This afternoon, while I was reading my new book, The Social Media President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Digital Engagement by James E. Katz, Michael Barris, and Anshul Jain, I thought about how accessible President Obama (POTUS) and the White House are compared to previous administrations.
Under the new leadership of Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman, the White House Office of Digital Strategy (WHODS) has expanded the voice of POTUS through his own Twitter account so that he engages with Americans more directly. WHODS is also giving Americans a greater opportunity to have their voices heard by POTUS without any third party gatekeepers. By valuing and creating an open portal for direct conversation, the WHODS is making certain that everyone’s voice can be heard. What a great #socialcivics lesson on digital engagement! Now that’s what I call Fierce Living!
Here’s what I’d like to know. If you could have a Twitter chat with POTUS, what would you discuss?
Earlier this week, I walked past the White House, one of my favorite places to visit, on my way to meet a new friend. He recently moved to DC to start a new job in the building next door.
As I was waiting in line to enter the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to meet Jason Goldman, the first-ever White House Chief Digital Officer, I thought about how powerful the Internet and Twitter can be as connection and engagement tools. They connected Jason and I and began a series of blog and Twitter conversations around his new position and #socialcivics engagement when he wrote his March 24th Medium blog post on The Internet, the White House, and You (and Me). When I read his post, I was inspired to share it with my social media network. Two days later, I wrote him a letter via my blog that offered my #socialcivics ideas and tweeted him the link. In an effort to increase engagement, I encouraged people to blog and tweet their ideas. He tweeted back and thanked me for sharing.
Meeting him face-to-face was a blast! He is truly passionate about the work he is called to do as head of the Office of Digital Strategy. That’s why I took two #socialcivics selfies. Check out how cool he is with his blue glasses and cherry blosson tie!
During our meeting, we discussed the feedback I received during my Digital Citizenship session and brainstormed ways to increase his office’s engagement with social media influencers and communities. I left with a homework assignment I will be working on this weekend as a follow-up email.
Now that you have read my story, I encourage to join Jason’s #socialcivics discussion on Twitter. Send him a tweet at @Goldman44. Write a blog post. Chat with your network about it on social media. He and his team are listening!
Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Digital Sisters!
VOICE is #DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 6. I was reminded of the power of women’s voices online two times today. The first happened while reading reading a Medium blog written by the new White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman about what he has learned from #socialcivics.
I was excited to see Goldman had included several women’s voices in his post. Three women are connected to me through the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN): Janet Johnson, Patricia Patton, and yours truly. FYI DSN named Johnson and Patton as Digital Sisters of the Year. A few weeks ago, we used our blogs and digital presence to give voice to our #socialcivics ideas. Speaking up is something we can all do when we honor our voices.
This afternoon, I watched Lisa Stone, BlogHer co-founder, SheKnows Chief Community Officer, and Digital Sister of the Year, give voice to women’s issues while moderating the #ObamaTownHall with President Barack Obama. As I watched the event on WhiteHouse.gov, live tweeted, and read the tweets of other women, I witnessed firsthand what happens when women believe they have something to say — they give voice to their concerns with passion, encourage other women to speak up, and spark important conversations that can inform and influence society.
Congratulations Jason on your new position as the first White House Chief Digital Officer!
When I read your Medium post, I became excited because your intention to create more meaningful online engagement between government and American citizens is headed in the right direction. The question you posed to the American public was AWESOME: How can we — our government and you and your communities — better connect online to make America better? It got me thinking about several ideas which is why I am writing this letter to you via my blog.
Before I get started, let me first say I am a huge fan of President Barack Obama and his amazing team of digital warriors in the Office of Digital Strategy. Through their efforts, I’ve been able to participate in several White House Social (#WHSocial) events that gave me a better understanding of the Obama administration’s priorities and an opportunity to share what I learned with my online community.
They also connected me to a more diverse group of fellow digital citizens and inspired me to create the Digital Citizenship Project and Digital Citizenship Month (July). Now that you know what drives my passion for POTUS and digital citizenship, let me offer the following #socialcivics ideas:
Since 2011, the White House has invited numerous social media leaders to participate in #WHSocial events and tweet ups. Reconnect with these individuals through a series of online and offline events that encourage them to serve as White House Social Media Ambassadors. They represent a pool of potential #socialcivics advocates who might be willing to share and discuss Obama administration policies and initiatives with their online communities.
My first visit to the White House occurred when a delegation of bloggers of color from the Blogging While Brown Conference visited with Corey Ealons, former Director of African American Media and Coordinator of Special Projects, in 2010. That visit gave us an opportunity to meet White House staff and discuss issues of concern relevant to communities of color. There are so many diverse blogging communities and conferences including Black Bloggers Connect, Blogalicious, Blogging While Brown, BlogHer, Latina Bloggers Connect, Latinos in Social Media, Mom 2.0 Summit, Niche Parent Network, and Women of Midlife (Bloggers at Midlife Conference). Connect with them and their communities by holding Google Hangout discussions, Twitter Town Halls, and offline events to discuss Obama administration policies and #socialcivics efforts.
Increase your outreach to digital citizens over 60. Many are using blogs and social media platforms to share their ideas. Invite them and their communities to participate in online and offline events. Make sure they are well represented at #WHSocial events. Their voices are important.
Create a #SocialCivics Roundtable (like the White House Council on Women and Girls) that brings together a diverse group of civic engagement advocates committed to expanding the Obama administration’s citizen engagement efforts. Have the Roundtable meet quarterly and provide ideas. They could meet online or offline.
That’s it for now! Once you get settled into your new office at the White Office, I’d love to meet you for lunch at Busboys and Poets in my neighborhood to discuss how I can best use my digital presence, projects, and community to further support your #socialcivics efforts.