How is technology changing the world of Washington D.C.?

Jesse Lee blogging in WordPress

When I walked into the Speaker of the House’s press room and saw a staff member (Jesse Lee, Senior New Media Advisor for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi) typing a blog into WordPress, I knew the world had changed (I remarked that I knew that Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic which makes WordPress, was a smart guy from the first time I met him). That’s Jesse on this post typing into his WordPress-run blog.

When I was talking with Senator Tom Coburn and he didn’t flinch when we turned on our live cameras during our interview, I knew the world had changed.

When I pulled out my cell phone like a tourist and no one looked at me like I was a dork, I knew the world had changed.

When I was talking with Representative Tim Ryan and he was talking about debating his fellow Congressmen via Twitter, I knew the world had changed. (Here’s his Twitter account).

When I visited the Senate Chambers and saw laptops on the floor, I knew the world had changed.

When I was talking with Representative John Culberson and he talked about showing President Bush Twitter and Qik (and getting shut down by the Secret Service), (Part I, Part II, Andrew Feinberg filmed the whole thing with his camera here). I knew the world had changed. Plus he ambushed a TMZ video crew this afternoon.

Some things that haven’t changed?

1. The President, today, was shown Qik and Twitter by Congressman John Culberson. Here’s his Qik account. Here’s his Twitter account. Culberson said he was amazed by the technology and almost agreed to do the first Qik interview from the Oval Office, but that the Secret Service jumped in and said that that was a no-no. His Twitter message from the Oval Office is the first from the White House that Culberson knows about.

2. The press room at the Senate was fairly old school. Laptops and cell phones are not allowed into Senate chambers. Culberson, in his interview with us, told us that he was going to break rules and bring his cell phone into some congressional hearings and film them so his constituency can see what goes on.

3. Culberson had not yet seen FriendFeed, but said that he’d been shown Summize (live Twitter search engine)┬áby Erica O’Grady. He promised me he’d try FriendFeed.

At one point I looked at my son, Patrick, who is helping me out on this trip, and wondered just how much the world would change in his lifetime?

Tomorrow more questions and answers as we do even more interviews.

132 thoughts on “How is technology changing the world of Washington D.C.?

  1. Well be seeing a lot more advances in technology with our new president. I’m eager to be a part of these new discoveries. It’s amazing.

  2. Well be seeing a lot more advances in technology with our new president. I’m eager to be a part of these new discoveries. It’s amazing.

  3. “When I visited the Senate Chambers and saw laptops on the floor, I knew the world had changed.”

    The laptops on the Senate floor have been there for years – I purchased and installed some in 2003 (since replaced), and those were replacing laptops that had been there for at least 3 years prior.

    And because I’m tired I’ll comment on another post here as well.
    “Only two congressmen use Macs. Out of 435 Representatives and 100 Senators.”

    There are more than two Mac using congressmen in the Senate alone, and Apple’s presence has increased steadily over the past 5 or 6 years.

  4. “When I visited the Senate Chambers and saw laptops on the floor, I knew the world had changed.”

    The laptops on the Senate floor have been there for years – I purchased and installed some in 2003 (since replaced), and those were replacing laptops that had been there for at least 3 years prior.

    And because I’m tired I’ll comment on another post here as well.
    “Only two congressmen use Macs. Out of 435 Representatives and 100 Senators.”

    There are more than two Mac using congressmen in the Senate alone, and Apple’s presence has increased steadily over the past 5 or 6 years.

  5. For the record I think New Media JIm and I were probably two of the first two twitter from the white house if not just from the briefing room or elsewhere in the West Wing.

