Bush in social networking ban shocker!

I was intrigued, amused and not particularly surprised to read John Naughton’s report in The Guardian about the IT system used by the Bush Administration at the White House.

So, Bush’s team used a six year old version of Windows, then? Hmm.

Naughton’s source was an article for the Washington Post entitled “Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages,” in which reporter Anne E Kornblut talked about the Obama team arriving on their first day in the new office, brimming with iphones and mac laptops, only to be confronted by reinforced firewalls and ageing Microsoft technology.

Karin Robinson, a regional field director for Obama’s presidential campaign, laughs wryly at the memory:

“It was hysterical. Some of the fundraisers, they Facebook’ed and they IM’ed and a lot of their tools were blocked in the White House. When they got in there, they couldn’t contact anyone. They said “I don’t have anyone’s numbers!” They were used to having constant real-time sharing of their lives; their assumption of how to interact with the world is different.”

It’s ironic that the Bush Administration only appeared on Twitter in the dying days of George W’s presidency:

“Send a farewell letter to President Bush—Email [email protected] [no attachments] and I’ll give him your note on January 20”

wrote Karl Rove on January 16th.

Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post thought this was simply a cynical ploy to get hold of loyal Republicans’ email addresses. Surely not?

The Bush Administration was wrong in so many ways, and its handling of new media seems an apt metaphor for the way in which it connected with world opinion. As to George W Bush’s handle on social networking, Australian copywriter Johnathan Crossfield has a great take.

Something light for a Friday evening – read and enjoy!