Home > Archive >  2009 >  January >  21

The White House website

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named whiteHouse.gifThe new whitehouse.gov is a nice looking site, it's centered around a blog. They promise lots of media, podcasts, videos, etc. In 2001 or 2004 even, it would have been a wonderful breakthrough and I would be singing its praise. But this is 2009, and we know so much more about the web. Permalink to this paragraph

Look at it another way. I don't know about you but I gave to Obama, I prayed for his election because we desperately need new approaches to the problems we face. We've postponed this day for too long. We must stop driving gas guzzlers, we have to invest in education, health care. We must prepare for the economy we now live in, not the one we used to. We have wars to end and bridges to build, "political wedges" to undo. All of this will require a very efficient flow of ideas and exchange of perspective. That's where, of course, the web comes in. Permalink to this paragraph

But whitehouse.gov violates the most basic rule -- "People come back to places that send them away." The White House should send us to places where our minds will be nourished with new ideas, perspectives, places, points of view, things to do, ways we can make a difference. It must take risks, because that is reality -- we're all at risk now -- hugely. Permalink to this paragraph

I don't advocate a blogging host like the Obama campaign website. There are already plenty of places to host blogs. But I do want the White House to be a public space, where new thinking from all over the world meets other new thinking. A flow distributor. A two-way briefing book for the people and the government.  Permalink to this paragraph

We need the minds of industry, education, health care, government, people from all walks of life, to connect. It doesn't have to be whitehouse.gov, but why not, why wait? Permalink to this paragraph

We're all watching the new President very carefully. It makes sense that he's open to ideas from Republican columnists and Republican preachers. I get it. Inclusiveness. But when it comes to the best ideas of the web, the sign on the President's door says "Please wait" instead of "The fierce urgency of now." I think he was right the first time. You need the web Mr. President, now, and we need to get in there and do our work.  Permalink to this paragraph

Update #1: Der Spiegel piece on whitehouse.gov. (In German.) Permalink to this paragraph

Update #2: NYT roundup of reviews of whitehouse.gov. Permalink to this paragraph


Recent stories:

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


Dave Winer Mailto icon

My most recent trivia on Twitter.

© Copyright 1994-2009 Dave Winer Mailto icon.

Last update: 1/21/2009; 6:57:24 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

Click here to view blogs commenting on  RSS 2.0 feed.