Nov 20, 2008

Obama’s Bold Vision for E-gov

From the Federal Times:
Feds and outside experts are hopeful that the Obama administration will implement at least some of its proposals — and they’re excited about the potential impact.

Obama’s campaign has been widely praised for its effective use of the Internet, and he has pledged to bring that same savvy to Washington.

In a memo released last month, Obama pledged to require all of his Cabinet officials to conduct “21st century fireside chats” on the Web
Fireside chats online for all Cabinet officials? Better start getting that project plan together!! More at the Federal Times.

Nov 19, 2008

An Open Letter to President-Elect Obama: CHANGE COOKIE policy

In "An Open Letter to President-Elect Obama" Eric Peterson writing for Web Analytics Demystified blog writes:
Your [President Elect Obama's] stated goal is to use technology to create “a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens” and will empower your CTO to “ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century.”

As a member of the digital measurement community with more than a passing familiarity with some of the policies imposed on web sites operated by the Federal Government, I wanted to offer up a proverbial “slam dunk” for you and your CTO to improve the quality of the digital relationship citizens have with our government: Simply put, allow Federal Government web sites to deploy persistent, first-party cookies.
Read it all here.

While I take exception with Eric's comment that faced with the challenges of getting permission to use cookies Feds "do-nothing," he provides a very good history of the cookie policy and good reasons why it should be changed. Slam dunk indeed!

Nov 14, 2008

Mr. MySpace Goes to Washington

From ClickZ a marketing newsletter.
...the e-government initiative goals are modest. For instance, it states that it aims to make the federal government the "best manager, innovator and user of information, services and information systems in the world." What does it mean to be the best? "Citizens and government decision makers have the ability to find information easily and securely," the e-government report states. Unfortunately, that goal feels like it was written in 2000 when the focus was on one-way communication rather than in 2008, when people expect to participate in conversations.

..."Agencies and government leaders are not used to the wide-ranging interactive discussions with multiple participants that many of the newer Web technologies and strategies offer," reads the report published by the OMB Watch, a nonprofit group that promotes open government and citizen participation.

Coalition recommendations aimed at fostering greater participation include:
  • Appoint a chief technology officer. Obama has advanced this proposal. And there's lots of speculation over potential candidates. BusinessWeek last month mentioned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist as possibilities. And lots of priorities for the office have been floated, including these mentioned by the Personal Democracy Forum's tech president.
  • Encourage agencies to implement Web 2.0 technologies. "Wikis, comment sections, collaborative projects, public review of pending policies, and online dialogs are all relatively simple ways to start experimenting online," the coalition recommends.
  • Allow government agencies and employees to use free online services such as Twitter and YouTube. "Adoption of new and changing tools is essential to legitimate online engagement," the coalition writes. Government agencies are apparently reluctant to use free Web services because it might give the appearance of favoring one company over another.
  • Make online government information searchable, shareable, and useable. While government agencies maintain lots of data -- from national mortality statistics to the federal budget outlook, not all can be found online. Some agencies don't allow search engines to crawl their Web sites, in effect making information invisible to people online.
Full article at

Nov 13, 2008

Obama to Pioneer Web Outreach as President

From the SF Chronicle:
Transition officials call it Obama 2.0 — an ambitious effort to transform the president-elect's vast Web operation and database of supporters into a modern new tool to accomplish his goals in the White House. If it works, the new president could have an unprecedented ability to appeal for help from millions of Americans who already favor his ideas, bypassing the news media to pressure Congress.

...Aides say the Obama team will staff a robust "new media" operation out of the White House and plans a complete overhaul of the White House Web site to make it more interactive and user-friendly. On the campaign trail, Obama promised to use the Internet to make his administration more open, such as offering a detailed look at what's going on in the White House on a given day or asking people to post comments on his legislative proposals.

...Obama's team is determining how best to convert his army of online activists into a viral lobbying and communications machine. Staffers are reluctant to discuss specifics, but Obama clearly is poised to become the first truly "wired" president of the digital age.

For legal and privacy reasons, Obama's campaign list must be kept separate from White House operations. Aides are figuring out if that list should be run through the Democratic National Committee or as a freestanding political entity that will eventually become his 2012 re-election committee. -- More at SF Chron.
Food for thought: How does this impact websites? What will be the expectations of members of federal Web teams?

Jun 7, 2008

Transition & Transformation


Like it or not, the next year will bring plenty of change to government web channels. There is going to be a new sheriff in town. Keeping an eye on the candidates websites and how they approach web communications is one way to prepare.

See, for example, Obama Campaign Masters Digital Media While McCain Efforts are “Old and Clunky."

Senator Obama has video channels on a multitude of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, flickr, digg, twitter, eventful, linked in, blackplanet, faithbase, eons, glee, mi genti, asian ave, dnc partybuilder and mybatanga. In fact, Barack even has his own social network site. Senator McCain … not so much. –The Shelly Palmer Report

So, do you know about Facebook? MySpace, digg, twitter, etc? Better find out.