Thursday, February 5, 2009

7 Online Things To Do To Help Obama Restore America

The article below provides 7 things you can do online to work on the individual level for some of the changes Obama is talking about.  It seems that the person who wrote this article is driven by some similar ideas and motivations as Obama IS America!, so please check out what they have to say!  We are also including the first 25 comments the article received, in case you are interested. 

*Click here* to link to the site this article is from.

*Click here* to link to, which has some good links to informational sources.

*Click here* to link to where you can keep up with what Obama is doing

*Click here* to link to the White House blog for news feeds from the White House.

7 Online Things To Do To Help Obama Restore America

Written by Alex Iskold / January 19, 2009 6:50 PM / 73 Comments

On Tuesday, January 20th, 2009, America and the whole world will gather to watch Barack Obama be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America. Many have called Mr. Obama the Internet President because of the unprecedented way his campaign used the medium to raise funds, raise awareness, and ultimately outmaneuver John McCain. But what can we do now to help turn this country around? Read on for 7 things every one of us can do on the Internet to help Obama restore America.

As Obama rolls into a very tough job to restore America, it is very clear that the Internet is going to be the #1 channel for read/write communication with the people. not only features an elegant design, but has useful content that connects you to the President-Elect and solicits your opinion and ideas. And the seemingly small things like the iPhone application or support ofOpenID and Creative Commons show that people on Obama's team are intimately familiar with the latest technologies and trends on the web.

If Obama and his team are going to use the Internet to help change America, so should we. The Internet is the most powerful information technology ever invented, and it has already changed the way we elect the President of the United States. Next, it just may help us restore America to its true self. How? One person at a time, starting with you and then passing it along. Here are 7 things you can do on the Internet to help President Obama turn this great country around.

1. Read About and Know the Issues

The least you can do is be aware. In this day and age, ignorance cannot be excused. All the information is out there, and whether you are Democrat or Republican or independent, the least you can do is find it. Maybe you prefer the Huffington Post or the New York Times or Fox News orCNN or independent local media; whatever your channel, spend at least 1 hour a week learning what is going on in America and around the world.

2. Join the Conversation

Obama is not a one-way president. If he was, he would never have assembled such a diverse, opinionated cabinet. Mr. Obama knows that our strength is in our diversity, and he wants to hear from you. We've been living in the age of the read/write web for the past 5+ years, and we have recently seen a decline in user participation. The time is now to re-engage, particularly around the conversation on how to turn this country around. You can directly help shape the future of America, one comment at a time. Find the blogs and online newspapers that you like and comment on the issues that matter.

3. Spread the News

The social explosion on the web created a wonderful way to disseminate news. Before, news was broadcast through centralized hubs; now, through TwitterFacebook and other social networks, the news is spread by individuals. The implication is that your tweet matters. When you tweet news, it does not matter if it reaches thousands or dozens of people. What matters is that it reaches the people who want to hear the news from you. By spreading the news, you are leveraging our social fabric, helping the right information travel through the right channels.

4. Learn American History

To change the future, it is important to know the past. Even if you are well versed in American history, there is always more to learn. Learning history is both educational and patriotic. It is the subject that all of us should turn to in tough times. A good starting point is the Wikipedia page onAmerican history, packed with links to historical figures and events. features a whole subdomain dedicated to American history. You can find articles on subjects ranging from the Civil War to presidential elections to biographies. For more in-depth learning, head over to Kindle books on Amazon. Over four thousand books on American history come up.

5. Get Your Finances in Order

Let's face it, the latest financial crisis is partially our fault. Sure, Wall Street execs were greedy and went too far, but so did we. Many people were not disciplined and lived beyond their means. If you haven't yet, start using financial software such as Mint and Wesabe, and get your finances under control. Getting organized is the most important step to getting your finances in order. And like news dissemination, fixing the financial crisis is also done one person at a time.

6. Learn about Green Tech

The issues of global warming and green technologies are going to be at the forefront of Obama's presidency. Yes, the current economic crisis and the needless war in Iraq are the issues of the day, but global warming and green tech are the issues for decades to come. The first step you need to take in 2009 is to educate yourself. What is this all about? What is my energy consumption? What are "green homes"? Which products are green? What is the state of the solar energy industry? The web is full of green tech information; you just need to pick a source to start learning. And for a deeper look at the profound issues facing us, read Thomas Friedmans' Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

7. Engage Locally

There is one place where Obama needs your help more than anywhere else: your community. Federal government can't reach out to each corner of America, and frankly, that is not its job. This is why you can really make a difference by engaging in local politics, buying regional produce, taking your kids to a local history museum. Every township is online these days. You can connect through the Internet and engage in local issues. From spring to fall, you can shop at yourlocal farmers' market, helping make things a little greener. Stepping up and doing just a little locally really goes a long way.


