(UPDATED) During an interview on C-SPAN on July 26th, when asked by the interviewer whether he was personally using Twitter, the Obama’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that he does not, also because “for some reason Twitter is blocked on White House computers” (but primarily because he feels people already know enough about what it does through other channels).
This created a wave of tweets and blog posts about the irony of a web 2.0-savvy administration preventing its closest employees from using a much hyped technology, although the White House has an official presence on Twitter.
The day after it turned out that his statement was not entirely accurate. In fact the White House tweeted about this, pointing to an interview that the Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton gave to Mediaite. He clarified that the White House tweets are created by the new media team and HootSuite (used to post tweets) is enabled only on new media team computers. Restrictions exist on all other computers due to a combination if recordkeeping and security concerns, which are being reviewed with the White House counsel and the Office of Administration CIO.
Besides the apparent irony of the White House having issues in taking its own medicine around web 2.0, this shows the constant struggle between the institutional presence and the employee presence on new media which will characterize government 2.0 ventures for quite some time, and which I covered in a previous post.
The real irony of this story, at least for me, is that the White House tweet mentioned above points to the Mediaite story, somewhat endorsing it. What a pity the Mediaite site is admittedly hardly accessible with older browsers, such as Internet Explorer version 6, which I run on my computer: so much so that I had to read the whole story on my BlackBerry.
I wonder, does this create an accessibility issue for the White House?