The Obama Era and the Digital White House

January 13, 2009

Darrell West joined Lee Rainie and Andrew Rasiej on The Kojo Nnamdi Show to discuss the future of e-government and how the relationship between voters & elected officials may change.

Kojo Nnamdi, host: He recruited one of the Facebook founders to join his campaign and might was everything you’d expect from a canvas for keeping in touch with the social networking generation. But Barack Obama is about to move over to a new set of online diggs on the corner of the web where people really shouldn’t be playing Scrabulous or writing campaign checks. A new launches this month. It’s a chance to reinvent the concept of the government website for the Facebook era. But where does this leave citizens who are more concern with finding information about Medicare then they are about finding new friends with twitter feeds. Joining us to explore what the new will say about the future of the electronic government. Lee Raines is the founding director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Thank you for joining us.

Lee Raines: Thank you.

Kojo Nnamdi: Darrell West is vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. Thank you for joining us.

Darrell West: Thank you.

Kojo Nnamdi: And Andrew Rasiej is the founder of Personal Democracy Forum and co-founder of It’s a website that explores the effect of the internet for each presidential campaign. Thank you for joining us.

Andrew Rasiej: Thank you…

Kojo Nnamdi: During the transition period, Barack Obama has gotten into a routine on getting a regular weekly address on YouTube. But what does he get from doing it on YouTube other than being able to say that he’s on YouTube Darrell?

Darrel West: For one thing, he reaches young people. Young people have been the least engaged in the political process, they’ve been incredibly cynical. One of the things Obama has done is really energize young people and bringing them into the system. So I think one of the virtues of using the Internet, using Facebook, using MySpace, and putting videos on YouTube is he can really broaden the range of the type of people who participate in our political process. That, I think is a huge plus for what he plans to do.

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