What if President Obama held press conferences not in the White House, but on Google Hangout? What if he answered questions asked by the American people, rather than the news correspondents? Earlier this month India’s Finance MinisterÂ P Chidambaram did just that. The minister participated in a live video conference that lasted hour, but the conference sparked conversations that lasted quite longer (e.g. #askthefm).
“People have been calling this era of computers, the Internet, and telecommunications the â€˜information ageâ€™ … What weâ€™re really in now is the empowerment ageâ€¦This power is shiftingâ€¦to a new paradigm of power that is democratically distributed and shared by all of us.â€Â – Joe Trippi, author ofÂ Revolution Will Not be Televised
Today everyone and everything is going social.Â Barack ObamaÂ andÂ FanÃ§ois HollandeÂ are on Facebook, and evenÂ The White House, theÂ WTO, and theÂ United NationsÂ tweet.DigitalÂ media has become a new form of infrastructure. The United Kingdom offers virtual tours of Parliament buildings. The EU website has an Audiovisual Newsroom. Online presence is a public expectation.
The virtual world has a very real influence.The last two years proved digital and social media’s power to mobilize entire nations (i.e. revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria). Minister Chidambaram’s conference is further evidence of a growing desire to not only pay attention to the man (or woman) behind the curtain, but to eliminate the curtain altogether.