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Obama's Internet Q&A: A "Pretty Exciting" "Canned" "Experiment" of "Amazing" "OKness"

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, March 27 2009

A day after President Barack Obama's Internet-powered town hall event and the reviews are in! And the verdict is...well...something happened yesterday. And it was a something that was happening for the first time. Beyond that, well, hmmm. The White House reported that some 64,000 people had tuned into the live webcast, and the White House Mystery Blogger™ celebrated the event as having "an amazing feel of something that had never been done before, and something we should be trying to do more of." The Washington Post's Michael A. Fletcher and Jose Antonio Vargas remarked upon the forum's radical ordinariness, despite the participation of the Internets: "Despite the technical elements and the regal venue, the meeting had the feel of a typical presidential town hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind." The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg applies a traditional media metric to be leaned upon in these confusing times; she writes: "Mr. Obama did make a sliver of news, disclosing that he intended to announce...what kind of help his administration would give the auto industry." White House new media director Macon Phillips told CNN's Kyra Phillips that he was "pleasantly surprised by the response" to the call for questions. Phillips also offered that the view from within the White House was that the "experiment" was "pretty exciting." Wired's Nicholas Thompson offers what might be an especially prudent judgment of the whole affair, deeming it "drama-free OKness."

If you missed yesterday's event, the LA Times' Johanna Neuman highlights the questions that got the nod. And as we're ever forward-looking, check out the Harvard's Gene Koo's suggestions on how we might get from ground-breaking "OKness" to get to something even more compelling.