President Obama on Monday addressed the nation, but not from the Oval Office or the House floor. Instead, he got on YouTube and answered questions from videos uploaded by users around the world.
President Obama on Monday addressed the nation, but not from the Oval Office or the House floor. Instead, he did what anyone looking for a big audience would do: He got on YouTube and answered questions from videos uploaded by users around the world.
According to Citizentube, the channel responsible for organizing and moderating the interview, 11,696 questions were submitted on topics such as jobs, health care and government reform. The White House had no knowledge of the content prior to the live broadcast. While many people had serious policy concerns, others wanted to know about marijuana legalization, a mandated national bedtime and the president's World of Warcraft skills. One even asked, "Why does God hate the Vikings?"
In his short 30 minutes, Obama wasn't able to answer that one.
But streaming video as an official platform isn't new for this White House. Open for Questions is a semi-regular series on WhiteHouse.gov, in which administration officials take live questions from citizens. The latest installation, held on Wednesday, had Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, among others, addressing innovation in the 2011 budget.
Priorities for IT innovation are efficiency, effective budget management, cybersecurity and transparency, Kundra said. "Part of what we want to be able to do is make sure that every dollar that is spent in the public sector is done so in a responsible way. At the same time we want to make sure we're leveraging modern technologies to change the way the American people interact with their government."
Past guests on Open for Questions include Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebielius and Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer.
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