    Aside from that – and as someone who works in and around the Capitol, the White House and other federal buildings – it is absolutely amazing the amount of technology, the little nuances that we take for granted creeping its way into our government. This campaign season I think has helped a lot to drive the technology to the forefront with all of the digital outreach from the candidates via Twitter, streaming services like Mogulus, Skype, Ustream, BlogTV, etc., Youtube, Myspace, LinkedIn and countless others. Candidates are blogging, the Library of Congress is blogging, and apparently Reps are ambushing the ambushers with THEIR cellphone video. It’s truly amazing – and one can only hope that it isn’t just a trendy thing that these folks are playing with – but stumbling steps towards transparency and opening up portals to the community. Twitter and Youtube aren’t going to save the world – but they are going to allow people to see a lot of angles on things they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Politicians and government offices are going to use social media as a ‘marketing tool’ to share information, use it as a soapbox, voice their opinions, and campaign – which some would say is no different from using TV or any other medium, that they’ll be selling us the same BS via the web – but like DIGG or Delicious or anything else – in a digital forum the people are the police – and to quote Christian Slater…”you gotta remember dear, I can smell a lie like a fart in a car”…and people can. When people smell bullshit they stop listening. They criticize. And that’s the difference. In a digital forum – there are a lot more voices to help cancel out the polarized views we’re used to on network television. In the meantime I just hope we all continue to have a lot of fun with it. The real human benefit of all of this social media “stuff” are the big three, “learn, teach, and share.” If somehow this all opens up a better dialog between people and their representatives/government organizations then – fricken yeah! *Takes off rose colored social media glasses*…

    Or its all trendy techy stuff and this is all bullshit. Its all going to come down to them marketing to us “the sheep” via another medium and we’ll all keep generating a lot of noise in the background – some of which will be meaningful – a lot of which won’t.

    Good to see you Robert, exciting that you got to do this, looking forward to the HD video – Jonny and i appreciate and really enjoyed the interview with you and Gary V. Come back anytime…we’ll show you how to get down in D.C. I know how much you like to dance. The interviews are up on my and Jonny’s blogs.

  6. For the record I think New Media JIm and I were probably two of the first two twitter from the white house if not just from the briefing room or elsewhere in the West Wing.

    Aside from that – and as someone who works in and around the Capitol, the White House and other federal buildings – it is absolutely amazing the amount of technology, the little nuances that we take for granted creeping its way into our government. This campaign season I think has helped a lot to drive the technology to the forefront with all of the digital outreach from the candidates via Twitter, streaming services like Mogulus, Skype, Ustream, BlogTV, etc., Youtube, Myspace, LinkedIn and countless others. Candidates are blogging, the Library of Congress is blogging, and apparently Reps are ambushing the ambushers with THEIR cellphone video. It’s truly amazing – and one can only hope that it isn’t just a trendy thing that these folks are playing with – but stumbling steps towards transparency and opening up portals to the community. Twitter and Youtube aren’t going to save the world – but they are going to allow people to see a lot of angles on things they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Politicians and government offices are going to use social media as a ‘marketing tool’ to share information, use it as a soapbox, voice their opinions, and campaign – which some would say is no different from using TV or any other medium, that they’ll be selling us the same BS via the web – but like DIGG or Delicious or anything else – in a digital forum the people are the police – and to quote Christian Slater…”you gotta remember dear, I can smell a lie like a fart in a car”…and people can. When people smell bullshit they stop listening. They criticize. And that’s the difference. In a digital forum – there are a lot more voices to help cancel out the polarized views we’re used to on network television. In the meantime I just hope we all continue to have a lot of fun with it. The real human benefit of all of this social media “stuff” are the big three, “learn, teach, and share.” If somehow this all opens up a better dialog between people and their representatives/government organizations then – fricken yeah! *Takes off rose colored social media glasses*…

    Or its all trendy techy stuff and this is all bullshit. Its all going to come down to them marketing to us “the sheep” via another medium and we’ll all keep generating a lot of noise in the background – some of which will be meaningful – a lot of which won’t.

    Good to see you Robert, exciting that you got to do this, looking forward to the HD video – Jonny and i appreciate and really enjoyed the interview with you and Gary V. Come back anytime…we’ll show you how to get down in D.C. I know how much you like to dance. The interviews are up on my and Jonny’s blogs.

