Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Obama Saves on Gas

On March 26, President Obama took questions in East Room of the White House, but there was a twist. The East Room is usually the scene of press conferences where the President submits to questioning from the White House press corps. But in this case, President Obama took questions directly from an internet audience as 67,000 viewers watched a live stream of the event.

There are many interesting implications: the bypass of the media filter; the virtual town halll; the modern fireside chat; the 21st century version of participatory democracy.

But on a very basic level the event contains a significant lesson for corporate America.

An Associated Press article cited in the dailycamera blog quotes presidential spokesperson Robert Gibbs:

"It's not a whole lot different than were we in California doing the meeting," Gibbs said. "It's just we'll have people hooked up from a lot of different places all over the country, but he'll be able to do all that from the East Room."

"It's a way for the president to do what he enjoys doing out on the road, but saves on gas,"

IVT's client NEC, a leading provider of IT network integrated solutions, documented annual savings of $250,000 replacing road shows with webcasts.

How much can the White House save by using webcasting to bring the American people to the East Room of the White House rather than traveling around the country to take questions in local town halls?

Has any politcal town hall been held in a venue that could hold 67,000 people?

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