This is the email response I received today.
Thank you for taking the time to share your views.
Americans across the country are eager for
information about the state of the economy, national
security, and a host of other issues. President Obama is
committed to making his Administration the most open and
transparent in history, and the Internet will play a major
role in delivering on that promise.
We hope that you will join us at
www.WhiteHouse.gov to learn more about President
Obama’s views on a range of topics, as well as his efforts
to provide a window for all Americans into their
government. Your voice is shaping our country’s future,
and we encourage you to join us online, share your
thoughts, and build a community of connected citizens that
will help address the pressing issues of our time.
F. Michael Kelleher
Special Assistant to the President and
Director of Presidential Correspondence
I guess that means no.
When 8-year-old Wild Freeborn became a Girl Scout earlier this year, she had a simple goal: sell 12,000 boxes of the organization’s addictive cookies. She wanted to earn enough money to send her entire troop (all new scouts) to summer camp in Brevard, N.C. After going door to door in her neighborhood, visiting stores in downtown Asheville, N.C., and consulting her parents about her precocious business plan, she asked her tech-minded dad, Bryan Freeborn, “Can’t we use what you do at work?” referencing his job as the chief operating officer of TopFloorStudio, a Web design and development firm.
In late January, they posted a YouTube video, starring Freeborn in Girl Scout gear, touting her straightforward sales pitch. “Buy cookies! And they’re yummy!” Soon after, they set up an online order system that was limited to customers within their local area (so Freeborn could personally deliver them). While her online sales strategy took hold, she continued peddling cookies the traditional way—going door to door and working booths at the local grocery store. Within two weeks, more than 700 orders for Thin Mints, Caramel DeLites and Peanut Butter Patties reached the Freeborns solely through the online form.
Considering that the national Girl Scout Cookie Program bills itself as the largest program to teach entrepreneurship to young girls, this e-commerce strategy seems especially savvy. But some families in the community felt threatened by the Freeborn’s unconventional efforts, likely because various prizes (including camp vouchers, stuffed animals and apparel) are given out by local councils to girls who sell a certain amount of boxes. “If you have an individual girl that creates a Web presence, she can suck the opportunity from other girls,” says Matthew Markie, a parent who remains involved in Girl Scouts even though his three daughters are well into their 20s. Markie, and other disapproving parents, brought the Freeborn’s site to the attention of local Girl Scout officials who told the Freeborns to take down their YouTube video and reminded the family of the organization’s longstanding prohibition of online sales. According to the FAQ on the national organization’s Web site, “The safety of our girls is always our chief concern. Girl Scout Cookie activities are designed to be face-to-face learning experiences for the girls.”” —
Um … I may never buy another box of GS cookies.
For young Japanese, and especially for girls, cell phones—sophisticated, cheap, and, for the past decade, capable of connecting to the Internet—have filled the gap.
A government survey conducted last year concluded that eighty-two per cent of those between the ages of ten and twenty-nine use cell phones, and it is hard to overstate the utter absorption of the populace in the intimate portable worlds that these phones represent. A generation is growing up using their phones to shop, surf, play video games, and watch live TV, on Web sites specially designed for the mobile phone.
“It used to be you would get on the train with junior-high-school girls and it would be noisy as hell with all their chatting,” Yumiko Sugiura, a journalist who writes about Japanese youth culture, told me. “Now it’s very quiet—just the little tapping of thumbs.”
(With the new iPhone and the advent of short-text delivery services like Twitter, American cellular habits are becoming increasingly Japanese; there are at least two U.S. sites, Quillpill and Textnovel, both in the beta stage, that offer templates for writing and reading fiction on cell phones.)” —Letter from Japan: I ♥ Novels: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker