ALEX COHEN, host:
Back now with Day to Day. Supporters of Barack Obama have now become used to the text messages from his campaign, those personalized emails signed Barack, and online social groups. So, will Senator Obama continue to use all these new media tools once he takes office? It's a question that slate.com's technology columnist, Farhad Manjoo, has been writing about. He joins us now.
We've seen now recently a new website from Barack Obama. The URL is change.gov. What exactly is the point of this site?
Mr. FARHAD MANJOO (Technology Columnist, Slate.com): This is a transition website. And the site sort of keeps the same sort of flavor that his campaign site, barackobama.com, or he had a social network on his campaign site called mybarackobama.com, where people would, you know, link to other people who were their friends and join groups. The transition site sort of keeps that same interactive feel. And I think it's sort of indicative of what he'll have when he enters the White House.
COHEN: Any clue as to what other sorts of technologies he might use to communicate with Americans?
Mr. MANJOO: In the campaign, we saw them using text messages and email, and, you know, they even had advertising in video games. I don't imagine that they'll use text messages and email and all those many different campaign tools, but I think that they're heavily invested in the web and especially a kind of social networking aspect on the White House website or another website, where they'll especially want people to join in and help them pressure members of Congress to pass their legislation.
COHEN: I've read that President-elect Obama says he will take online comments for non-emergency legislation. But it seems to me like that could open up a real hornet's nest. I mean, who wants to wade through potentially hundreds of thousands of comments from everybody in the country?
Mr. MANJOO: Yeah. I mean, it seems like it would be logistically difficult for, I mean, I wonder if they will read the comments. But I do know that, you know, during the campaign, they had - many times, they did respond to people who posted comments, you know, substantive comments. So, it's possible that they'll have an online staff devoted to looking into what people are saying about their legislation.
You know, as it is, the federal government, when they're making new regulations, they accept comments from people. The FCC and other agencies accept comments from people. It's not on the web. You can't just sort of post it and have it come up, but I think that he wants to continue the same thing but just make it more accessible to people.
COHEN: And what about these online social networking groups? During the campaign, there was, you know, little sites for just about every possible group out there. Do you think you'll still see these groups in action once he takes office?
Mr. MANJOO: I think that they want people to start these groups and participate. You know, I think that the Obama campaign and Obama has said that he wants to do it kind of because he thinks that it would get more people involved in government, and, you know, he thinks that there are civic reasons for people to participate online.
But I think that also, they see this as kind of a political asset. If they can get people involved and invested in Obama's legislation and all of his policy goals, then they can get people to go to their members of Congress and fight lobbying groups, and they think that, if they get people, you know, a sort of a direct connection with American citizens on their side, then they - that could be sort of a really powerful political asset.
COHEN: Farhad Manjoo of slate.com, thank you.
Mr. MANJOO: Thanks a lot.
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