December 06, 2008

Obama Gives You a Seat at the Table on

By Jesse Stay of Stay N' Alive (Twitter/FriendFeed)

Today the Obama-Biden transition team started an unprecedented move in transparency and openness to the public in a move to get feedback from the public.  The team launched "Your Seat at the Table" on, giving ordinary citizens the opportunity to discuss and give feedback on documents given to the Obama-Biden transition team by lobbying and other groups, right on the Web site in true forum-style.  From the Web site:

"Talking face-to-face with advocates and experts is a vital part of the Transition. But in past transitions, meetings like these took place behind closed doors and lacked the public input and transparency we're working hard to provide.

Documents from meetings with these groups are available now. Check out our new Seat at the Table feature on, dig in to materials we've provided, and let us know what you think."

On the site, you'll find documents ranging from the "Latino Leadership Report to Congress" to the "Woman Business Owner's Platform for Growth".  Each document provides a place to comment about the story, or submit additional documents related to the story.  Each commenter is given the opportunity to then follow each discussion in their favorite RSS reader.  In essence, the Obama transition team has created a wiki surrounding these articles, giving the public full participation around the discussion table.  Commenters are already getting involved on each document, and there is some very intelligent discussion organizing around each one, showing the willingness and desire of the American public to have a part in this process.

Obama is very quickly appearing to mimick the likes of FDR with his open government approach, and perhaps his youthful understanding of technology, use of a Blackberry and iPod, younger kids, and family are all contributing factors to why his future administration and current transition team seem willing to do this.  We have seen similar campaigns from corporations like Pepsi, opening forums to listen to customers on FriendFeed, but never the likes of a President-elect.

In any means, the Obama administration is showing their willingness to listen and certainly adapt as they transition into the role of President.  Their understanding and adaptation of technologies is unprecedented, and makes me very excited to see what's in store, and what they can legally do when Obama gives the oath into Presidency.

Read more by Jesse Stay at Stay N' Alive.