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From the White House to the Social Network and Back
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Reports are out in a flurry: Robert Gibbs, the mild-mannered former Obama Administration press secretary, is possibly making a bid to a more influential office: a corner one located at Facebook.

Andrew Ross Sorkin of the paywalled New York Times writes:

Facebook is in talks to hire Robert Gibbs for a senior role in helping to manage the company’s communications, people briefed on the negotiations said...Facebook is seeking out Mr. Gibbs ahead of an initial public offering planned for early 2012, these people said.

It's ironic considering that the Internet was what President Obama used masterfully to become the leader of the free world. Now Gibbs could be going to a company that controls the free world from the Internet. (All due respect to Big Brother at Google, of course.)

However, if I was a conspiracy theorist, I would muster a guess that Zuckerberg is making a run for the White House once his IPO allows him to give a double bird to Bill Gates as the richest computer geek in the world. Have you seen the White House... power house crew he's hired lately? Since 2009, Facebook's D.C. team has brought on former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy Muris, who served under President George W. Bush; Catherine Martin, a deputy assistant for Mr. Bush; and former Obama White House staffer Marne Levine.

It seems to me this team smacks less of IPO and more of privacy rights. Think about it. This is a company that has become influential and controversial in terms of what people think the Internet has a right to store and know. Just last month, Congress unleashed its Privacy Caucus (generic sounding) to ask Facebook about the sharing of user information. And what do you think happened? The caucus floated away on a cloud as cherubs played harps because of the politico language used to impress both Rep. Ed Markey (D) of Massachusetts and Rep. Joe Barton (R) of Texas, co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Privacy Caucus. 

And who better to use that language than Gibbs? Speaking of Big Brother, I don't know if Gibbs will master his own dialect of thoughtspeak while counting his Benjamins at Facebook, but it does seem there is a new brother in town. And once this one goes public, who knows how influential Facebook will become. However, it does remind me of a quote from O'Brien in the movie, "1984" played by the great Richard Burton.

Power is tearing human minds apart and putting them back together in new shapes of your own choosing.

Text lingo. Status updates. Cyber bullying. And now, "Facebook Depression"?! Yeah, I would hire D.C. communications gurus too. It seems there are a lot of PR blocks to play with.


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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