by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 22nd 2009 3:15pm
I'll admit that I was pretty hard on the new Obama administration when, early on there were news articles playing up how the administration was using its large social network of connections for "participatory gov't," but the details suggested they were really just using the people to sell policies, not give actual input on policies. While it was still early, there was enough talk about how sending out emails to people on a mailing list and begging them to talk up the new budget was somehow "participatory gov't," to make me worried that that was as far as the new administration would go. Thankfully, that's not the case. While it still remains to be seen how far this will go in actually creating and driving policy, the White House has rolled out some new efforts on the web that really do appear to be trying to enable more participation and transparency. While I don't see it yet, the Whitehouse.gov site will apparently "become a repository for citizen suggestions and discussion regarding new open-government policies." And, more importantly, Data.gov has launched, and the administration is working to get various gov't agencies to open up as much data as possible. These are both big steps forward. There's always more that can be done, but it's good to see that sending out emails to supporters wasn't what the administration was really thinking about when it promised "participatory" government.
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