of my thoughts later, but… the official stuff first…

I thought the speech was remarkable — Obama seems to have a sense about time and place… and finds the right words that match both. But there were some words that should really speak to anybody who works in or near government:

There are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

But there was another transition at 12 noon today — from the Bush WhiteHouse.gov site to the new Obama WhiteHouse.gov Web site. [Federal News Radio 1500 AM's Max Cacas story is here... the NYT story here.] Included on the new Web site is… a blog. What actually thrills me is that people don’t seem all that surprised by this without understanding how powerful that is — or can be. Perhaps it also shows how natural information sharing can be. (One person posted on Twitter: “#1 point in tomorrow’s talk to a group of federal CIOs: the White house is blogging. Think they have security issues? What’s your excuse?” Amen! In fact, there is even some criticism that some of the Web 2.0 aspects that were part of the transition’s change.gov Web site are not on the new White House Web site, causing one tech to Twitter: “It seems that many of the Web 2.0 elements of change.gov did not make it to whitehouse.gov. Technologist enthusiasm yesterday fizzles today.”)

Why blog? The White House’s new director of new media — love that they have a director of new media — posted the WhiteHouse.gov blog’s first post. He has several reasons, but… one of them: Transparency.

Transparency — President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and WhiteHouse.gov will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities.

Read the full post after the break.

The first post on the WhiteHouse.gov blog

Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov

Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov Welcome to the new WhiteHouse.gov. I’m Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House and one of the people who will be contributing to the blog.

A short time ago, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and his new administration officially came to life. One of the first changes is the White House’s new website, which will serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world.

Millions of Americans have powered President Obama’s journey to the White House, many taking advantage of the internet to play a role in shaping our country’s future. WhiteHouse.gov is just the beginning of the new administration’s efforts to expand and deepen this online engagement.

Just like your new government, WhiteHouse.gov and the rest of the Administration’s online programs will put citizens first. Our initial new media efforts will center around three priorities:

Communication — Americans are eager for information about the state of the economy, national security and a host of other issues. This site will feature timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up-to-date and educated. Check out the briefing room, keep tabs on the blog (RSS feed) and take a moment to sign up for e-mail updates from the President and his administration so you can be sure to know about major announcements and decisions.

Transparency — President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and WhiteHouse.gov will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities.

Participation — President Obama started his career as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, where he saw firsthand what people can do when they come together for a common cause. Citizen participation will be a priority for the Administration, and the internet will play an important role in that. One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.

We’d also like to hear from you — what sort of things would you find valuable from WhiteHouse.gov? If you have an idea, use this form to let us know. Like the transition website and the campaign’s before that, this online community will continue to be a work in progress as we develop new features and content for you. So thanks in advance for your patience and for your feedback.

Later today, we’ll put up the video and the full text of President Obama’s Inaugural Address. There will also be slideshows of the Inaugural events, the Obamas’ move into the White House, and President Obama’s first days in office.

See the inaugural address for yourself — in case you’re one of the three people that missed it.

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Written by cdorobek

January 20, 2009 at 2:05 PM

12 Responses

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  1. This is a powerful new beginning. There will be lots of tech people who bemoan that the new White House website is not “social media” enough. But for an institution that has as many security restrictions as the White House does, this is an excellent beginning. I cannot wait to see what happens as we use social media to break down Government barriers and truly, really bring power to the people.

    Alan W. Silberberg
    CEO, You2Gov
    http://www.you2gov.com
    @You2Gov – Twitter

    Alan W. Silberberg

    January 20, 2009 at 2:31 PM

  2. My thoughts in order of when I had them:

    1) Oh cool! The White House has a blog!

    2) Oh…there’s no way to comment on these articles. This isn’t a blog at all. It’s just a way to publish content :(

    3) Humm…I can’t image that Macon Phillips will link to other bloggers. Maybe he’s not allowed…

    4) What is Macon allowed to do?

    5) Humm…I wonder if Macon has a phone number yet. *calls whitehouse* Nope, operator said he doesn’t have an extension yet.

    6) Okay, we’re only 3 hours into the new site. Maybe they’ll turn more features on later and maybe we can get Macon to come to http://transparencycamp.eventbrite.com and/or http://gov20camp.eventbrite.com

    7) Time to get lunch.

    corbett3000

    January 20, 2009 at 3:01 PM

  3. Hey, thanks for posting my tweet re: “What’s your excuse?” :)

    Great post! That speech excerpt is invigorating, and reflects why I’m a federal servant. And I use the word “servant” deliberately, because I’m surrounded by federal employees who are doing their jobs out of a sense of public service.

    I’m thrilled to be part of this Administration, at least partly because of what it means for social media in gov’t. What many of us in the gov’t have been doing and pushing for will get an enormous boost from what whitehouse.gov does.

    Jeffrey Levy
    Director of Web Communications
    US EPA

    and Co-Chair, Social Media Subcouncil of the Federal Web Managers Council

    Jeffrey Levy

    January 20, 2009 at 3:17 PM

  4. Good work America! Nice to see the White House blog – and if you look at their copyright notice, you’ll see they’ve recognised Creative Commons Licenses too.

    Over here in the UK, http://www.number10.gov.uk has been running on WordPress since last year, and while they call their blog ‘latest’, they’ve even slapped a “beta” notice on it!

    Times they are a’changing…

    Tom

    January 20, 2009 at 3:58 PM

  5. [...] (DorobekInsider.com) [...] But there was another transition at 12 noon today — from the Bush WhiteHouse.gov site to the new Obama WhiteHouse.gov Web site. [Federal News Radio 1500 AM's Max Cacas story is here...the NYT story here.] Included on the new Web site is… a blog. What actually thrills me is that people don’t seem all that surprised by this without understanding how powerful that is — or can be. Perhaps it also shows how natural information sharing can be… READ IT [...]

  6. It’s not fully Web 2.0 yet because of arcane federal rules that need to be changed in the coming weeks. Be patient.

    Note the WH does have a YouTube channel:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/whitehouse

    you can post comments there…

    G

    January 20, 2009 at 4:18 PM

  7. I was thrilled to see (1) the new website go up ON TIME; (2) a repectable amount of content; and (3) to see the blog.

    Attention Government IT Leaders: Remember all the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands about blogging and the like? … you have until 1/21/09 to get over it, if it isn’t already too late.

    Linda Cureton

    January 20, 2009 at 6:31 PM

  8. Christopher- enjoy your take on the new web site and blog. I think the new blog is a valuable example for other government entities – and post some thoughts on that here:

    http://influence.forumone.com/archives/312-Whitehouse.gov-Blog-Good-start,-good-example-for-government-blogging.html

    Chris Wolz

    January 21, 2009 at 1:23 PM

  9. [...] Back on inauguration day, January 20 , I praised the White House Web site for actually launching a blog. It was a first for the White House Web site. Many feds saw that as an enormous step — it made it difficult for other agencies to say that they can’t have a blog if the White House has one. And remember it was just about one year ago — last January — that NavyCIO Robert Carey was the first government CIO to post to a public blog. (Read Carey’s blog here.) So government has come a long way in a year. [...]

  10. [...] a comment » When the new WhiteHouse.gov launched on inauguration day, Jan. 20, there were very divergent reactions — in a way, the site is almost a litmus test to how well [...]

  11. [...] will get poked for not enabling comments — and I hope they are working on that, but, as I’ve said before , I think that blogging can be very powerful. Having the OMB director post is a [...]

  12. [...] Welcome to 44 — President Barack Obama… and a new White House blog! [...]


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