We all witnessed a transition of power on Tuesday as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, taking over for George W. Bush. Yet, while everyone knows at least general facts about those two men, how much do you know about Obama’s advisors, and the others who will be running our country alongside him? Probably not a lot. That’s where Who Runs Gov, a new site built by the Washington Post Company, comes in.
Powered by MindTouch’s Deki online publishing platform, the site is essentially an online community that relies on collaboration from its users to help build out the profiles of government officials. That may sound like Wikipedia, but Who Runs Gov also relies on a team of editors from the Washington Post Company and is laser-focused on just covering the people who matter in Washington right now. This allows the site to go in-depth on several key players who might seem minor to outsiders.
San Diego-based MindTouch hopes that sites like this start becoming more prevalent on the web. Collaborative publishing certainly has its benefits — namely that several people know more than any one person — but there is also potential for the spread of misinformation. While Wikipedia relies on its community to correct errors and filter out bad information, Who Runs Gov will rely on its editors using MindTouch’s publication tools.
MindTouch reported good revenue growth in late 2008, thanks to its marketing message that it can save sites that use its social enterprise platform, money. The Washington Post Company is just one of many that has taken it up on that offer. MindTouch released new multi-language software earlier in 2008.
Who Runs Gov launches in beta today with several hundred profiles of Washington’s new regime already in place. So far, so good; I see it already has an updated Caroline Kennedy profile to show that she has withdrawn her name from the running for the New York Senate seat vacated by newly-minted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.