1. The White House
Just a few months ago, the new presidential administration was greeted with antiquated computers and technology that forbade access to social networks like Facebook or even outside email. Fast forward to today and there are now a variety of ways to connect and interact online with the White House.
The official White House site has been revamped and updated to include a blog to keep the world abreast of President Obama and crew. The site also contains a number of photo slideshows based largely on photos from the official Flickr photostream.
After Barack Obama’s landmark use of social networking during his presidential campaign it should come as no surprise that the White House is also friending people across the world. The president’s pad has more than 126,000 followers on Twitter and follows a number of government agencies, including FEMA and NASA.
The White House also has more than 205,000 fans on Facebook and the president himself has more than six million fans, more than anyone else on the site. The White House is also on MySpace, along with both President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden.
2. The Vatican
As highlighted in this month’s issue of mental_floss magazine, The Vatican — the centuries-old religious institution — is also down with new technology.
The official newspaper of The Vatican, L’Osservatore Romano, is available online in several languages as are many programs from Vatican Radio. The official radio station of Vatican City also has podcasts available for listening or to download.
Flickr photo of Pope Benedict XVI by Paul Resh
The Vatican’s official YouTube has almost 200 videos that range from morning prayers to papal visits. The Vatican even has its own iPhone app that contains prayers and scriptural readings and is available in six languages.
3. Major League Baseball
MLB has all the bases covered with its wide range of ways to follow games electronically. The most impressive offering is MLB.TV, a subscription service where baseball fans can watch live games online in high definition. The site streams 100 games a week to hundreds of thousands of subscribers and the quality is hard to match.
If you prefer your baseball on the go, MLB has a series of iPhone apps including MLB At Bat, where fans can find the latest scores, standings and schedules, and MLB World Series 2009, an interactive game that features all 30 MLB clubs.
The official MLB site contains various other ways to get your baseball fix, including a series of blogs, podcasts, video clips and photo galleries. There is also an official Facebook page where social networkers can step up to the plate.
4. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The FBI, America’s hub of criminal investigation with a reputation for secrecy, recently announced a slew of online efforts that will make the agency more open and approachable.
The Bureau’s official Twitter feed shares criminal alerts and press releases with its thousands of followers and similar content is shared on the official FBI Facebook page. The videos featured on the FBI’s YouTube channel give an insider’s view of such operations as bomb training and prostitution stings.
In an effort to spread news of and apprehend the fugitives on its famed Most Wanted List, the FBI also has several widgets available that anyone can embed on their blog, site or social network profile and apparently the new media approach is working. The widgets have directed more than 2.5 million people to the FBI website and the Most Wanted widget averages more than a thousand views a day, according to a press release.
The FBI even plans to take its Most Wanted list to Second Life where virtual visitors can keep tabs on real-life criminals.
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• Great online journalism from non-traditional journalists
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• Sports arenas: How to put a multimedia twist on traditional coverage