White House Takes "Every ...


Government entities have always recognized the benefit of media-like qualities.

Heck, the U.S. military publishes “Stars and Stripes.”

One could argue the White House jumped on this bandwagon during the Hoover administration when it created the position of White House press secretary.

But the Obama administration takes the “every organization is media” mantra to the next level, which shouldn’t be a surprise since Team Obama’s secret weapon when campaigning for election was the digital agency Blue State.

The President’s State of the Union address earlier in the week, specifically how the information was packaged for maximum reach and engagement, can hold its own with any third-party media properties.

Toward this end, the President’s digital posse essentially took the concept of the infographic and transformed it into an interactive medium.

Between links to Q&As, Twitter dialog and Facebook, people can engage with the White House as well as read information.

And look at how they package the information for easy consumption.

No lengthy blocks of text.

The information comes in bite-size chunks with a veneer of levity.

For example, the infographic included the First Lady’s seating chart for her invited guests.

They could have simply listed each person with background.

But that’s not nearly as interesting as showing chairs where you mouse over and get a photo and the low-down on guests such as the following (you can access the interactive version here):

Business partners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis had a dream of opening an organic, homemade ice cream shop in Santa Cruz, California. With the help of a Recovery Act SBA loan of $250,000, Kendra and Zack were able to open the doors to The Penny Ice Creamery in August 2010. The SBA Recovery Act funding allowed them to not only open the shop, but also to employ eleven people, purchase American-made equipment, and to hire nearly twenty local businesses to design and renovate the space.

state of the union web site

OK, it’s a little over the top when they throw in “purchase American-made equipment.” Heaven forbid if Baker and Davis used ice cream scoopers made in Eastern Europe.

Still, the personal stories add a human touch.

I’ve discussed visual storytelling and infographics many times in this forum.

By embracing these concepts and others, the White House can take its story directly to the target audience, you.

Sidenote: Nancy Duarte wrote an insightful post that contrasted the President’s slides with the GOP’s slides (in response to the President’s speech).



  • Yin Mei

    Beautiful, I really enjoyed the chairs touch too. There’s even an Iphone App! The photos and avatars especially add to the visuals just as how the long screen capture in this post grabbed my attention.

  • Lou Hoffman

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who was intriguted with “the chairs.”

    The White House definitely recognizes the value of entertainment in its communications.


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