WaPo on Road Bumps for the White House Tech Team

Interesting story yesterday in the Washington Post about some of the road bumps that the White House Tech team was facing…

The team that ran the most technologically advanced presidential campaign in modern history is finding it difficult to adapt that model to government. WhiteHouse.gov, envisioned as the primary vehicle for President Obama to communicate with the online masses, has been overwhelmed by challenges that staffers did not foresee and technological problems they have yet to solve.

Obama, for example, would like to send out mass e-mail updates on presidential initiatives, but the White House does not have the technology in place to do so. The same goes for text messaging, another campaign staple.

Beyond the technological upgrades needed to enable text broadcasts, there are security and privacy rules to sort out involving the collection of cellphone numbers, according to Obama aides, who acknowledge being caught off guard by the strictures of government bureaucracy.


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A State Dept. Diplomat Starts Using Twitter

This is SOOO cool. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Colleen Graffy has recently started using Twitter.  Right now she’s tweeting while on her trip through Iceland, Croatia and Armenia.

Despite what you see and hear on TV, there are actually good people doing good things in the government.   Something like what Colleen Graffy is doing on Twitter has the potential to bring so much interest and excitement to the State Department and public diplomacy that they would have NEVER seen otherwise.

People don’t want to be all up in the State Dept’s business.  We don’t have time for that or at least I know that I don’t.  Twitter allows for that comfortable level of ambient intimacy.

I challenge other government agencies to follow suit and start using Twitter as a tool for building community around their actions and ideas.

(Via Dipnote)

Expanding Your Global Neighborhood (and Finally Meeting Some of Them Face to Face)

I remember when I got into the World Wide Web for the first time.  I was just a boy in mid-Michigan sitting in front of a computer with my dad.  The world seemed very large and incredibly inaccessible.  That was all about to change.

With the Web, information and people become infinitely more accessible. You get to meet people on the other side of the state, the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world who have common interests to you.    Before my friends would have been restricted by who I lived geographically near.  With the Web, this all changed very dramatically.

A few years ago, Shel Israel to me was just a guy who I admired, co-authored a book about blogging, and lived on the other side of the country. Because of the Web and specifically our blogs, we were able to connect and I now consider Shel to be an old friend.  He’s become what he likes to call part of my “global neighborhood.”

I could have never imagined that I would have had the opportunity to get to know and become friends with Shel but that’s the power of the Web.  It has the ability to allow to people from different backgrounds, ages, and parts of the world who have a similar interests or passion to get to know one another, form a conversation, and start a friendship. It’s sooo cool.

Today, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Shel in person at the Social Media in Government conference that was being held in Washington DC.   It was a blast.  If Shel didn’t have a plane to catch, i’m confident the conversation could have gone on for most of the day.

At the conference, I also had the pleasure today of meeting Kyle Hansen.  He wrote a blog post a while back which made a lot of people’s attention, including Shel’s.  He said “to my future boss: please let me blog.”  Kyle is an outstanding example of the revolution that is taking place with how people communicate.  He’s also very bright.

Someone in Washington DC, please hire Kyle.  We want him on this coast (he goes to school in Calif but is at an internship in DC).

I’m proud to say that Kyle is now a part of my global neighborhood.

The Web is and will change your life.  It will give you the opportunity to connect and meet truly amazing people.

Who have you met or been able to connect with via the Web?