Just got an email from Change.gov promoting Obama's weekly video address via YouTube. As you can see from the photo above, he's sitting in a typically presidential setting with American flag draped to the left. The staged setting seems strangely at odds with the medium. Here is the president elect comitting to talk to us on a weekly basis - not on television - direct and on demand via YouTube. And they're asking us to respond with our thoughts in the forms to the right - which illustrates their strategy to gather contact information for every citizen - to be in direct contact with each and every one of us.
I'm struck by the magnitude of this moment. Television is dead. Our President is on demand. The Internet is a requirement for civic particpation. The government (to be) is asking for our help, ideas, and comments and actually has an avenue to intake that help (harvesting it is be another matter, of course). The sitting president is still in office and Obama is calling the shots, revolutionizing politics with the tools of our time.
And here it looks like just a typical presidential address. But it's the furthest thing from typical that I've seen in my lifetime. I half expect him to be sitting on the desk, a phone in one hand, some aids running behind the scenes. With the level of transparency and innovation that we're seeing from the campaign, I expect the setting to be more like MTV's Real World and less like every other presidential address. Perhaps this is what we'll get in weeks to come... And even if we don't, I'm fairly elated to see how this transition team is making decisive moves in their use of the Web.