From NBC's Abigail Williams
Yesterday, President-elect Obama gave his first virtual fireside chat. The weekly Democratic radio address, also posted as a YouTube video on change.gov, is just a taste of the new style of open governing promised by the incoming Administration.
Seated at a simple desk with the American flag draped to the right, and thick leather bound books behind, the image first seems like all presidential addresses made from the Oval Office. But something seems off in the presentation -- Obama's torso as right of center as his tie and the camera left at an awkward distance forcing Obama to lurch forward towards his viewers. It seems, well, like a YouTube video.
The uniqueness in this style of address is more than just its presentation; the video represents an adaptation to new generations who watch what they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. The video is one in a series of continuing efforts made by Obama to create a more transparent and connected democracy that brings the decision making of government directly to its citizens. The purpose of this e-government, according to Obama, is to "lift the veil" from Washington and allow people to become active participants in their own government.
Of course, the details of this citizen participation have yet to be explained and how integral a part the opinion of citizens will play in specific government proposals remains to be seen. For now the image of President-elect Obama projected on your iPod seated next to your gas-burning fireplace certainly gives the appearance of change.