New Tools Update: A Ball for All

According to a release today from the Presidential Inaugural Committee,

In keeping with his commitment to make this inaugural celebration open and accessible to all Americans, President-elect Barack Obama will host the first-ever "Neighborhood Inaugural Ball" during this year's inaugural celebration. The ball will be the premier event of inauguration evening on January 20th and will take place at the Washington Convention Center.

With tickets available free or at an affordable price, it is the first official inaugural ball of its kind to be held during a presidential inauguration. A portion of tickets for this event will be set aside for District of Columbia residents. The ball will also feature a robust interactive component, including webcasting and text messaging, to link neighborhoods across the country with the new President and this premier event. The PIC will release more details soon about using technology to allow Americans who are attending neighborhood balls across the country to participate actively in this celebration.

This is a great move on President-elect Obama's part. Symbolically, it reinforces his message of creating a more open, "bottom-up" Washington; inaugural balls are usually highly exclusive and/or prohibitively expensive, and making this experience available to everyone is a great gesture. At the same time, it is also a great way to maintain and expand his technological presence and keep the momentum he built up during the campaign. Like the text-message VP announcement, this will surely help Obama down the road as he tries to build broad-based public support for his initiatives.