January 20th, 2009

Change has (finally) come to WhiteHouse.gov

by sage island

This afternoon within minutes after President Barack Obama was officially sworn into office, a seamless transition took place at the official website of the presidency. WhiteHouse.gov transformed into a sleek, modern new design with an interactive interface to represent the new president’s 21st Century agenda.

obama-screenshot

Similar to the administration’s transition website, Change.gov, the new White House website features extensive use of social media. From a new White House blog to weekly video addresses (which will also be posted at the President’s official YouTube page), the new administration promises to offer “communication, transparency, and participation” for Americans through its social media efforts.

According to the first blog post, written by the administration’s Director of New Media Macon Phillips, the site “will serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world.”

For the first time, the official website of the President has become a point of connection and community rather than a static portal for information. “Like the transition website and the campaign’s before that, this online community will continue to be a work in progress as we develop new features and content for you,” Phillips writes.

I’m looking forward to seeing what social media can do for the Office of the Presidency, but I’m also excited about what President Obama’s use of social media can do for social media marketing. Utilizing social media in a campaign is old news — after all, how else can a candidate reach “the youth vote”? But no candidate has ever used it as seriously or as successfully as President Obama did.

Adding social media to the administration’s official website has proven once and for all that social media is no longer “for kids.” From the official White House blog to the Presidential YouTube page to the White House twitter page (@thewhitehouse), President Obama has cemented what social media marketers already knew — it’s time to take this crazy social media stuff seriously.

In my opinion, this change is long overdue. Better late than never, though.