Sunday, August 02, 2009

LinkedIn Makes the Cut

As the image above shows, there has been one obvious omission on the list of popular social networks that the White House cites when it comes to government content-creation: LinkedIn. This career-building site, which is oriented around job hunting and making professional connections, may have been seen as too formal in the past in its rhetorical conventions to further the feelings of participatory culture that have been so important for staffers in the Obama administration to maintain. After all, the site was founded on the principle explained in Mark Granovetter's "The Strength of Weak Ties," which argues that people generally find jobs through acquaintances rather than through friends, so it isn't structurally well-designed to foster deep political loyalties.

Now in "CEA Chair Romer’s Chat on Health Insurance Reform and Small Business," it appears that the Obama administration is interested in LinkedIn after all. The Council of Economic Advisors circulated a report about the possible impact of health insurance reform on small business and then over 1,500 users of LinkedIn submitted questions about the various medical coverage plans in play. There are two things that are particularly noteworthy about the blog posting: 1) the administration has still not learned to link primary sources to its content, since the report itself isn't hyperlinked, and 2) the CEA is using tag clouds to show the concerns expressed by the user-generated content on LinkedIn.

For another interesting example of how the White House is using information graphics, check out their analysis of their web traffic statistics here.

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