The real challenge for Obama's communication and strategy teams will be in moving from a nimble campaign operation, which can make adjustments to online strategy with the speed of a start-up company, to the slow-moving federal bureaucracy.
The Obama team learned one hard lesson on its first day in the White House. They arrived at their offices to find they were working on 6-year-old versions of Microsoft software, few laptops and no social networking connections. That's one reason whitehouse.gov took several hours to post some of Obama's first-day executive orders, such as enhancing the Freedom of Information Act and freezing the salaries of White House employees who make more than $100,000.
"The people who came from the Obama campaign understand what to do," said Raven Brooks, executive director of Netroots Nation, which acts as hub for liberal online organizations. "But now they're working with a lot of senior staff and career politicians from Washington who may not be on the same page yet."
Still, the incoming administration's new way of doing things has already been felt. Last month, Obama transition team members asked federal agencies if their employees were allowed to use social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube, and if not, why not? Almost immediately after receiving the inquiry, the Housing and Urban Development Department dropped its prohibition.