Respected colleague Josh Bernoff asks Barack Obama, will you tap the groundswell?

I just learned that Obama and Biden have launched this website called that transparently puts forth agenda items, a blog introducing latest videos, as well as a web form to submit your American ideas. The site is more one way in communication –there’s not a lot of places to leave your own comments– but based upon the promises he’s made for collaborative technology, we could expect a “Digg” like feature to emerge at some point, the challenge will be managing logins, detractors, and identity issues. Of course, any website of this caliber that offers an online dialog is going to be overloaded with comments, perhaps some type of way to login with a unique ID will appear.

The ideas that are submitted (citizen visions) will likely enter a database, filtering out patterns will be quite the task for the web management team. So there are still quite a few challenges this site is going to have, it may not be two way communication in a way that we’re used to for some time but it’s a start, and a dang good one. David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager (as I learned from Eric) apparently is one that is spearheading some of these efforts.

I certainly hope the Obama administration applies for next year’s Groundswell awards , they’d be a fantastic case study of how institutions are embracing social technologies to connect with people. It’s really hard for anyone to be a nay-sayers about the adoption of these tools now, if the big ol’ government can start to connect with people, corporations can too.

27 Replies to “Change.Gov”

  1. Thanks for pointing this out. It’s great to see.

    One of the coolest things here is that they’re confident enough to release without weeks of design by committee.

    The site is thin, but they decided to get it up anyway. Good choice. They released early, hopefully they’ll do it often.

  2. Glad to see that even with the election dying down, the web efforts of the president elect have not. To be a true democracy in the modern age we live in, it’s absolutely vital that the web is used as a tool for national involvement. Obviously maintaining security of that infrastructure will be a great task, but hopefully such a need from the people and government will accelerate the US strength in that capability as well.

  3. Len

    Tonight at my dinner with a VC and his CEOs of his portfolio the VC mentioned that this could be an example of a true democracy –not a representative one.

  4. Jeremiah (and Josh):

    If Obama enters for the 2009 Groundswell Awards, should we just tell everyone else they’re fighting for the runner-up spot? 🙂

    Would I would like to see is for the PE Obama team to surface some of the ideas that people will be submitting. If we submit hundreds of thousands of ideas (not really a stretch, right?) and they just go into a black hole of a database that none of us never see, I’ll feel cheated. How about taking an Ideastorm-type approach or otherwise indicating to us some or all of the ideas that are being submitted and the actions that are being taken on the best ones. Now THAT would be government transparency.

    I have no doubt that Obama’s team is capable of doing just that!

    Bryan Person | @BryanPerson

  5. Good points Bryan, the concern is people creating multiply accounts and skewing any ideastorm type of system.

    Wild thought: why not have a registered SSN number be a way to have a unique identifier for those who login –and of course, safely hidden from prying eyes.

    This isn’t to limit American voices only, but will help to prioritize the voices of real citizens.

  6. Jeremiah: Good point about attempts to game the system. I suspect that asking citizens to enter their social security numbers would cause a chilling effect, though. People would likely be creeped out by it. Is there any other way to reasonably verify that we are who we say we are?

    Bryan Person | @BryanPerson

  7. Why would anyone be creeped out? This is a government issued number, used by citizens of their own country.

    Wouldn’t my voice matter more to the government if I was willing to self-identify?

    On the other hand, would anom interactions result in more honest –or less honest reactions?

  8. I take issue with this. We have this garbage in the UK, something that was originally called The Big Conversation… plus we have Number 10 petitions galore. I can promise you that after 10 years – and right from the word Go – not the slightest bit of attention is paid to any of it. I imagine one poor person sits and goes through it all, dutifully makes notes, and produces a weekly report that gets filed in the trash.

  9. It’s a start. By no means it is perfect, but if they are listening and monitoring, they’re capturing feedback right now.

    A seed is planted…

  10. I’ve read on that it was launched by the “Presidential Transition Project”… 😐 … I have not been able to locate a whois record for the web site. There are some other concerns I have (such as that the site supports / gives preferential treatment to Youtube.COM — I do not understand whether this means that our tax dollars are actually being used to promote one free / advertising supporting online video hosting service instead of being neutral with respect to media channels.

  11. It dawn upon me as to how you will find moneys after Jan 20, 09 for the needs of this great country of ours, here are two ideas;

    1.Cut the defense budet and put the extra moneys to something of importance other than Iraq.

    2.Cut even deeper the space program which in my veiw has done nothing of importance for us over the decades. Both of these would free up trillions of dollars.

    Thank you,

    Richard Bach

  12. Thought I’d take a look at Turned out to be about what I expected. Democrats and especially Obamma need to understand that Obamma is NOT the president of the United States. That won’t happen for a couple of months yet. AFTER his inauguration he can start making demands, until then, BACK OFF! There is plenty of time after January for him to discover what he doesn’t know how to handle and what promises he can’t keep and there will be plenty. Making speaches was easy. Reality will be a shock! He bought the office. He can’t buy success.

  13. As a Legal American I am wondering if the government will EVER say what is behind all this mess in America. This Illegal immigration is what is wrong in America and the fact that out government is getting as cur up as Mexico government, and why is it the illegal’s get our hard earned money our SSI is the new welfare and they get this money to help support there films and get more if hey have a bogus American born child, they get free medical, free food stamps, low housing help and our jobs we want and need, and have US pay for it all and we lose our jobs and have NO HELP because the illegals are darning our resources?? Why or when will they deport them like we did twice before, in 1919 and again in 1923 we deported over 13 million both times and now they say we cant, WHY the American are losing homes, lives , health care and no help in sight, only the illegal Mexicans get help, and they let La raza and the LULAC are behind all this, I got my information from many groups on yahoo MSN ICQ and different web pages and find illegal immigration is what is behind all this depression and the media will NOT tell the truth, so they got this far when the only 50 million that is truly here after hearing 13 million here for years and they say million come over he boarder each year, don’t they think we can count?? this is a invasion NOT immigration only legal immigration we what our country is all about!!!

  14. Sirs:- In the same way that the Roman Empire fell because the Romans became too weak spreading their military strength all over the globe, perhaps so too may such a circumstance befall our good Uncle Sam. Senator Feinstein had some good ideas for curving the illegal inroads of our poor South American neighbors, but it seems the gridlock in our lawmaking body is preventing us from reaching a pragmatic solution to the problem. Perhaps, if legal immigration is made easier, less expensive, not overly cumbersome especially to those who only wish to find temporary/seasonal work, there would be less undocumented aliens in the U.S. A. B’bye…

  15. To The Beloved President Elect Barrack Obama I would love being on your security staff I am currently 52 years of age with a pryor law enforcement background and would take pride in working for you on any level I never wrote to an official before…. So i would like to ask you Mr. President Elect if you can send me the particulars on how I can get started. I deeply appreciate your time in reading this request. Yours Truely Sylvester P Coleman

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