The Young Nonprofit Professional Network of Greater DC held its annual networking reception at the White House on October 22 in the South Court Auditorium, and I was glad to be able to attend. Guests were treated to talks by a number of Obama staffers including: Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director, White House Office of Public Engagement; Trooper Sanders, Deputy Director of Policy, Office of the First Lady; and Sonal Shah, Director, Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
Macon Phillips, Director of the White House Office of New Media, however, stole the show with his lively presentation on how the White House is using social media tools. He acknowledged that many administrators fear social media because it opens you up to "failing big in public."
In sharing tips for success with new media, Mr. Phillips stated that content is key -- a message we have heard from others during our TechSense programs. He counseled the audience not to go online just because everyone one else is. You need to have a clear message. His message is simple -- "Obama." He also underscored the need for a social media strategy. Theirs is to open up the White House so that is seen as belonging to the people, increasing engagement in government, and amplifying the administration's agenda. In fact, his post to the White House blog on Inauguration Day focused on their new media priorities.
So take a look at the White House web site to see how Mr. Phillips and his team are working to engage people. And if you missed our previous blog posts on our TechSense programs, including how nonprofits can use social media, you can find them here.