Sunday, December 07, 2008

Change from Obama -- using the Internet for transparent, two-way communication during the transistion

We've discussed Obama's use of the Internet, and the difficulty of gathering meaningful input from many users.

You may recall the Bush energy policy controversy. In his second week in office, George W. Bush created the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG), charged with developing a national energy policy.

NEPDG meetings were secret, and the administration refused to share information about them with Congress. This led to the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, filing a lawsuit against the administration. The suit was dismissed.

The Obama Transition Team will hear from many groups over the next several weeks, and, in sharp contrast to Bush's policy, they will use the Internet to open those meetings. They have established a Web site for two-way communication with the public, where one can track Transition Team meetings, read documents presented at those meetings, and offer comments. You can read more and see a short video in this press release.

Do you have an interest in any of the meeting topics at "seat at the table?" Have you posted any comments? Do you feel such feedback will be meaningful, or is this sugar coating for one-way communication?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:45 AM

    I think any form of openness is a step in the right direction.

    I may not personally have the interest and/or knowledge of what they may be discussing, but those who do, now have an inside look into what is being decided and how they are going about it.

    Not every expert in the country is involved in these meetings. If someone has a better idea than those being discussed in that room, they can hope online and share it with the administration.

    Although; will anyone be listening? I certainly hope so. I can't see why Obama's team would go to such great lengths to enable the American people to have a stake in this administration and then not listen to what we have to say.

    I think everyone can say that Wikipedia is a valuable contribution to society. What Obama is doing is kind of like Wikipedia for government. Not everyone who visits Wikipedia cares about every single article. Even if they do care, they might not have the inclination to contribute.

    But at least the information is there, if and when someone does want it. And if that person has better information than all the rest, they can share it.

    Same goes for the Obama Transition Team's website. Those who want information can get it. Those who want to help, they can contribute.

    Even if this is a play for the hearts and minds of the American people and all we get is one-way communication, wouldn't that be better than the no-way communication, take it or leave it stance of the previous administration?