All the President’s Pens

Technology’s impact on correspondence with the Commander in Chief

When you think about how you communicate with people now as opposed to the “dark ages” before the Internet, you’re probably struck with a mix of nostalgia and relief.

Our presidents probably feel the same way.

For President’s Day, we did some digging into the evolution of communications and how they’ve impacted the way government — in particular, the Oval Office, talks with the public.

From an honest assessment of Honest Abe’s facial hair to the epic original White House website, it’s been quite a journey.

No matter the medium or the method, people are always going to want to share their thoughts, ideas, opinions and insights with their leaders — all the way up to the president. As a local leader, learning from the innovation and adaptability of presidents like FDR and Barack Obama can help you build trust among community members.

So take heart, and take plenty of cues from the White House. Just maybe draw the line at accepting cosmetic advice from an 11-year-old stranger.

Sources: TIME, White House, American Radio Works, HISTORY, Washington Post, LA Times, White

Originally published on 2/16/15 at

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