Thursday New Tools Feature: *(Remix!)*

Today,  the Washington Post ran an excellent piece by Ceci Connolly about how President-elect Obama's incoming administration has "begun to draw on the high-tech organizational tools that helped get him elected to lay the groundwork for an attempt to restructure the U.S. health-care system." From the article: 

The Obama team, which recruited about 13 million online supporters during the presidential campaign and announced its vice presidential selection via text message, is now moving to apply those tools to the earliest stages of governing.

"This is the beginning of the reinvention of what the presidency in the 21st century could be," said Simon Rosenberg, president of the center-left think tank NDN. "This will reinvent the relationship of the president to the American people in a way we probably haven't seen since FDR's use of radio in the 1930s."

This is something that NDN has been talking about for some time: indeed, healthcare was the specific example used at our October 28, 2008 forum with Simon and Joe Trippi (for the C-SPAN footage, click here). It is good to see that the Obama administration is working to live up to its promise of a more open, bottom-up government. As the Washington Post article reports,

The Obama team chose to begin its high-tech grass-roots experiment on the issue of health care because "every American is feeling the pressure of high health costs and lack of quality care, and we feel it's important to engage them in the process of reform," said spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter.

It started with a simple 63-second video posted on, in which health advisers Dora Hughes and Lauren Aronson posed the question "What worries you most about the health-care system in our country?"

That triggered 3,700 responses, from personal tales of medical hardship to complaints about "socialized medicine." The cyber-conversation was interactive, allowing individuals to reply to one another and rate responses with a thumbs up or down. The top-scoring comment, a pitch for a "paradigm shift" toward prevention, had 82 thumbs up.

This is not the only good sign for open-source government coming from the Obama camp. This week, the transition site eliminated its old, traditional copyright policy and implemented "an Attribution 3.0 Unported License which allows anyone to use and even 'remix' whatever's found on the site, just as long as they tip their hat to the transition project as the original source of the material," according to TechPresident.

This approach of letting anyone use the content in creative ways has already paid dividends; separate versions of have been created for the iPhone and for other mobile devices, as well as an embeddable widget (below).

For more on how Obama will reinvent the Presidency as we know it, please see:


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