If you are one of the millions of fellow BlackBerry addicts—and that definitely includes yours truly—you will be happy to learn that our new president-elect is also hopelessly tethered to his handheld. The New York Times reports the president-elect "is dreading but expecting to hear he must surrender" the device on January 20th.
But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.
For all the perquisites and power afforded the president, the chief executive of the United States is essentially deprived by law and by culture of some of the very tools that other chief executives depend on to survive and to thrive. Mr. Obama, however, seems intent on pulling the office at least partly into the 21st century on that score; aides said he hopes to have a laptop computer on his desk in the Oval Office, making him the first American president to do so.
Mr. Obama’s memorandums and briefing books were seldom printed out and delivered to his house or hotel room, aides said. They were simply sent to his BlackBerry for his review. If a document was too long, he would read and respond from his laptop computer, often putting his editing changes in red type.
Obama messages to friends and advisers and friends are described as "generally crisp, properly spelled and free of symbols or emoticons." What would you expect from a college professor and bestselling author. But it's too bad the prez won't be able to upgrade to the fierce new BlackBerry bold.
After an innovative primary and general election campaign which leveraged virtual social networks such as MySpace, Blackplanet, Facebook and YouTube, over the weekend the Obama transition also made another cyber first: The weekly Democratic radio address was videotaped and uploaded to YouTube. As of Monday morning the three-minute video has 710,000 views.