Grading WhiteHouse.gov

E-Gov, social media, White House 5 Comments

Back in March, Jose Antonio Vargas from The Washington Post assembled a bipartisan group of five panelists to periodically review President Obama’s White House Website in a feature called “Grading WhiteHouse.gov.”

The group includes Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org; Andrew Rasiej, founder of the Personal Democracy Forum; Ellen Miller from the Sunlight Foundation; Jon Henke, a consultant and blogger for The Next Right; and David Weinberger, a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

WhiteHouse.govDue to the overwhelming response to the first column, Jose decided to add a guest reviewer for “Grading WhiteHouse.gov, Round Two,” which was posted earlier this week — and I was honored that he thought of me. Of course, he did indicate that he wasn’t going to be able to print my entire thoughts, but agreed to allow me to post them here.

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While in Austin, I Met a House

E-Gov, social media, Web 3.0, White House 6 Comments

I love Austin, Texas!  Seriously, what’s not to like?  It’s both a powerful capital city and a happening college town with great food, terrific music, historic films and, of course, the craziness of 6th Street!  I have been there several times over the years for work and conferences, as well as a couple visits with close friends who live/work in the area. 

Selling My House the Social Media WayA couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of making another trip to the “Live Music Capital of the World” (as well as a side visit to Dallas) for work and to visit WE’s Austin office.  On Saturday afternoon, Social Media Club Austin and Waggener Edstrom kindly hosted an event at Scholz Garten to welcome me to their town.  I met some terrific folks, including David J. Neff, who then introduced me to … his house.  

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Defending Dot Govs

Campaign 2008, E-Gov, White House 3 Comments

Politics Online Conference 2008This week, a few hundred convened to attend the 2-day Politics Online Conference 2008 hosted by the  Institute for Politics Democracy and the Internet (IPDI) at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. 

On Day 2, I had the pleasure of participating on the Morning Plenary panel sponsored by POLITICO entitled, “White House 2.0.”  We discussed how the Internet, which has been so prevalent in the current presidiential race, will possibly change how a future administration will govern.

The panel, moderated by Ari Schwartz, Center for Democracy and Technology included Sunlight Foundation Executive Director Ellen Miller, former U.S. Congressman Rick White of the Wood Bay Group and Tom Steinberg from the UK’s mySociety.org.

It was a very lively discussion where a number of innovative ideas for citizen activist and engagement websites were shared – but, in my opinion, most would be best managed outside the official dot gov arena.  There are a number of current restrictions and regulations that govern federal government sites that may provide some barriers to participation. 

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Senate’s E-Gov Technical Difficulties

E-Gov, White House No Comments

In preparation for an upcoming speaking engagement, I was doing some research on Sen. Lieberman’s (Independent-CT) past comments during a U.S. Senate hearing on E-Gov reauthorization.  So, I went to Google and searched for “lieberman egov” which yielded the following top organic result:

http://.senate.gov – Technical difficulties.
Sorry, the http://.senate.gov web page you have requested is experiencing technical difficulties. The Webmaster has been alerted.
www.senate.gov/~gov_affairs/egov/ – 2k – CachedSimilar pages

Then, by visiting the page, the visitor is greeted with:

Sorry, the http://.senate.gov web page you have requested is experiencing technical difficulties. The Webmaster has been alerted.

You will be automatically redirected to the http://.senate.gov Home page after 10 seconds.

If this problem persists, please contact the Office of the Secretary Webmaster at webmaster@sec.senate.gov.

After waiting 10 seconds, you are not redirected to the Senate.gov Home page, but rather to this: “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage.

Of course, I should have just visited the President’s E-Gov Initiative site in the first place.

Preschooler Votes in Virginia Primary!

Campaign 2008, politics, White House 1 Comment

The “Potomac Primaries” for Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia are in full swing today as voters head to the polls to select their favorite candidate in the 2008 race for the White House. This morning, I took my four year-old daughter to our local polling location, an elementary school in Virginia.

I expected there to be long lines of anxious commuters angrily elbowing their way to the voting booths but, thankfully, I saw none of that and was simply amazed at the ease of the process.

There were about ten people in line ahead of us, but it moved very quickly. When we got to the front, I presented my driver’s license ID, they checked me off the list, asked me to choose a Republican or Democrat card (Virginia voters participate in an “open primary“) and we were off to vote.  I lifted my daughter up onto a chair, pointed to my candidate of choice and she touched the screen to cast and record my vote.  That was it! 

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