Bringing the social networking tools of his campaign to the White House won't be easy for President Obama. The red tape is unbelievable. Federal government Web pages can't even hyperlink to nongovernmental sites, like the Red Cross. A Clinton-era law may make it illegal for users to submit suggestions via a social network without the federal agency going through a lengthy approval process.
In November, not two weeks after winning the election and still two months from becoming commander in chief, Barack Obama brought the government into the 21st century. Or at least that was what we were told when he released his first Web video address as president-elect. The clip, billed by some as a modern fireside chat, was embedded as a YouTube video on Change.gov, the incoming administration's Web site. Sitting in a leather chair, framed slightly off center from his chest up, Obama delivered a three-minute talk on the economic crisis, vlog style.
The video quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of views, and within a few days hundreds of blogs were linking to it. Obama's foray into viral video, the story went, heralded the beginning of a new era in government communication and transparency—"Franklin Roosevelt 2.0," in the words of The Huffington Post. The Washington Post proclaimed the advent of the "YouTube presidency."