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Obama names Twitter, Google alum first Chief Digital Officer

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President Barack Obama has been awfully busy shoring up his administration's tech credentials: Former Google exec Megan Smith is the White House's current Chief Technology Officer, while former Facebook engineer David Recordon was recently named its first Director of IT. Now the president (and his voluminous crew of advisors) has plucked another Silicon Valley stalwart -- Jason Goldman -- to serve as the executive branch's very first Chief Digital Officer.

Now the question is, well, what does a Chief Digital Officer do?

For starters, Goldman, a Google veteran and early product mastermind at Twitter and Blogger, will serve as the head of the administration's Office of Digital Strategy. Haven't heard of it before? We can't blame you - it used to be known as Obama's new media team. More importantly, Goldman said on Medium that the crux of his job "will be to help create more meaningful online engagement between government and American citizens."

"The platforms that have been the most successful are the ones that have created the best and most meaningful opportunities for participation," he added. "My job will be to use those online tools to create meaningful opportunities for American citizens to participate in our government."

That's no small feat as the Obama presidency basically enters the home stretch, but he notes that the way average people communicate with businesses, superstars and the goverment has already changed thanks to services like Twitter and events like Reddit AMAs. He's not kidding. Just to put things into perspective, 2004 was the first year bloggers were invited to the Democratic National Convention (Goldman himself attended as a representative of Blogger). Now, the President of the United States is responding to memes in viral videos and agreeing to live interviews with apparently popular YouTubers. The traditional walls that have kept America's seat of power separated from the rest of us have grown thinner, and have even fallen apart in some places. Now, it looks like Goldman and the rest of the Digital Strategy team are tasked with turning the rest of those walls into doors. We'll see how they do.

[Image credit: Flickr/Joi Ito]

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