As you probably have understood, I’m quite fascinated by Barack Obama and the new kind of politician he seems to be. I do support several of his policies (green jobs and innovations, better health care/social security in America, get America out of Iran, focus on Afghanistan, multilateral approach, etc), but I also think he’s been clever in the way he has engaged with the grassroots during his long campaing. And it seems like that interactivity with citizens will continue after he has been inaugurated. I have an opinion piece about what to expect from Obama in regard to citizens’ involvement and use of digital tools in Dagbladet today (Norwegian), where I discuss further some ideas I previously have blogged about.
Yesterday, we could read in Obama’s transition blog and in other blogs that for the first time, the weekly Democratic address (what Obama calls online Fireside chats) has been released as a web video on YouTube:
For the last few days, I’ve been reading (and enjoying) the eBorger report, a Norwegian report written by SINTEF about how ordinary citizens can producers of public information. One of the main conclusions from the writers Petter Bae Brandtzæg and Marika Lüders is that the citizens have to be viewed as partners and contributers rather than passive receivers of information. The report has several ideas for how this can be done. One if the suggestions I think is especially important, is that government, both on a national and local level, have to make data available to the citizens, so we can use is and build stuff the government is not able to do or even imagine. Budstikka (a regional newspaper in Norway) has recently buildt a “crime log” (inspired by Adrian Holovaty‘s Chicago Crime). But because the date is not available in a database (such as in Chicago), the newspaper has to update the log manually (via Nedrelid.com).
It is easy to be mesmerized by the digital magic the Obama campaign has been able to pull off, but for smaller countries with a different political culture (and less resources), other approaches might work better. But the cool thing about Obama, is that he has showed that it’s doable to engage people with new tools. And to get people to talk about politics in a different way.
Just in order to balance out the seriousness of this post, enjoy this funny Mexican VivaObama-video (recommende by my Mexican sister-in-law)