Barack Obama’s tweet on November 7, 2012 after his re-election as US president. The post was his most re-tweeted — 472,000 shares in three hours — according to Twitter’s politics account @gov. GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to the interview on the Social Paradigm Shifters Podcast here.

After only eight months, The White House Office of Digital, carefully built under the Obama Administration, appears to be in ruin. What was a strategic, best-in-class social program has been replaced by the mistake-prone Tweeter-in-Chief and propaganda-machine that now calls itself The White House Facebook page.

For the inaugural Social Paradigm Shifters podcast episode, I interviewed the brilliant team from the Office of Digital Strategy under the Obama White House to learn how social was done right (when it was being done right), at the top level of government in America.

I’d like to share some of the biggest lessons of the two-hour lively and candid conversation (whittled down to a little over an hour for the podcast) with three members of the Office of Digital Strategy: Alex Wall, former Director of Online Engagement; Laura Miller, who stepped into the Director of Engagement role (after Alex left for a Director of Digital role with Hillary for America) from her role as Deputy Director of Online Engagement and Director of Digital Strategy at the U.S. Department of Labor before that; and Tanya Somanader, the Director of Digital Rapid Response, previously the New Media Director for the Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, senior writer for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Obama for America.

Quite the powerhouse team, right?

I have to admit, when I spoke to Alex, Laura and Tanya, I expected to get some great insights into how they created a best-in-class social-digital team (and I did!) but I really didn’t expect to feel so much nostalgia. I mean, a constant state of nostalgia … Oddly it seems like it was just yesterday that I was cheering them on from afar for all the cool and innovative work they were doing and then, at the same time, it feels like another lifetime ago. So much has happened in such a short time… but I digress…

If you look at it in a purely historical context, it is fascinating to hear about the “first social-media president” and just how much history was made during his eight years in office. During that time, the social-digital efforts went from a two-person tacked-on-the-side afterthought to a full-fledged, innovative content machine and think about this — the program was just starting to take its rightful place as an increasingly more powerful, respected and thoughtful communication arm of the government. The most riveting moment for me was when the team started talk about getting more traction internally and the moment that they were able to make real impact (vs just the creative and cool ideas), participating in an integrated strategy from the ground up. I was listening intently as they described the internal transformation happening and Tanya said matter-of-factly, "and that was the Iran deal".  I about fell out of my chair, I don’t know, I guess I thought she was going to talk about South by South Lawn or the White House ‘Big Block of Cheese Day’, something like that — not shaping public opinion on some of the trickiest international policy possible.

As any of my readers can see, this falls so perfectly into one of my main passions: the ‘social paradigm shift’, the complete and total transformation of life and business in the 21st century. I wanted to know how a legacy organization, the 800 pound gorilla of the slow-moving legacy government made such a quick and impressive shift. This administration was the first presidency to activate on Twitter (growing to over 100 staff accounts), they launched Facebook live, dove into Snapchat and created a beautifully, moving Instagram account. And this new, real-time, always-on, publicly-facing communications dynamic is an enormous shift for businesses — but wow, there were a lot of extraordinarily challenging experiences for this new team that I hadn’t ever really thought about before we talked (if you can imagine it for a moment, the Boston Bombings happened on Alex and Tanya’s first day at work).

In their voices, you can hear the gravity of the decisions and weight they put into each and every communication on behalf of the leaders of our government. They explain how carefully they thought about every tweet and blog post and even the bright, cheerful design of the Facebook avatar.

“>

Barack Obama’s tweet on November 7, 2012 after his re-election as US president. The post was his most re-tweeted — 472,000 shares in three hours — according to Twitter’s politics account @gov. GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to the interview on the Social Paradigm Shifters Podcast here.

After only eight months, The White House Office of Digital, carefully built under the Obama Administration, appears to be in ruin. What was a strategic, best-in-class social program has been replaced by the mistake-prone Tweeter-in-Chief and propaganda-machine that now calls itself The White House Facebook page.

For the inaugural Social Paradigm Shifters podcast episode, I interviewed the brilliant team from the Office of Digital Strategy under the Obama White House to learn how social was done right (when it was being done right), at the top level of government in America.

I’d like to share some of the biggest lessons of the two-hour lively and candid conversation (whittled down to a little over an hour for the podcast) with three members of the Office of Digital Strategy: Alex Wall, former Director of Online Engagement; Laura Miller, who stepped into the Director of Engagement role (after Alex left for a Director of Digital role with Hillary for America) from her role as Deputy Director of Online Engagement and Director of Digital Strategy at the U.S. Department of Labor before that; and Tanya Somanader, the Director of Digital Rapid Response, previously the New Media Director for the Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, senior writer for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Obama for America.

Quite the powerhouse team, right?

I have to admit, when I spoke to Alex, Laura and Tanya, I expected to get some great insights into how they created a best-in-class social-digital team (and I did!) but I really didn’t expect to feel so much nostalgia. I mean, a constant state of nostalgia … Oddly it seems like it was just yesterday that I was cheering them on from afar for all the cool and innovative work they were doing and then, at the same time, it feels like another lifetime ago. So much has happened in such a short time… but I digress…

If you look at it in a purely historical context, it is fascinating to hear about the “first social-media president” and just how much history was made during his eight years in office. During that time, the social-digital efforts went from a two-person tacked-on-the-side afterthought to a full-fledged, innovative content machine and think about this — the program was just starting to take its rightful place as an increasingly more powerful, respected and thoughtful communication arm of the government. The most riveting moment for me was when the team started talk about getting more traction internally and the moment that they were able to make real impact (vs just the creative and cool ideas), participating in an integrated strategy from the ground up. I was listening intently as they described the internal transformation happening and Tanya said matter-of-factly, “and that was the Iran deal”.  I about fell out of my chair, I don’t know, I guess I thought she was going to talk about South by South Lawn or the White House ‘Big Block of Cheese Day’, something like that — not shaping public opinion on some of the trickiest international policy possible.

As any of my readers can see, this falls so perfectly into one of my main passions: the ‘social paradigm shift’, the complete and total transformation of life and business in the 21st century. I wanted to know how a legacy organization, the 800 pound gorilla of the slow-moving legacy government made such a quick and impressive shift. This administration was the first presidency to activate on Twitter (growing to over 100 staff accounts), they launched Facebook live, dove into Snapchat and created a beautifully, moving Instagram account. And this new, real-time, always-on, publicly-facing communications dynamic is an enormous shift for businesses — but wow, there were a lot of extraordinarily challenging experiences for this new team that I hadn’t ever really thought about before we talked (if you can imagine it for a moment, the Boston Bombings happened on Alex and Tanya’s first day at work).

In their voices, you can hear the gravity of the decisions and weight they put into each and every communication on behalf of the leaders of our government. They explain how carefully they thought about every tweet and blog post and even the bright, cheerful design of the Facebook avatar.

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