By now, most of you (especially the mac-ophiles) have probably heard the anecdote of Obama’s new media team entering the White House faced with 6-year-old versions of Windows, nary a laptop in sight, and no social networking tools in place. More than giving me a chuckle and pause – and encapsulating the huge technological overhaul ushered in by the Obama team – the story points up a new dilemma for an administration that’s carving a niche of not only being ultra-current, but more importantly, who is claiming to be transparent.
So, what’s the dilemma? Well, it’s actually more of a fear than a dilemma. I worry that bloggers (from either side of the fence, to be fair) will criticize the Obama team for not treating the new WhiteHouse.gov blog as a traditional blog (or, rather, how we’ve come to define a traditional blog… with open comments, strikethrough edits and the like). I anticipate that closed comments, highly-filtered info, and heavily-edited prose may be thrashed by critical eyes (and countered with unforgiving keystrokes).
I hope this fear is unfounded. I hope that the blogging community can accept that the use of social networking tools in this capacity must be politicized (such a gloppy, misused word anyway). This is not a case of the Obama team trying to talk the talk and tripping over their own priggish walk… They get it; it’s clear from how they ran the campaign that they get it. I just hope that the community takes the social networking and blog push from the Obama team for what it is – a measured, accountable, pulling-back of the executive curtain in a fitting way – and not for what it’s not and never can be…
This ain’t no JenniCam on the WH Master Bedroom, folks. Media transparency in the White House is (and needs to be) a relative term.
So, a toast to you, Obama New Media Team… Here’s to responsible openness within a rapidly changing mediascape:
(Amazing pic courtesy of Boston.com’s Big Picture feature)