06/09/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Soooo 15 Months Ago: Can Team Obama Close Engagement Gap By Green-Lighting Social Media?

When President Obama swept into office, one of his promises was to make government more transparent and responsive to its citizens. This week, the White House released a memo declaring that most social media falls outside the constraints of the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act, meaning that public officials can engage more actively with social media without having to collect and archive all those wall posts, tweets, and blog entries. Is this a big deal? For today's Wilshire & Washington, we have Nancy Scola, associate editor of Personal Democracy Forum and PdF's techPresident, who wrote about the impact of this memo earlier this week.

Now that the White House has cleared the way for members to use social media, will we hear more directly from the major players, like Kathleen Sebelius on health care or George Mitchell on the Israel-Palestine conflict? How will the White House deal with the etiquette of Twitter: who will they follow, and how much will they respond to @replies? How personal and playful can agencies get online (a-la Robert Gibbs responding to Joe Biden's profane comment at HCR signing) and is this appropriate behavior for the White House? Do people care if tweeting is presidential?

Forcing the government to get more involved in social media may finally get these agencies to update their ancient websites, generally the first point of contact the public has with them at this point. But with this mandate, will the administration provide the money and staff to become engaged and do this important work?

We also talk the big news of the day: the retirement of Congressman Bart Stupak. He voted with the Democrats for health care reform, and that vote probably forced his hand, with the tea partiers targeting him in 2010. Will health care votes really be the big issue for voters in the next election? Won't the economy, immigration, and energy independence still be much more important to people? Or will we be stuck arguing about death panels and baby killers?

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Wilshire & Washington, the weekly Blog Talk Radio program that explores the intersection of politics, entertainment, and new media, features co-hosts Ted Johnson, Managing Editor of Variety; conservative blogger Teresa Valdez Klein (, and liberal blogger Maegan Carberry ( The show airs every Friday at 7:00am PST on