Google’s role in the Obama White House has stepped up a notch, with the hiring of a former Google Executive to head a new social media initiative. The Obama White House has hired Katie Jacobs Stanton, an ex-Google Project Manager, as the President’s Director of Citizen Participation.
According to All Things D, Stanton’s role will serve as a manager and moderator of web tools which will allow American Citizens to converse with the Obama White House. Stanton’s background includes being one of the top Google moderators of the Google Elections Group and also was involved on the Open Social Initiative.
Google’s “Moderator” tool was apparently used by the YouTube team and others to let people submit questions for the presidential debates and then implemented into the Change.gov site so normal people could suggest initiatives and give feedback on the Obama transition team.
Google has been actively involved in the Obama White House, starting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s endorsement of Obama during the campaign and Google’s role in powering the Obama Weekly Video Address .
During the Obama campaign I got to know one of their Florida Campaign managers quite well who discussed with me the initiatives of the Obama camp in terms of social media. The Obama team’s plans to open up the White House to citizen questions, discussions and feedback is pretty awesome, and social media initiatives are an excellent tool in managing and archiving this information.
The ability to vote on citizen feedback by other citizens and for an issue to work its way up the chain in the Digg like fashion to gain the interest of the President of the United States would be amazing.
One conflict I see here is the role that Facebook played during the campaign, as one of the co-founders of Facebook; Chris Hughes, left his role in the company back in 2007 to head up the Obama “new media” campaign. Facebook style social networking were implemented into the Obama campaign site and in grassroots efforts, leading to engaging interest.
- Will Facebook and Google be using the Obama Presidency as a surrogate battlefield to develop and grow their social media applications?
- Will Google end up becoming a social media tool of choice if the White House decides to utilize their social initiatives and technology instead of Facebook’s?
The world will have to wait and see.