The Obama presidential campaign made groundbreaking use of social networking sites and other tools to organize its supporters. President Obama has promised to use similar technology to bring citizens into government. As in so many other areas, turning promise to policy may well be more difficult than it sounded on the campaign trail.
That’s the conclusion of Peter Swire, who was a lawyer for the new media team of the Obama transition leading up to Inauguration Day. He had also worked as the top privacy officer for the Clinton administration. He has now returned to his job as a law professor at Ohio State University and as a fellow with the Center for American Progress. He published a paper Monday on the early use of Web 2.0 techniques by the administration. (The paper will be on the Web later in the day here.)
The administration, at least in the early days, has struggled to replicate the responsiveness of the campaign, he argued. The paper cites a survey of new media experts by the National Journal that gave the administration’s Web 2.0 efforts a grade of C+.
Mr. Swire writes that the scope of the problem became clear in the transition, which was much less responsive to comments and questions than the campaign:
The campaign learned how to cope with a motivated group of just over 10 million individuals. After Election Day, the transition and later the administration had to respond to the concerns of over 300 million Americans, as well as interested persons in other countries.