We are living in troubled yet exciting times. Electing Barack Obama was only a first step to turning America around. Now the tough work, the heavy lifting, begins. Mr. Obama is ready, but he needs your help. Take the time to think about things you can do on the Internet to help The Change. It's patriotic, it is right, and it is a lot of fun. Ready? Let's do this together!

See also: ReadWriteWeb Guide to Celebrating Inauguration Day


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  1. This is such a fantastic post! Thank you for condensing some hugely amazing ideas into a small digestible meal.

    It is not only our right but our DUTY to be informed, involved, and engaged in the issues and history that is happening around us. Policies are being made, precedents set, and new tracks laid every day... With all of the options available to us digitally these days, we absolutely have no excuse to not be up at the front of the line helping determine which direction we all head next.

    Posted by: Diane Fowler | January 19, 2009 6:24 PM

  2. Agree with Diane, what a powerful post. I feel particularly strongly about:

    1. Read About and Know the Issues

    You list some media such as Huffington Post, CNN, Fox, NYT or Independent local media as sources to help in understanding what is going on around the world.

    What about the smart aggregator sites out there that make available: a) The top news stories you should know about e.g. today, this week, this month. If you do have only an hour a week you are going to want to get straight to the point.

    I understand "top" will differ from person to person, but in this context I mean based on a coverage metrics. E.g. As measured by PEJ:

    b) The best written articles coverage on these topics (as voted by a large group of worldwide readers/judges). When people are educating themselves on new concepts e.g. economics, it is important that articles are clear and accessible from a language perspective, free from too much jargon and acronyms.

    I am interested in people's thoughts about sites that are leading in a) and b) above. That is, the sites that would be the first place you hit (and most efficient use of your time) when you have ten minutes to see what is going on in the world.

    Posted by: Lucindigo | January 19, 2009 7:28 PM

  3. This post is a breath of fresh air. Tomorrow at precisely NOON the whole world will be sighing and the air will be cleaner.

    You have engaged your thoughts into an accumulative order and have hit the nail on the head. Your suggestions are worded with just the amount of motivation that will appeal to many readers.

    What can we all do, is the point I was making when we were waiting to figure out who would win this latest election. We all must do our part.

    Glad to read your seven points and I hope others will follow suit. Well done.

    Sleeping Kitten - Dancing Dog!

    Posted by: Theresa111 | January 19, 2009 7:46 PM

  4. Truly an outstanding post, Alex. I couldn't agree with you more on the points, and I hope the message is spread wide and deep. And soon. I plan to do my part.

    And don't get me started on how we teach history in the classroom....

    Posted by: James D Robinson 4.0 | January 19, 2009 7:56 PM

  5. Suddenly you're patriotic because 'your guy' got elected? Typical liberal, placing the person above the country.

    I've always judged a true fan of a sports team by how well they attend when things are bad. These things you describe weren't un-doable for the past eight years, you just chose to sit in a corner and pout, throw darts, and call for impeachment and trials. Petulant and sour, you pretended you were impotent because 'your guy' wasn't in power.

    I'm as right as you'll find, and I can tell you that at 11am CST on the 20th Mr. Obama will become MY president. I will respect him, and honor the office. My country, my president.

    However, I will use all of the tools you describe above to oppose his socialist, green, and liberal ideas. I'll be working hard against these policies, rather than preen and pout.

    He's my president, and I will respectfully fight against him.

    All you Bush-derangement-syndrome liberals, take a lesson. Watch as the conservatives stop this guy cold, and still act in a dignified and respectful manner, all the while waving the flag as strongly and proudly as we did when it was 'our guy' in the White House.

    It's all of ours country. We'll all be fighting for it.

    Good luck. Play ball!

    Posted by: Yeah, right. | January 19, 2009 8:35 PM

  6. It is so fascinating to watch how Web 2.0 is changing America.

    Compare this century to last ...

    in the 'History of Public Relations' section of the above collection.

    Look how helpless and manipulative the societies were back then when all the had to go on was government sponsored PR

    Posted by: AD Public Relations Author Profile Page | January 19, 2009 9:53 PM

  7. Great post on how we can intensify our participation. Count me in!!!

    Posted by: Pareja7 | January 19, 2009 10:01 PM

  8. Hi, interesting post...

    Really, only "one hour a week" studying the issues & reading the news? That's troubling.

    I spend probably 10 hours minimum (usually more) per week reading a mix of hard news and editorial sites. Not including the Onion.

    Even 10/hrs week isn't enough for me to keep up with the issues.

    There are Local/city issues. State issues. National issues. International issues.

    So divide up that one hour. You are saying 15 minutes on each of those categories per week? How informed could a person be?

    Then those uninformed people are being encouraged to "3. Spread the News".

    Nevertheless, I do agree with you that hordes of dumb people can make a difference.

