Good morning, Senator (or should I say "President-elect"?), and congratulations. You talked during your campaign about using the Internet to engage with regular folks, and surely you did. So did your opponent. The last time I checked, the two of you had amassed about two million friends between you on Facebook and MySpace, and another few hundred thousand followers on Twitter and YouTube.
I don't need to tell you how useful those networks were for fund-raising and organizing. Internet outreach brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in political donations, and Web video helped you distribute viral campaign spots. Reporters fawned over Web applications and online wikis that managed canvassers and phone banks. Certainly digital media was more important in this election than it had been in any other in the history of the country.
With your inauguration just a couple months away, you'll soon have the opportunity to convert your Web-enabled campaign -- and vast community of online supporters -- into a new kind of government. Forgive the jargon, but we're talking about White House 2.0. You now have the chance to give the executive branch a complete technological makeover, endowing it with all the extraordinary capabilities of the modern Internet. This isn't a partisan issue. A truly modern presidency would tap into the vigor and potential of all Americans, by means of searchable online databases, full-scale interactivity, and the distributed problem-solving that comes with social networks. For the first time ever, and under your leadership, the federal bureaucracy can become more accessible, more transparent and -- most important -- more effective than it's ever been.
These aren't just vague ideas and Webby catchphrases. A movement is building around the country -- indeed, around the world -- to work out how information technology might promote democracy and improve government. I've collected ideas from some of the engineers, activists and visionaries who are leading the way. And now I'd like to provide you with something of a wish list. How should you use the Internet to revolutionize government? A few suggestions.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.