White House and House GOP turns to the Web to discuss jobs

It’s a tale of two parties, two social networks, live events and high stakes: creating jobs in an American economy still struggling to come out of recession. Would the American Jobs Act, introduced by President Obama earlier this month, make a difference? Can the White House or Congress do anything to create jobs, aside from directly hiring more government workers for infrastructure projects or similar initiatives? The American people will have the opportunity to hear from both sides of the aisle today and judge themselves, starting at 2 PM EST when the president will participate in a town hall hosted at LinkedIn in California.

UPDATE: Archived video from President Obama’s LinkedIn townhall is embedded below:

Notably, there will still be a live chat on Facebook at a LinkedIn townhall, along with a public “backchannel” at the #meetopportunity hashtag on Twitter.

This is the second time that the White House experiments with LinkedIn for questions, following a forum earlier this year with tech CEOs and federal CTO Aneesh Chopra. The questions are pulled from a “putting America back to work forum on LinkedIn.com. As I’ve observed before, the platform isn’t ideal for ideation and moderation of questions but LinkedIn is unquestionably targeted towards employment.

Personally, I’d like to see CEO Jeff Weiner crunch the big data the social network has collected about job openings and the skills and degrees that high school and college grads currently have. Programs and policies oriented towards matching the two would be an interesting direction.

UPDATE: Here are the questions that were asked:

UPDATE: Below is a “storified” tweetstream from the event:

[<a href=”http://storify.com/deborapetersen/obama-at-linkedin” target=”blank”>View the story “Obama and Linkedin” on Storify]</a>

House GOP Leaders discuss technology, transparency and jobs

At 6 PM EST, the leaders of the Republican caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives will also host an online townhall, though they’ll be doing it on Facebook Live. The event will feature House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will moderate.

Prior to today’s event, the House GOP leaders participated in a discussion about the role social media and technology now plays in government with Politico’s senior White House correspondent, Mike Allen. Video is below:

In the interview, the House GOP’s “Young Guns” spoke at length about the role that new social and mobile technology plays in the work of Congress and government, touching upon many subjects that will be of interest to the open government community.

Such interest is hardly new — the new GOP majority came into the House with promises to embrace innovation and transparency— but given the importance of open government, it’s a useful reminder that open government is a bipartisan issue.

If you have thoughts or comments on either of the town halls or the discussion above, please share them in the comments.

UPDATE: The archived video of this congressional “Facehall” is embedded below:

UPDATE: A Storify of my own tweets during the event is embedded below:

[<a href=”http://storify.com/digiphile/house-gop-leaders-join-sheryl-sandberg-for-faceboo” target=”blank”>View the story “House GOP leaders join Sheryl Sandberg for Facebook townhall” on Storify]</a>

Following Twitter and Facebook, White House experiments with LinkedIn for questions

Over the course of the last year, the White House has experimented with each of the leading social media platforms to solicit questions and host conversations around events. This week in Silicon Valley, the nation could watch online to see if a LinkedIn forum could generate useful results. The White House Council on Jobs and Effectiveness hosted a session on job creation that featured questions submitted from LinkedIn. Archived video from the forum is embedded below, with an updated discussion at the end of the post.


Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra wrote more about this Palo Alto jobs session at the White House blog:

I’ll be joining Jobs Council Members Steve Case, John Doerr, Sheryl Sandberg, as well as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on a panel moderated by the Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine Chris Anderson. The panel will focus on issues that impact entrepreneurs and high growth businesses, as well the importance of innovation, entrepreneurship and high growth companies to our economy. During the Session, Council members will respond to questions and comments from people across the country submitted via LinkedIn and Facebook.

Add your voice to the dialogue by sending us your questions and comments:

  • Right now, you can post your questions and comments on the White House LinkedIn group. Here’s what we’re looking for:
    • What questions do you have for Steve Case, John Doerr, Reed Hastings and Sheryl Sandberg about accelerating growth and job creation for innovative companies?
    • What policy recommendations would you want them to consider for their report to the President?
    • What are some of the obstacles you’re facing with regard to your workforce and finding talent?
    • What have you found to be successful practices in hiring and managing your workforce
  • Watch live on Tuesday, August 2nd at 1:00 p.m. ET/ 10:00 a.m PT on www.whitehouse.gov/live

More platforms, more questions?

The event comes with some context. In January, AskObama was on YouTube. In April, President Obama talked with Mark Zuckerbeg in what one could call the first “Facehall.” In July, Jack Dorsey moderated the first Twitter @Townhall.

Given that LinkedIn is focused on professional social networking, it’s not unreasonable to look there for questions on job creation. Whether tapping into that network works any better for soliciting questions or moderating them then ideation tools like Google Moderator, IdeaScale or UserVoice is unclear, given that the forums are not expressly designed for that purpose.

New social media platforms have emerged over the past year, of course. As the White House continues to experiment with social media, perhaps we’ll find out if Quora does politics at the White House — Congressional leaders like Paul Ryan are already there — or if the communications team tries a Google Plus Hangout, as Newt Gingrich tried earlier this summer. Given the interest that White House staff expressed in the latter platform during the White House tweetup at the recent (real life) presidential town hall at the University of Maryland, keep your eyes open.

UPDATE: Chris Anderson did a creditable job pulling from the questions on LinkedIn. After listening to them posed at the forum, however, it’s not at all clear to me that using a LinkedIn group was the ideal way to enable a distributed audience to submit questions. There are many platforms that have been built specifically for ideation that might make more sense to apply. Still, as a first experiment, this produced a series of questions for the moderator to pose that might not otherwise have been posed.

The WhiteHouse blog post on the forum of tech leaders included a statement from Chopra about three clarifications to existing immigration policies that can enable entrepreneurs to start companies here:

“First, we’re clarifying what it means to declare entrepreneurship in the national interest. Second, in an H1B visa, typically temporary in nature, the question is: Can you come in as an immigrant founder? If there’s a way to demonstrate that there’s a separation between your role as founder and that role as employee, you have the ability to pursue that existing avenue. Third, we have a category that exists called the EB5 visa for immigrant investors. If you’re willing to invest 1 million dollars in the United States and create 10 new jobs you have the authority to come in under this condition. But it’s a complicated process and we only use half the alloted slots. So we’re streamlining the process and making this more attractive for folks who want to create jobs in industries for the future”