The Obama campiagn has been applauded for its use of social media and mobile platforms to raise funds, mobilize support and get out the vote. Highly publicized events like the announcement of the bottom of the ticket via SMS have scored big innovation points and been interpreted as a sea change in campaign management. Politics has of course pretty much always led the way in media innovation (alongside porn and gambling) so we should not be too suprised; what maybe more interesting will the role of media innovation after the campaign is over.
So how do you use media technology to help govern a country? The simple (to say if not do) answer is to use technology to be transparent and timely on the one hand (out bound messaging) and attentive on the other (listening to the conversation). The problem is that you can never do enough to satisfy everyone and it’s often impossible to discriminate to discriminate real sentiment from well packaged and promoted prejudice.
Because of this it would be a huge mistake to try and do everything for everyone but there is one innovation that may be easy to execute and change the perception of politicians in the general population. Once of week each member of the cabinet (as well as POTUS and VPOTUS) should do a live online web cast based on questions sent into (wherever) during the previous week. The questions themselves could be published individually or in groups in the public domain and the volume and sentiment would reveal ‘what’s on America’s mind’. To me at least this is an interesting approach and hopefully will capture the collaborative mood in which the President Elect approaches his new job.