President Obama has been the first Commander in Chief to embrace the growing significance of social media. Whether he’s visiting Mark Zuckerberg in Silicon Valley to discuss technology trends, establishing one of the strongest Twitter followings, or participating in a weekly address broadcasted on YouTube (i.e. the 21st century Fireside Chat), Obama has continued to adapt to the digital world.
Just today, the president answered questions regarding the State of the Union via Google+ “Hangout”, answering questions submitted from Americans uploaded to YouTube. Over 220,000 people submitted questions, and the president answered the questions live in a candid fashion.
As our world continues to adapt to technology, so will our political discourse. We’re heading to a day when we could see a Kennedy-Nixon style debate taking place online rather than on television. Having direct access to our government officials will remain a central component to maintaining transparency and keeping people accountable. I hope we begin to see our politicians investing in digital media strategy as a way to improve communication and clarity on key issues. If citizens feel that they can directly communicate to their representatives, we could improve understanding of often bureaucratic legislation and improve overall quality of public debate.
(Could you imagine presidential campaign debates streaming in real-time?)