The inauguration of Barack Obabma is a historical defining moment for democracy. The anticipation of the inauguration was described as being like Christmas Eve and was celebrated in every way from commemorative crockery to the new Ben & Jerry’s ‘Yes Pecan’ ice cream flavour.
It’s place in history goes beyond race and background. Obama is the first democratically elected leader to embrace the social web. After a few quiet weeks his much talked about twitter stream went live again on Martin Luther King Day, the eve of the presidential inauguration. Obama understood that the ability of the ordinary person to use the Internet, has and will have a significant effect on the relationship between between the politician and the body politic. Oh Boy Obama, was an unofficial site produced by his supporters described as an “online think tank” where people voted on policy ideas that they believed Barack Obama should adopt as part of his campaign. Oh Boy Obama was a Digg style site that showed how political ideas could be tested against real grass roots opinion with those most likely to succeed in winning popular support rising to the top.
There is a great deal of hope riding on this new president. If he pursues his relationship with the social web he could help to redefine what we mean and understand by democracy. That would be history in the making.