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The White House and Flickr

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, April 29 2009


The White House is celebrating hitting the 100 day mark by posting a few hundred photos to its Flickr stream, and they offer a peek into what's happening in the Obama White House on a day-to-day basis. It's probably fair to say that, like him or not, there's something humanizing about seeing the president -- and all the president's men and women -- going about the work of the nation and catching the occasional football game in 3D. That, of course, is likely the White House's intention, and it's one of the prime benefits of social media for government actors: we're more reluctant to see people as proper targets of ire and derision when we regularly see them cavorting with puppies, or otherwise acting in ways that are identifiably human.


White House photographer Pete Souza mixes straightforward fare with some rather artistic captures:

This is probably as good a time as any to note that the General Services Administration -- the mechanics of the executive branch, if you will -- has been busy negotiating government-wide terms-of-service arrangements with web services so that every agency and department can post their very own Flickr photosets, YouTube videos, and the like. Having pre-approved services streamlines things when executive branch entities get ready to get 2.0. Get ready for videos of Tom Vilsack hoeing a row or shots of Stephen Chu working out energy-saving algorithms in his DOE office late at night. GSA's latest round of negotiations covers Facebook, MySpace, Blist, AddThis, Vimeo, and Slideshare.