It looks like President-Elect Barack Obama prepared for this week a while back, and with good reason. A mere two days after his landslide victory over John McCain, Obama has already chosen his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel and has set up his new website fittingly named Change.gov.
The website is dedicated to the transition process and includes a blog, an agenda for the new president, press information and even a place to share your story about the campaign and what it meant to you. There is even a place where you can turn in an application to get a job in the new government.
Part of the reason that Obama led such a successful campaign was his able to foster grassroots support and fundraising using the internet. This idea was pioneered by Howard Dean in 2004, but was really perfected by Obama this year. BarackObama.com allowed volunteers to mobilize from their own home and without the help of a community organizer. Phone number lists were posted online for people to use to canvass their community. There were also links to local Obama groups that organized around the country.
On top of all this, you could sign up to the Obama e-mail list, get text messages from the campaign, or even get the Barack Obama application for your fancy-shmancy iPhone. The future of politics is the internet and the Obama campaign wholeheartedly embraced it. There were Obama Facebook groups and even a way to sign up as a supporter of the Democrat on Facebook in order to get all of his updates.
Using social media in this way, Obama made each person that supported him feel like they were individually important and involved with the campaign. They would get personalized e-mails or texts and could easily log in and pick up the phone to volunteer. Or give a campaign contribution online.
Fortunately this has not stopped since the end of the election, as seen by Change.gov. This website adds transparency to an important part of the presidency and allows people to interact with the new administration. I really hope to see this continue after the inauguration.
If nothing else, we'll be seeing this a lot more over in the next elections.