Lessons on Whitehouse.gov
A follow-up to yesterday's post: In an article in Newsweek, I mention that the first post on the new Whitehouse.gov is hopeful: a message of transparency. But actually, even before we get to the administration's goals with the site, isn't it fascinating that people actually care about Whitehouse.gov? Know what I mean? When I put the before/after shots of Whitehouse.gov on Flickr yesterday, it didn't occur to me that it would take off quite that way. But now it has 219,000 views, and people suddenly seem to care about a website they probably never had reason to visit before. This seems like a radical break. (After all, when was the last time you went to a federal government site for actual information? I download tax forms sometimes, but that's about it.) For the first time in our digital lives, the internet might actually fulfill one of its earliest utopian ideals. There are many obstacles, but it feels like a hopeful time for the hive mind to finally get its true test. If the Obama administration can shift their web efforts from providing information to creating knowledge, we could be on the precipice of something radically different: people participating with governance. Update: Oh, I guess this explains the Flickr traffic.