The president of the United States, now available online

I've got something to admit - I'm a blogaholic.

I use Google Reader and RSS feeds to make my addiction a little easier to manage but as I write this, there are over 1,000 unread blog posts that remain bolded - challenging me to get through them all.

The one blog that I'll religiously check each time I open my laptop is the new Whitehouse.gov feed. It's no secret that savvy use of technology was a huge contribution to Obama's victory; some of the tools available to volunteers working in Pennsylvania included Google Maps-based updates on which streets had households that hadn't been to the polls yet. After the transition from the campaign to the Oval Office, the Obama administration and Robert Gibbs, assistant to the president for press relations, clearly haven't forgotten what the Internet is capable of.

The Whitehouse.gov blog is essentially a way for the president's public relations staff to present information directly to the public, circumventing the major media outlets in the process. Transcripts and video of press conferences have been posted, avoiding the news networks' tendency to reduce speeches to 30-second sound bites. Journalists and pundits still get the opportunity to debate the administration's actions but the public is afforded the chance to easily view news in the raw form, before media outlets can put a spin on a story.

Another remarkable use of the Net by the Obama administration is the new Recovery.gov. The idea here is near-total transparency. If used to its advertised potential, the site will show American taxpayers where every dollar of the Troubled Assets Relief Program bailout program winds up. This is a huge improvement over the transparency of the Bush administration's bailout program, which was roughly as see-through as a brick wall.

With Americans able to check the flow of TARP funds so easily, we're a lot less likely to see the money being spent on silly things like new jets and we'll be more able to focus public pressure in order to see the TARP money being spent in a more productive fashion.

President Obama has also been delivering weekly YouTube addresses to the nation, increasing his similarities to Franklin Roosevelt. The addresses are short and concise and make it seem that the president is in your dorm room, explaining his stimulus package and outlining his plans for the future. It's an excellent feeling to be talked to by the president in such a manner - it's really very refreshing.

Between the Whitehouse.gov blog and the easy-to-access TARP information available on Recovery.gov, the Obama age looks like it's going to be an era of transparency and access - a change that's long overdue. With the way the new administration has made use of the "series of tubes," there's no question in my mind that Obama will go down in history not only as the first African-American president of the United States but also as the first president of the Internet.

Now, you'll have to excuse me, I have a few thousand blog posts to get through. Where's my Red Bull?

Alex Berberich is a sophomore poli-sci major who'd like to tell his lady readers that he is also available and online.

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