Not since Al Gore’s run in 2000 have geeks and technophiles had such reason to rejoice in the selection of a new president. While Gore only invented the internet, Obama already has an intriguing track record of putting technology to use to enhance transparency and communication with regular folk. Some things that get me pumped, after the break.
- Obama is a mac-user, which is the first sign that he is actually thinking about technology and not just mindlessly using the first lame windows box that is put in front of him. The fact that someone this busy takes the time to think about what kind of computer he is using when he could probably still get his work done on a PC is a clear signal that he cares. (I admit, you can get things done on a PC, it just might take longer and be a much uglier process.)
- He will appoint a Chief Technology Officer. I can’t imagine John McCain doing such a thing. Our economy is based on information, and information transmission means digital technology. A cabinet-level post to deal with everything techno-related is overdue.
- He may have trouble ditching his blackberry. Apparently he has to for the pesky “public records” rules.
- He will, and has begun to use technology to increase transparency and allow citizens to be more involved in government. He wants to release government data in free and open formats for anyone to access, he has a opened change.gov, a website to communicate his agenda as president-elect and allow people to submit ideas.
- He’s the first YouTube president. He has turned the weekly radio address into YouTube fireside chats (see the first one below). Seriously, does anyone listen to the weekly radio address besides the reporters at NPR? According to the Washington Post, change.gov will host Q&As and policy discussions with future cabinet members, all on video. After a president who seemed to be trying to set the record for fewest press conferences, this is refreshing.
- He supports network neutrality. Network neutrality is what makes the internet great, it’s the reason that my blog loads as fast as amazon.com. It breeds innovation and is generally swell.
Obama has a whole page outlining his technology agenda at change.gov, can you think of any other reasons he may (or may not be) the greatest techno-president yet?
Obama’s first fireside YouTube (fireTube?) chat :