San Francisco: The inauguration of US President Barack Obama was greeted by an instantaneous avalanche of chatter and commentary on the Internet.
But the web team of the new leader was not far behind. In fact, by many measures, it beat not only the bloggers but also the president himself.
At precisely 12:01 pm. local time, pictures of Obama and his family appeared on the home page of the president's website Whitehouse.gov alongside four features, under the headline "Change Has Come to America".The posting preceded by some six minutes the swearing-in of Obama on the steps of the Capitol. However, according to constitutional experts quoted by MSNBC, the changing of the guard officially took place at noon Washington time, with the swearing-in merely a formality.
At the same time, the first blog of the new presidency was posted by Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House, who pledged to make the new website "a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world".
Phillips said that Obama's new media efforts would revolve around three principles - communications that would be comprehensive and timely; transparency to provide all Americans with a window into the business of government; and participation which would include the publication of all non-emergency legislation for public comment for at least five days before the president signs it.
Two other blogs were also posted at the same time reviewing Obama's observance of Martin Luther King Day, the previous day and his activities on Tuesday prior to the inauguration.
Other sections were also updated to reflect the agenda of the new administration in 24 areas ranging from civil rights to foreign policy. Biographies of the major figures in the administration were also posted.