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?
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.