He revolutionised the role of the Internet in electioneering. His campaign embraced Web 2.0 technologies. He’s promised to appoint a ‘chief technical officer’ for the USA and will broadcast his weekly Address to the Nation via YouTube.
But from the date of his inauguration on January 20th 2009 if not beforehand President-elect Barrack Obama will have to part with his beloved BlackBerry smartphone and Apple laptop.
Concerns over email security and the need for all presidential correspondence to be entered into an official record and eventually be open to public perusal are expected to trump Obama’s own enthusiasm for technology.
It’s a tough break for the Geek-in-Chief who according to The Telegraph’s list of ‘50 things you might not know about Barack Obama‘ admits his ‘worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry’. (We do think it’s cool that Obama plays Scrabble and collects Spiderman comics).
Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod recalls that during the campaign â(Obama’s) BlackBerry was constantly crackling with e-mails.â Obama also relied on his BlackBerry to review memos and briefing books on the go.
While previous presidents have also faced a similar ban on having their own BlackBerry Obama is believed to have been keen to bring his laptop to the West Wing â something no President has ever done before. But this is also likely to be stymied by the same security issues.
Heavy-duty users of the device often tagged the CrackBerry for its addictive nature know how hard it can be to go without their BlackBerry for even a day. So they’ll sympathise with Obama who could face four or even eight years in this tech-free zone.
But then Obama has yet to make good on his promise to give up smoking. Maybe when he sneaks out of the Oval for a cigarette on the sly he might also borrow a BlackBerry for a quick fix.