How best to celebrate the first anniversary of the Obama administration? Why, with an app, of course - and a mobile web site, to boot.
Released today, the "The White House" app is so far only available for the iPhone and iPod touch, but more versions are promised soon. The app is loaded with more information than even the hardest-core policy wonk may want to know: information from the White House blog, news releases, photos of what the Commander-in-Chief is doing, and archived video. If posts and other content invite comments, users are linked back to the WhiteHouse.gov website.
By far the coolest feature is live streaming video, kicking off today with Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes, who hosted a live chat and answered questions submitted via Facebook on school reform. The daily press briefing with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is next. The app contains a schedule of live broadcasts.
The White House also announced plans for a mobile.whitehouse.gov, a mobile version of their site, coming in the next few weeks.
In the announcement, the administration call this another step on the way to an open, transparent government. It's also a positive step for digital marketing. When established, traditional instituions (and does it get more established and traditional than the US government?) leveraging technology and communications in new and innovative ways, an example is set for businesses that are dragging their feet when it comes to moving initiatives into the digital mainstream.