January 30, 2012

Government Leaders Should Take a Lesson From the President's Playbook

PRESIDENT BARACK Obama held a Google+ Hangout this afternoon and I was tuned in from the very beginning.

Steve Grove, head of community partnerships at g+, moderated the event and took live and sometimes tough questions from citizens (two men, two women and one classroom of young students) and a few people who taped their questions beforehand.

The president answered questions about the economy, jobs, small business and the use of drones - and there were a few difficult moments especially when one woman, whose engineer husband had been out of work for some time, pressed him on work visas. (The president promised to follow up with her). He also addressed SOPA and veteran homelessness.

The event was a social media first and seemed to benefit all concerned - Google, the president's re-election efforts and the American people.

Overall, I thought the forum showed a more human side of the president and he proved to be engaging and charming. He showed a sense of humor and he clearly connected with the folks asking the questions.

Perhaps as important as anything, however, was the Google+ event painted a picture of how the confluence of  government, technology and 'we the people' might look in the future. It clearly demonstrated how the Internet can be used to directly connect people and public officials.

Government leaders at all levels might take a lesson from the president's playbook.

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