Only time will tell whether President-Elect Barack Obama will be able to deliver on his promise to bring change to government, but the Illinois senator has already brought it to the dot-gov domain. Obama’s transition Web site, Change.gov, went live, soliciting suggestions from citizens and providing a guide to the people and procedures behind the transfer of executive power.
In many ways, the site—fairly clearly still a work in progress—resembles that of any other government agency, with biographies of the transition team, backgrounders on the incoming president’s policy priorities, and links to information about the cabinet offices to be filled when the Obamas move into the White House on January 20. But the speed with which the site was launched may nevertheless be an attempt to signal that Obama is serious about his pledge to bring greater transparency to government, and to put more data online more rapidly for public comment. A Change.gov blog, for instance, promises regular updates on the transition process.
Perhaps most surprisingly, there’s a jobs page where visitors can submit applications for non-career positions in the new administration—including, apparently, some that “require Senate confirmation.”
As a long-term geek with political inclinations steep enough that most PR rolls right off my back, I still find this story interesting. Because – in practice – like one or two of the activist organizations that are grounded in the Web, Obama’s history shows some respect and recognizes value in webcentric communities. Suggestions, volunteers, applicants may just get more potential attention than from more traditional means.
So, how many here will be applying for a job?