Change has come to the federal government, and Barack Obama hasn’t even been inaugurated as the nation’s 44th president. Change.gov — was launched within 24 hours of Obama’s presidential election victory over John McCain.
The interactive Web site of Obama’s transition team is the first sign that the candidate who revolutionized American politics with his heavy use of cutting-edge communications technology and social networking tools is preparing to transform the way the U.S. president interacts with the citizenry.
“Obama is going to be the first global leader of the digital age,” said Phil Noble, founder of PoliticsOnline.com, an Internet information and consulting company. “We are in totally uncharted territory.”
At the turn of the 20th century, William McKinley became the first mass-media president during the newspaper barons’ golden age. Three decades later, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” ushered in the era of intimate radio communication. John F. Kennedy’s performances in televised news conferences brought Camelot to the masses. Obama’s presidency, experts say, will reflect a leap in communications technology that will allow the commander-in-chief to speak directly and unfiltered to the American people. It could also allow the American people to interact in unprecedented ways with the nation’s chief executive and the federal bureaucracy.