  7. For the record I think New Media JIm and I were probably two of the first two twitter from the white house if not just from the briefing room or elsewhere in the West Wing.

    Aside from that – and as someone who works in and around the Capitol, the White House and other federal buildings – it is absolutely amazing the amount of technology, the little nuances that we take for granted creeping its way into our government. This campaign season I think has helped a lot to drive the technology to the forefront with all of the digital outreach from the candidates via Twitter, streaming services like Mogulus, Skype, Ustream, BlogTV, etc., Youtube, Myspace, LinkedIn and countless others. Candidates are blogging, the Library of Congress is blogging, and apparently Reps are ambushing the ambushers with THEIR cellphone video. It’s truly amazing – and one can only hope that it isn’t just a trendy thing that these folks are playing with – but stumbling steps towards transparency and opening up portals to the community. Twitter and Youtube aren’t going to save the world – but they are going to allow people to see a lot of angles on things they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Politicians and government offices are going to use social media as a ‘marketing tool’ to share information, use it as a soapbox, voice their opinions, and campaign – which some would say is no different from using TV or any other medium, that they’ll be selling us the same BS via the web – but like DIGG or Delicious or anything else – in a digital forum the people are the police – and to quote Christian Slater…”you gotta remember dear, I can smell a lie like a fart in a car”…and people can. When people smell bullshit they stop listening. They criticize. And that’s the difference. In a digital forum – there are a lot more voices to help cancel out the polarized views we’re used to on network television. In the meantime I just hope we all continue to have a lot of fun with it. The real human benefit of all of this social media “stuff” are the big three, “learn, teach, and share.” If somehow this all opens up a better dialog between people and their representatives/government organizations then – fricken yeah! *Takes off rose colored social media glasses*…

    Or its all trendy techy stuff and this is all bullshit. Its all going to come down to them marketing to us “the sheep” via another medium and we’ll all keep generating a lot of noise in the background – some of which will be meaningful – a lot of which won’t.

    Good to see you Robert, exciting that you got to do this, looking forward to the HD video – Jonny and i appreciate and really enjoyed the interview with you and Gary V. Come back anytime…we’ll show you how to get down in D.C. I know how much you like to dance. The interviews are up on my and Jonny’s blogs.

  8. For the record I think New Media JIm and I were probably two of the first two twitter from the white house if not just from the briefing room or elsewhere in the West Wing.

    Aside from that – and as someone who works in and around the Capitol, the White House and other federal buildings – it is absolutely amazing the amount of technology, the little nuances that we take for granted creeping its way into our government. This campaign season I think has helped a lot to drive the technology to the forefront with all of the digital outreach from the candidates via Twitter, streaming services like Mogulus, Skype, Ustream, BlogTV, etc., Youtube, Myspace, LinkedIn and countless others. Candidates are blogging, the Library of Congress is blogging, and apparently Reps are ambushing the ambushers with THEIR cellphone video. It’s truly amazing – and one can only hope that it isn’t just a trendy thing that these folks are playing with – but stumbling steps towards transparency and opening up portals to the community. Twitter and Youtube aren’t going to save the world – but they are going to allow people to see a lot of angles on things they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Politicians and government offices are going to use social media as a ‘marketing tool’ to share information, use it as a soapbox, voice their opinions, and campaign – which some would say is no different from using TV or any other medium, that they’ll be selling us the same BS via the web – but like DIGG or Delicious or anything else – in a digital forum the people are the police – and to quote Christian Slater…”you gotta remember dear, I can smell a lie like a fart in a car”…and people can. When people smell bullshit they stop listening. They criticize. And that’s the difference. In a digital forum – there are a lot more voices to help cancel out the polarized views we’re used to on network television. In the meantime I just hope we all continue to have a lot of fun with it. The real human benefit of all of this social media “stuff” are the big three, “learn, teach, and share.” If somehow this all opens up a better dialog between people and their representatives/government organizations then – fricken yeah! *Takes off rose colored social media glasses*…

    Or its all trendy techy stuff and this is all bullshit. Its all going to come down to them marketing to us “the sheep” via another medium and we’ll all keep generating a lot of noise in the background – some of which will be meaningful – a lot of which won’t.

    Good to see you Robert, exciting that you got to do this, looking forward to the HD video – Jonny and i appreciate and really enjoyed the interview with you and Gary V. Come back anytime…we’ll show you how to get down in D.C. I know how much you like to dance. The interviews are up on my and Jonny’s blogs.

  9. It’s not that the world changed, media changed; people remain the same, using the media. It didn’t effect some fabulous transformation on them. Your surprise that people on the right coast would seem to have the same toys you do on the left coast bewilders me, it’s as if you think, well, we made these and we should control how they get used.

    But, people pick them up and keep doing their thing. The war in Iraq didn’t stop, food prices didn’t go down, etc.

    I don’t know whether the FCC should be killed off, because I don’t know what force we could count on to keep tekkies themselves in check, along with their creations, given their scorn for representative democracy and the acceleration of their engineering. People hate the FCC when it doesn’t do what they want, and like it when it does what they want.

    I find it touching to think that people imagine if you can only get Bush to Twitter or Cheney to have a Facebook, the government will change. How silly. They have telephones and computers, and that didn’t change them. Nor the people who elected them — whom you were unable to persuade, even with your Internet and Youtubes.

    All of this has to be watched very closely so that the technology and coders do not take away our freedoms under the guise of the new.

  10. It’s not that the world changed, media changed; people remain the same, using the media. It didn’t effect some fabulous transformation on them. Your surprise that people on the right coast would seem to have the same toys you do on the left coast bewilders me, it’s as if you think, well, we made these and we should control how they get used.

    But, people pick them up and keep doing their thing. The war in Iraq didn’t stop, food prices didn’t go down, etc.

    I don’t know whether the FCC should be killed off, because I don’t know what force we could count on to keep tekkies themselves in check, along with their creations, given their scorn for representative democracy and the acceleration of their engineering. People hate the FCC when it doesn’t do what they want, and like it when it does what they want.

    I find it touching to think that people imagine if you can only get Bush to Twitter or Cheney to have a Facebook, the government will change. How silly. They have telephones and computers, and that didn’t change them. Nor the people who elected them — whom you were unable to persuade, even with your Internet and Youtubes.

    All of this has to be watched very closely so that the technology and coders do not take away our freedoms under the guise of the new.

  11. It’s not that the world changed, media changed; people remain the same, using the media. It didn’t effect some fabulous transformation on them. Your surprise that people on the right coast would seem to have the same toys you do on the left coast bewilders me, it’s as if you think, well, we made these and we should control how they get used.

    But, people pick them up and keep doing their thing. The war in Iraq didn’t stop, food prices didn’t go down, etc.

    I don’t know whether the FCC should be killed off, because I don’t know what force we could count on to keep tekkies themselves in check, along with their creations, given their scorn for representative democracy and the acceleration of their engineering. People hate the FCC when it doesn’t do what they want, and like it when it does what they want.

    I find it touching to think that people imagine if you can only get Bush to Twitter or Cheney to have a Facebook, the government will change. How silly. They have telephones and computers, and that didn’t change them. Nor the people who elected them — whom you were unable to persuade, even with your Internet and Youtubes.

    All of this has to be watched very closely so that the technology and coders do not take away our freedoms under the guise of the new.

  12. It’s not that the world changed, media changed; people remain the same, using the media. It didn’t effect some fabulous transformation on them. Your surprise that people on the right coast would seem to have the same toys you do on the left coast bewilders me, it’s as if you think, well, we made these and we should control how they get used.

    But, people pick them up and keep doing their thing. The war in Iraq didn’t stop, food prices didn’t go down, etc.

    I don’t know whether the FCC should be killed off, because I don’t know what force we could count on to keep tekkies themselves in check, along with their creations, given their scorn for representative democracy and the acceleration of their engineering. People hate the FCC when it doesn’t do what they want, and like it when it does what they want.

    I find it touching to think that people imagine if you can only get Bush to Twitter or Cheney to have a Facebook, the government will change. How silly. They have telephones and computers, and that didn’t change them. Nor the people who elected them — whom you were unable to persuade, even with your Internet and Youtubes.

    All of this has to be watched very closely so that the technology and coders do not take away our freedoms under the guise of the new.

  13. It’s not that the world changed, media changed; people remain the same, using the media. It didn’t effect some fabulous transformation on them. Your surprise that people on the right coast would seem to have the same toys you do on the left coast bewilders me, it’s as if you think, well, we made these and we should control how they get used.

    But, people pick them up and keep doing their thing. The war in Iraq didn’t stop, food prices didn’t go down, etc.

    I don’t know whether the FCC should be killed off, because I don’t know what force we could count on to keep tekkies themselves in check, along with their creations, given their scorn for representative democracy and the acceleration of their engineering. People hate the FCC when it doesn’t do what they want, and like it when it does what they want.

    I find it touching to think that people imagine if you can only get Bush to Twitter or Cheney to have a Facebook, the government will change. How silly. They have telephones and computers, and that didn’t change them. Nor the people who elected them — whom you were unable to persuade, even with your Internet and Youtubes.

    All of this has to be watched very closely so that the technology and coders do not take away our freedoms under the guise of the new.

  14. It’s not that the world changed, media changed; people remain the same, using the media. It didn’t effect some fabulous transformation on them. Your surprise that people on the right coast would seem to have the same toys you do on the left coast bewilders me, it’s as if you think, well, we made these and we should control how they get used.

    But, people pick them up and keep doing their thing. The war in Iraq didn’t stop, food prices didn’t go down, etc.

    I don’t know whether the FCC should be killed off, because I don’t know what force we could count on to keep tekkies themselves in check, along with their creations, given their scorn for representative democracy and the acceleration of their engineering. People hate the FCC when it doesn’t do what they want, and like it when it does what they want.

    I find it touching to think that people imagine if you can only get Bush to Twitter or Cheney to have a Facebook, the government will change. How silly. They have telephones and computers, and that didn’t change them. Nor the people who elected them — whom you were unable to persuade, even with your Internet and Youtubes.

    All of this has to be watched very closely so that the technology and coders do not take away our freedoms under the guise of the new.

  15. I am with Chris Cox, the FCC is an unneeded governmental organization, common contract-law can deal with spectrum/interference issues, no need to continue a bureaucracy hatched in the infancy of radio, and giving such agency the content regulation green light is fraught with serious constitutional issues (Fairness Doctrine and ilk), and all the competitive regulation smacks of planned Soviet-styled economies. It was an common-law overreach with the Radio Act of 1927, and the Communications Act of 1934, and even more so today. Plant the victory flag and kill it off.

  16. I am with Chris Cox, the FCC is an unneeded governmental organization, common contract-law can deal with spectrum/interference issues, no need to continue a bureaucracy hatched in the infancy of radio, and giving such agency the content regulation green light is fraught with serious constitutional issues (Fairness Doctrine and ilk), and all the competitive regulation smacks of planned Soviet-styled economies. It was an common-law overreach with the Radio Act of 1927, and the Communications Act of 1934, and even more so today. Plant the victory flag and kill it off.

  17. @ And which is a major reason why ordinary citizens was were able to take up arms to defeat the largest Empire in the world and attain their independence. And to add insult to injury, with the help of The French! Ouch! How your govt works is of no interest to me, nor most US citizens, beyond an academic exercise, as it has no impact on our daily lives. But we are flattered you take particular imterest in ours.

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