The Transparent Presidency

Yes, it’s apparent that Barak Obama is not only the most impressive leader and community organizer that we’ve ever had has president, he will also be the most transparent. This is the first presidency that is “digitally native.”

The evidence of this is already on the web in the form of a slide show of back stage images from election night that was made freely available, almost immediately, with apparently little editing, via Flickr. The image above is from the set of images that is available here, and an articulate description of their historical significance is here.

Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes, Obama’s “online organizing guru” Deserves Big Props


You have to love a story about a 24-year old who made a monumental difference by helping Barak Obama to become president-elect of the United States. In other words, this young dude helped change the world.

His name is Chris Hughes and he was one of the three co-founders of Facebook, the runaway social networking phenom to which I am addicted. And I am 61.

Mr. Hughes left Facebook last February (taking stock options that are worth at least tens of millions with him) to become the “online organizing guru” for the Obama campaign, moving from Silicon Valley to Chicago. Obviously, in hindsight, the move was worth it. MyBarakObama.com was brilliant and brilliantly successful. Thanks so much, Chris.

The New York Times published his story in July calling him “The Facebooker Who Friended Obama”

and he came to my attention because
Beet.TV republished a two year old video interview with Hughes last week.

I have a new enthusiasm for the ways that the world is changing, and I’m inspired by young people like Chris who are making real changes happen.

Continuing on the Gen-X theme, I was also very moved by Heather Havrilesky’s “open apology to boomers everywhere” on Salon.com. It was nice of her to speak so respectfully to her elders when she said, “Your earnest, self-important prattle has gotten on Gen X nerves for decades. But now we finally get it.” 😉

It’s a bright new day.

The Real People in the Middle of this Election (and the TV hype)


Errol Morris is arguably one of the most important documentary film makers of our time. More than just an Academy Award winner (for “The Fog of War“), he has an amazing talent for listening to people and letting them tell their own stories in ways that inform and even illuminate reality.

Now, he has written for the NYTimes blog site an extremely insightful perspective, including an impressive selection of historical examples, on real “everyday” people in election advertising campaigns. This perspective, “People in the Middle” also includes discussion and links to Morris’ brand new web video site, PeopleintheMiddleforObama.org which was sponsored by People for the American Way.

About this new work, Morris says, “If you’re not going to put words in people’s mouths, if you’re really listening to what they have to say, you’re going to learn something. Admittedly, the evidence is anecdotal. I haven’t selected these people through some kind of statistical sampling. These people are self-selected. They wrote in and said that they were registered Republicans, Independents or switch-voters who were planning to vote for Obama. People in the middle. And I was interested in talking to them on film about why they were making the switch from voting for a Republican to voting for a Democrat.”

Most interesting to me was this conclusion, “The people I interviewed have embraced Obama. They are voting for a candidate, not against a candidate.”

Read more of Errol Morris on “People in the Middle” by clicking here.

Obama iPhone Application Leverages Your Swing State Contacts

Once again (OK, I’m biased), Barak Obama has proven himself as a visionary leader who gets it. (OK, that was a bit over the top.) Bringing 21st century technology to the virtual campaign trail, the Obama campaign has launched it’s own iPhone application; and, it does more than you might think. For example, it supports you to call contacts in your address book who live is swing states (but without violating their privacy). Pretty impressive stuff.

Details are here in this excellent NY Times write-up, “It’s Obama on the iPhone”

Obama’s Grassroots Support Shown in Web Traffic & more

If you use website traffic (rather than polls which are probably more scientific) as an indication of voter interest, then the latest Hitwise statistics show Barack Obama well ahead of his Democratic competition.

Like the rest, he’s also using YouTube, among other online grassroots techniques. For example, it’s an indication of the word-of-mouth impact that many of his traffic referrals come from email systems (which translates as individuals forwarding links.)

Along those lines, this video clip references his huge crowds as evidence of something more meaningful. Frankly, I’m encouraged. Maybe it really can be different this time? What do you think?

Moyers Fired Up Over Democracy Via the Web

Al Gore Attacks Big Media & Gets Funnier

I was pleased to see that the Associated Press reported today from the Edinburgh International Television Festival that Al Gore told it like it is (IMHO) about the damage that big media is doing to democracy. (I can’t help but wonder if you have to NOT be a candidate in order to talk truth to power?)

I also recently watched the TED video of Mr. Gore which was apparently a follow up (2nd appearance) to the “Inconvenient Truth” presentation he does in the movie of that name. I’ve never seen Gore this funny. He can actually be entertaining!

FYI, there’s also an entertaining interaction between Gore and none other than Tony Robbins in the Tony Robbins TED video. More on the free TED videos below.

Bush & Blair: Like a Couple of guys at a convention…

Now that TV is no longer limited to a few networks, video continues to open new doors of perception. Most recently, this little unedited clip of a chat between George W. Bush and Tony Blair at the G8 conference where the normally controlled Bush got caught being himself (including the four letter explitive). Don’t they seem to be just two guys at a convention discussing the fate of our world? Only these are the heads of state who are really pulling the strings! (1 minute 31 seconds)

Bush: “See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over.” Hunh? Er, I mean, no problem. Eh? 😉

Father of the Web, Berners-Lee Backs Net Neutrality

Perhaps some folks need to be reminded that the Internet, the Web — this wondrous online universe that has revolutionized, and is still revolutionizing communications for corporations and “the little guy” alike — was not created or envisioned by politicians, but by scientists… to be specific Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

So maybe we all should be listening more to Tim, especially the politicians, who are considering screwing up the Net by enabling communication vendors like telephone companies to link their Internet connection fees to the delivery of various kinds of content. This, in my humble opinion, is a horrible idea. But don’t listen to me, listen to the guy who invented the Web. He said very recently (speaking in Scotland) in favor of Net Neutrality, “It’s better and more efficient for us all if we have a separate market where we get our connectivity, and a separate market where we get our content. Information is what I use to make all my decisions. Not just what to buy, but how to vote.”

Read more at ZDNet UK

Bush Meets Dalai Lama Despite China’s Objections

Way to go, George! 😉

Read the Reuters report