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Interview Notes – Obama 2.0

I’ve always wished that reporters would publish the transcript or full notes of the interviews they conduct so you can understand the context of the interview and benefit from their subject’s entire insight into the topic at hand.

I understand that there are issues of protecting anonymous sources and simple kindness by not publishing inarticulate excerpts or misstatements where it is clear the interview subject meant something different from what they actually said but may nevertheless be embarrassing. There is also the case where an interview subject wants part of the interview to be off the record.

I believe you can achieve a balance between those concerns and publishing interview transcripts. That’s my opinion as a reader. My opinion as an interview subject, however, is entirely based on my ego: Some of my best stuff has been left on the cutting room floor, as it were.  I conduct a lot of interviews via email and as a result I’ve already put in the work of writing, so why not share it with you?

This is what I will do from now on when I believe my responses are worthy enough to share with you.

Without further ado, then, here’s my first installment of Interview Notes. The following is my email to Grant Gross for his PC World story published today entitled Obama Transforms Web-Based Politics:

I think you’re already seeing Obama’s use of online technologies for egovernance.

They’re using “old” web technology, email, to keep his list active and engaged. Thus far, they’ve used his list to announce his economic team to his subscribers (including a link to a video of the announcement) and did the same for his national security team.

More importantly, they’ve used his email list to organize house meetings “to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and plan the future of this movement.” Video: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/changeiscoming/

They are using their MySpace, Facebook pages and other social networks to do the same.

He’s using Google mashups to help people find house meetings near them.

And they are doing all of the organizing through my.barackobama.com.

It is clear that the Obama campaign is setting the table for grassroots support for his Administration’s agenda and legislation.

By opening up the transition process and giving any American a serious chance to share their thoughts on policy and make recommendations through change.gov, Obama is investing those people with his agenda.

I would not be surprised if he pushed for congress to require that all legislation be published to a wiki where any American could comment: Open Source Legislation. Imagine that, crowdsourcing our laws.

Finally, he is reinforcing that trust with his regular YouTube videos, his cyberside chats that keep the American people abreast of is plans and the state of the nation.

Notice, that all communications are direct and somewhat informal. Emails read as if they were written person-to-person, not using a broadcast tone but a conversational one. Obama’s email to his supporters just before his victory speech used the first-person, I. When David Plouffe refers to the President-Elect, he calls him Obama. Obama supporters are on a first-person basis Obama.

All of these communications tools, email, social networks, YouTube videos, change.gov, and my.barackobama.com are direct communication channels to the American people. No president has had at his command as direct a channel to the people as this one does; this is unprecedented.

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

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