informa
/
2 MIN READ
Commentary

Web 2.0 Tools Not Bringing Transparency To White House

Reality doesn't seem to be measuring up to the hype about the new administration's promise to use technology to increase access, accountability, and transparency.
Reality doesn't seem to be measuring up to the hype about the new administration's promise to use technology to increase access, accountability, and transparency.In fact, the team that did so well in terms of reaching out to voters using the Internet and the latest Web 2.0 tools seems to be hidden behind the technology, for the moment at least.

It's unclear if the situation is temporary and caused by the challenges of new staff members settling in, or if the promises of transparency will fail to materialize in the White House.

I hope it's the former.

Right now, the White House Web site has a new look, a new media director, and new sections on media pool reports and executive orders. But, the new media director is nowhere to be found. There is no e-mail listed for new media -- or old, for that matter -- to reach spokespeople. The old e-mail address stopped working this week and no replacement address was provided. That wouldn't necessarily be a sign of decreased access if the Web site kept its promise to improve direct outreach to citizens, but I'm not sure it has.

The executive order section was blank until late Friday, although President Barack Obama had issued several executive orders over the last three days. The pool reports were blank. The text of the inauguration speech didn't go up for nearly 24 hours. And, a blog that promised increased accountability from the administration offered links to e-mail alerts and forms to contact the White House, but did not produce any results during the first three days of this week.

And, archives of all media briefings from the Bush administration seemed to disappear entirely with the redesign of the Web site.

If that wasn't bad enough, the White House Press Corps made ample use of Tweets and Twitter coverage to blast Press Secretary Robert Gibbs for lack of transparency, including an announcement that he refused to take questions about Pakistan.

Maybe Obama and his staff can work out some of these glitches over the weekend. Or, maybe when they appoint a CTO, the ball will get rolling.

Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer