90,000 Sign-In For First Online Presidential Town Hall

CNN is reporting that more than 90,000 web users sent in questions to President Obama during his online town-hall meeting, which started today at 11:30am EST on the whitehouse.gov website.

That’s a lot.

It’s no secret that part of the Obama team’s success during the campaign was their proficiency with online and social media platforms to reach a key demographic of the voting population.

Regardless of the surmised habits of at least a portion of said demographic (“Obama answered seven of the most popular questions, according to a CNN tally. That includes those from several people who asked if legalizing marijuana would improve the economy.”), the huge turnout  in such a short time period is indicative of how active the online community has become.

As one of the many, many people who spend most of their day connected in one way or another to the web, I for one am quite happy to see that both the government and the people of this country are finding a way to get more involved in their government.

I think this is profound, though, for a much more important reason than the fact that the White House has (finally) become a member of the worldwide online community, and that clearly so many people have been waiting for it to happen.  

Short of an enormous (and logistically-nightmarish) conference call, the web is really the only way that issues relevant to people in Atlanta could be given the same opportunity to be heard as those important to people in San Francisco.  Mainers and Minnesotans, Californians and Carolinians (I think I butchered that), Nevadans and Nebraskans, all got an equal chance to share their thoughts.

There has been a feeling for some time that the web could be a great equalizer. It might not be there yet, but this seems like a step in the right direction.


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