By now, you’ve probably seen Obama’s new policy website Change.gov. The media and blogosphere have reported on how ground-breaking and historic this "open government" website is, allowing the public to be involved in the public policy-making process in ways impossible to imagine before. What has received less attention is the intensive web development process that must have been involved in creating Change.gov.
My sources in Chicago just leaked to me an internal memo from Obama’s tech adviser Chris Hughes to the campaign’s web development team:
Hi guys, thanks for getting onboard with this. I know you are swamped just keeping up with our tech needs for my.barackobama.com, our MySpace page, Facebook page, Twitter stream, Second Life virtual headquarters, iPhone app, video game ads and a dozen other online platforms I can’t remember right now. (Are we on LinkedIn? Do we want to be?)
BHO was clear today in the senior staff meeting that we have to have a public policy website online as soon as its clear that we’ve won the election. We’re thinking of calling it Change.gov. Catchy, I know. My idea.
So just to summarize the requirements for Change.gov, here’s what it has to support:
- A front end submission system that accepts text, images and video
- An admin backend that allows staff and interns to sort through the thousands of submissions we expect
- A job application portal
- Standard stuff: A blog, live and canned video, press room, calendar, email subscription, web accessible for people with disabilities, etc.
- Supports millions of hits a day — DOS attacks WILL happen
- State-of-the-art security (Chinese/Al Queda/ Republican hackers, etc)
- A modern, dignified, look… with the color palette restricted to red, white and blue
Oh and we need it live by November 5, 2008.
Head of New Media
Obama for President Campaign
P.S. if we don’t win, all this work is for nothing.
Seriously, kudos to the web dev team for doing a bang-up job. Looks like a truly innovative way of involving citizens around the country in the "sausage-making" policy process.