We're aware of how effectively Barack Obama and the people around him used a variety of "new media" applications to enhance their political agenda. But that's about to come to an end. An interesting excerpt from a report by Politico's Ben Smith:
'Obama staff will say 'cu l8r' 2 IM':
'David Axelrod is losing his IM. The lawyers broke the bad news to Obama aides at a briefing Friday morning convened by incoming Deputy White House Counsel Cassandra Butts: Not only are they leaving the modern world to enter a White House where some of the clunky desktop computers still run Windows 2000 but-worst of all-they'll be forced to surrender a form of communication staffers have relied on for the last two years to communicate with each other, outside allies, and the press. From Axelrod, the chief campaign strategist, down to junior staffers in the press office, Obama's campaign relied heavily on software many of them began using in high school -- AOL Instant Message and Google Chat.
'Instant messaging, though little mentioned, is -- perhaps as much as email -- deeply woven into contemporary politics and media, whose fabric is the constant, quick, gossipy transmission of spin and information. But a calculus that's perhaps one part security, one part law, and two parts politics, has long barred instant messaging from the White House. 'They just told us flat out we couldn't IM in the White House,' groused one senior staffer Friday. 'It sucks. It's really going to slow us down,' complained another, saying that lawyers had warned that, along with Instant Messaging, White House software will restrict users to a range of sites roughly 'like your average grade school.' The clunky technology is standard issue for government offices, but the bar on instant messaging is particular to the White House. Legal and security experts say it is dictated by the fear of embarrassment if IMs were to be disclosed. The Presidential Records Act requires White House documents to become public five years after a president leaves office, and most lawyers think it would apply to any instant messages discussing government business.'