    Posted by: Instant Hope for the Hopeless | January 19, 2009 11:07 PM

  9. Wow... powerful! Thank you very much for putting things into perspective.

    Posted by: Jeff | January 20, 2009 1:09 AM

  10. "Restore America to its true self" and "your tweet matters"? Come on guy. I can understand getting all psyched up on inauguration day, but you're hyperventilating. has been suppressing and censoring dissenting viewpoints since day one.

    Posted by: Anonymous | January 20, 2009 6:26 AM

  11. It is our DUTY to be informed as Americans. We need to be informed from domestic to international issues. From a great blog post, Brian Martin says it best: " If, Leadership = Influence.. And Barack Obama today will become the Leader of the worlds largest economy; Then Barack Obama is THE greatest influencer of our time."

    What is a better way to show respect for the Leader of our country, by being an informed influencer.

    Posted by: Ann | January 20, 2009 7:04 AM

  12. If this blog keeps up these types of posts you are going to watch your reader base decline like the NY Times.

    These are things we should have been doing all along. I agree with "Yeah, right".

    Watch how the other side moves along with class and respect. Notice how there are no protests and just celebration. Because those who did not vote for this president know how to respect the office of the president.

    Posted by: Anonymous | January 20, 2009 7:10 AM

  13. #5 above has to be my favorite person on hear.

    Obama will be considered a good president not, because he will do what is right, but because he will what is popular. And what is popular is often wrong. I am sorry, Obama does not have a backbone. I hope I am wrong. I hope he does well, we need it right now.

    I will support when he is right, and I will stand against him when he is wrong. That is what we should be focusing on not pledging allegiance to Obama.

    Posted by: Tim | January 20, 2009 7:11 AM

  14. Right up to the recommendation to read Thomas Friedman, this was a great blog post. With that exception, I think you have some great ideas here.

    Posted by: john b | January 20, 2009 7:36 AM

  15. Im not an American. So I can't applaud the patriotic tone. But the minus that the post is great and has a universal appeal.

    It is a duty of educated ones to have a concern for the other.

    Posted by: Aditya | January 20, 2009 7:47 AM

  16. I'm in partial agreement with #5 and #13.

    We need to remember to respect Obama as he is holding the Office of President, however we need to still stand firmly on our beliefs, each of us, and respectfully support and oppose when necessary.

    God Bless America.

    Posted by: Kenneth | January 20, 2009 8:27 AM

  17. you are so full of crap, this is the end of the U.S.

    Posted by: jjtripp | January 20, 2009 8:45 AM

  18. Addicted to Barack Obama? Join the others @

    Posted by: Alexander Kintis | January 20, 2009 9:26 AM

  19. Alex, thanks so much for this post. One of the remarkable things about Obama is his ability to inspire a cynical and apathetic populace to care. And yes, I include myself in that category as well. Thanks for giving my newfound hope and optimism a direction--a book to read, a next step to take.

    Adding purchasing Hot, Flat and Crowded and choosing a new charity to donate time to to my Getting Things Done task list on OmniFocus.

    Posted by: Heidi Miller Posted on FriendFeed   | January 20, 2009 9:57 AM


    This is supposed to be 7 online things you can do to help Obama Restore America?

    I think ReadWriteWeb does a bad job of posting content, they seem sloppy & quickly thrown together.

    C'mon... use to organize your finances? Use facebook? Wow...

    Posted by: Sean | January 20, 2009 10:20 AM

  21. It's a new day and I am particularly excited to see the positive changes away form apathy. What I think you are saying here is that engaging in the conversation, being present and contributing, as well as cleaning your own house is the vital point.

    I agree whole heartedly.

    One thing that I would like to see more than ever is an increased effort being put towards digital security advancements that protect everyone.

    Posted by: Thomas Whitney | January 20, 2009 11:37 AM

  22. If Obama looks only at USA and thinks that USA is ALL America, he will not restore nothing.

    I think he needs:

    8. Understand the world historical context and think of how to turn its catastrophic development.


    Posted by: Suzana | January 20, 2009 11:41 AM

  23. Couldn't agree more about people staying informed - especially about issues around the globe.

    Since we are more and more interconnected with those around the world these days, what affects our fellow humans around the world can and will likely affect us too.

    Those in the US have overall been way too ethnocentric over the past 8 years. We need to expand our world view or we risk becoming irrelevant.

    Posted by: JimK | January 20, 2009 12:05 PM

  24. "4. Learn American History"

    Might I make some suggestions?

    • A People's History of American Empire (American Empire Project)
    • A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present (P.S.)
    • Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Revised and Updated Edition
    • We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now
    • 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask
    • A Foreign Policy of Freedom
    • The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
    • Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution--and What It Means for Americans Today

    Posted by: Joe | January 20, 2009 12:14 PM


    Posted by: Obama IS America! | January 20, 2009 12:31 PM

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