Some say President-elect Obama has harnessed the power of the sun and used it to win an electoral landside victory to becoming the first African-American President and the first tech. savvy President as well. There is only one problem, it wasn’t the power of the sun, it was the power of online social interactive media (OSIM) and technology in general….which could mean solar power…which could mean the power of the sun….ignore that point. Obama created an army of mobile voters and works and used his magic microphone (a cellphone) to send them into battle with ease as they stood the night victorious, but what is next?
The question today is how does candidate 2.0 transition into president 2.0? Obama has already made great leaps and bounds in the field, firstly by opening up Change.gov. Change.gov is the official website of the president-elect and he uses just about ever facet of this technology to communicate effectively with the people. He posts regular web video addresses to the nation, allows you to apply online for jobs, read news articles, post questions and comments on its blog, yes its blog, learn about Obama/Biden policies and more.
This all in compassing site leaves little for tech. savvy nerds who like to blog about new media to think of that Obama will use next. He seems to be doing just about everything you can think of, so maybe the idea should be to look at what he can’t do or the negative impacts of all this new media access and openness.
Obama cannot access the list of millions of Americans he compiled during the election, in fact only communicating with people who voted with you is just plain undemocratic. This is why whitehouse.gov exist in the first place, to communicate with everyone equally. So there goes the idea of text messaging those tens of millions of people. A second thing is Obama cannot e-mail anymore, something that took effect with the current President George Bush. Obama has even agreed to this but mentioned his obsession with checking e-mail regularly; this will be a step back on the tech. filled platforms for Obama.
The biggest problem is rarely addressed in major news streams it feels like. The major question is; is all of this new media access going to bite Obama in the butt? It just might. Obama is living on rock star status currently, and that is in no way a negative thing, but what happens when he turns a policy that people don’t like? He is giving the world access, but what happens when he knows what everyone wants, but thinks it needs to be the other way. In short Obama is juggling a double-edged sword.
The president is privy to information that the public is never allowed to know, this shapes a lot of the presidents decisions. The public has never grasped this concept and as new media grows, I feel it will only get worse. Obama will be forced at a point to make decisions that may go against what he has previously said or just make a decision that is against popular opinion, for the greater good as Dumbledore always says.
Lastly, the idea that the president is tech. savvy excites A LOT of people, but with more use, won’t this bring more public eyes on the Internet? This could mean changing laws to regulate the Internet more as well, a relatively untouched area in American policy making.
Food for thought as some say, Obama has changed the way campaigns are run, is changing the way America is run, changing the white house but lets be careful and watch how he changes the Internet, he is not congress in the end and they make the laws.
–posted by Henry Kepps
Originally posted November 29, 2008 at PolicyByBlog by Amanda Clemens