VIEW THE GALLERY:See past innovators of the week.
This week, tech enthusiasts were met with two big announcements: Amazon unveiled its Kindle Fire laptop, and Facebook changed its user interface again, introducing a timeline feature, among other changes. But, rather than pit Facebook and Amazon against each other, we decided to go with a less widely-reported pairing: Facebook and LinkedIn. (Full disclosure: The Washington Post Co.’s chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)
Why Facebook and LinkedIn, you ask? Here’s the quick answer: Government.
LinkedIn: On Monday, President Obama took a trip to Mountain View, Calif., for a town hall at the Computer History Museum. The president took questions from the audience on the economy. The event was sponsored by LinkedIn, which focuses on professional, rather than personal, relationships online. The Post’s David Nakamura reported on the event.
The town hall was part of the Obama administration’s campaign to promote the president’s jobs plan. But it also marked another step in the evolving relationship between government and growing social media companies. After all, this wasn’t the president’s first social media town hall. He has held a Twitter town hall at the White House in July and a Facebook town hall in April.
Facebook: Speaking of Facebook, the company announced a number of changes to its social media platform this week, some of which have drawn complaints from confused users. But the announcement that received less press attention, but is arguably just as significant, is that Facebook has formed a political action committee (PAC). The PAC gives Facebook employees an opportunity to exercise their collective ability to influence the coming elections. Facebook is not the first technology heavyweight to form a PAC, and it will likely not be the last. But the move highlights the important role these companies see government playing in their future.
So, when it comes to innovation in government relations, which company moved the needle this week: Facebook or LinkedIn?
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