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Talk about a launch: minutes after Barack Obama took his oath and became the 44th President of the United States of America, a new Whitehouse.gov launched.

And it appears that President Obama, who made extensive use of the internet as a presidential candidate, will continue to use the internet as the most powerful man in the world.

Whitehouse.gov features a blog, RSS feeds and an email newsletter.

The first blog post was published by Macon Phillips, the White House's Director of New Media. Now how cool is that? In it, he writes:

"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."Macon lists three new media priorities:
  • Communication. The new administration wants plans to provide "timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up-to-date and educated" using Whitehouse.gov.
  • Transparency. Politicians are often criticized for not being transparent and it appears that President Obama plans to use the internet to change that. According to Phillips, "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."
  • Participation. Noting that the new President was a community organizer, Phillips states that President Obama will encourage citizens to participate in his administration using the internet. To start: non-emergency legislation will be posted to Whitehouse.gov, where citizens will have 5 days to comment on it and provide suggestions of their own.

These, of course, are tenets of good social media strategy.

To be sure, President Obama is the first "internet president" and I think citizens, policy analysts, media pundits and technology enthusiasts have good reason to believe that his use of the internet will be substantive, not just stylish.

The Obama administration has the ability to turn Whitehouse.gov into one of the most important, dynamic and interactive websites in the world and his use of technology during his campaign has led many to believe that he knows the internet is more than fluff; that he understands the beneficial role technology can play in the governing process.

Like all website launches, however, execution is key to success. Will President Obama provide high-quality content to his stakeholders on a regular basis? Will he stay engaged? Will he listen to the feedback he's provided? Will he act on it?

President Obama has the opportunity to leverage the power of the internet at a pivotal point in his country's history. Everything so far indicates that there's a good chance he'll seize it, providing in the process a great case study for us in the tech and media worlds.

Patricio Robles

Published 20 January, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Lawrence Ladomery

Lawrence Ladomery, Founder at automatico

Talking about participation, will they be turning their blog's commenting on? If they do, it will be interesting to see how they manage the thousands of comments they will no doubt receive.

Any idea who designed the site and what CMS is making it all happen?

over 7 years ago

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Jerry Oakley

Presdent Obama I think you bit off more then you can chew with your promises to the American people. Back off admit this way is noy going to work, But a new stimulus program for employment not just for big business. Give the people money and follow through with your road work for america. Keep defense of this country number one priority. Give as much as $5000.00 per family stimulus and create jobs do not make the rich richer that will not help the economy. Putting people to work and putting money in peoples pocket not big businee. Then people will spend this money and have an incinety to try to save this country economically. The way you are heading now looks good on paper and big business pockets, But not to the people who you need to win over to be a good president and actually do something good and make a history making changes that will last. Do for the people like you promised and be a good president not big business.

                                                             Thank You

                                                                    Jerry

over 7 years ago

Vincent Amari

Vincent Amari, Online Consultancy at Business Foresights Ltd

Site looks nice, but nobody has yet mentioned it's been setup to use underscores in their URL's?!

I realise they don't need to care about being ranked highly in search angines, so SEO not a priority for them as it is for us, but still would have been good for them to implement 'best practise'?

over 7 years ago

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brand clothing

 thought the internet IS open? How the devil could govt intrusion possibly make it more open? Net neutrality sounds very fishy (funny the WH earlier had us reporting "fishy" things). My understanding what "net neutrality" is code for FORCING conservative sites, such as religious sites

over 6 years ago

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Patricia Bowen

Since people have lost jobs, taken pay cuts and such, why can't the senate, legislature, congress and president take a pay cut.  Some don't need the pay at all, they have money of there own.  We te public can't afford you people.  I'm on disability through SS and this year we do not get a raise.  I thougtlh you were going to help the poor?  And now your taking our raise away.  But all the government officials above still make 6 figures. 

WHY?????

It seems totally unfair to me.

over 6 years ago

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julie

I can't say I dont agree with that , because I definately agree , NOT HELPING THE POOR where is all the help promised, I'm loosing my Dr. because they are doing all these changes , has anyone told you , it cost a fortune to change Dr.s to get records and they won't prescribe medications without them , also I cannot change Dr.s  Do you have any idea what youre doing? My brother says you don't well , I have to agree on that to. tell me how can canceling programs help disabled women get help , Oh thats right , THEY HAVE TO HAVE KIDS WITH THEM . what about the single ones who really need to stay alive, these people are on the streets and in shelters , is this what you call living? loosing dr.s jobs insurance houses  aparts. having no choice but to leave their entire lifes work savings etc.. and you are raising prices and lowering money, Is this what you call helping the poor ? helping them get poorer, you mean. People are starting to have no choice but to live with other families, and give up everythiung they have earned all their life you help other countrys with our money that , the americans have worked their butts off for for years and now they won't even get their s. s. etc... I do believe it is all a bunch of crap and jobs going to other countrys , WHAT ABOUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT HAVE PUT UP WITH EVERY DAY FIGHTING TO JUST EAT DINNER. My own kids cannot even Start their life. you allready ended it for them. they will have to fight just to eat , just like the other AMERICANS you have NEGLECTED to help.

over 6 years ago

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