Obama Invents Citizen Centered Government Communication

A model for government agencies and science organizations to replicate. From a Politico article on Obama's campaign pledge to use technology to enhance transparency, responsiveness, and citizen engagement:


The transition period between Election Day and Obama's swearing-in was just 76 days long, but in that time, it's fair to say that the Obama transition -- and in particular its website, Change.gov -- has made a serious down payment on these promises. Consider all the salient features of this dynamic, responsive and refreshingly open government website:


\n• Its central feature is a blog, written with a conversational style and with the authors of posts identified by name.

• The names and jobs of hundreds of members of the transition team are posted on the site.

• For the hundreds of groups lobbying the administration-to-be, Change.gov created Your Seat at the Table, where meeting topics, dates and documents delivered to the transition are posted for public viewing and comment.

• The site has launched discussion forums on several topics, including health care, the economy and community service.

• Participants in those forums can rate the comments made by others, and tens of thousands of comments are posted on the site.

• Transition staff, including top officials such as incoming health czar Tom Daschle, have posted video replies to those forums, using sites like YouTube.

• Site visitors have been invited to host local community meetings to discuss health care reform, and thousands have responded.

• The health care sector of the site even asks for participants in those local meetings to report back by uploading documents, photos and videos to the transition team.

• Open for Discussion -- a gigantic forum for people to post questions to the transition and vote for their favorites -- has gone through two rounds, with more than 5.7 million votes cast by nearly 125,000 people on about 86,000 submitted questions.

• The site features the Citizen's Briefing Book, where anyone can post or vote on proposals on any issue facing the administration. The highest-rated ideas will be gathered into a book that will be delivered to President Obama for his review.


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