When the Obama administration launched its version of Whitehouse.gov, it promised unprecedented openness. But the site's contact page restricted letters to 500 characters. Is that enough to argue complex ideas effectively? After being criticized for the limit, it was expanded. Even so, the Whitehouse.gov feedback form is not really 'open' at all. The Obamagram responds to this uncertainty about how democracy should be formatted in an age of networking and digital media. An 'open letter' is a letter, often critical, addressed to a person or group but intended for publication. The Obamagram puts a new twist on the open letter by making it anonymous and giving it a rigid form. The orginal, round, arbitrary number 500 is restored as an exact 500 character requirement. Read more.

Compose your Obamagram

500 letters remain

Tips to Compact a Message

  • Avoid old-fashioned formalities

    Dear Mr. President,

    Sincerely, Your Name Here

  • Choose shorter idioms

    Whoever said "X" didn't know anything about Y
    Z's ignorant

  • Abbreviate

    government and Internal Revenue Service
    gov't & IRS

  • Avoid nuance

    Although I appreciate your desire to get new legislation passed, I really feel that Bush and Cheney should be prosecuted for their crimes
    W&Dick r war criminals

  • Write without spaces like medieval monk

    What were you thinking appointing Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary?

Tips to Confine a Thought

  • Watch lots of TV
  • Read only when necessary
  • Avoid "serious" matters
  • Never ask questions
  • Have faith in authority figures

May 10, 2009

Dr Mohamd. Aref Jalali, the head of an internation
ally funded burns hospital, said villagers taken t
o hospital after the US bombing had "highly unusua
l burns" on their hands and feet that he had not s
een before. "We cannot be 100% sure what type of c
hemical it was and we do not have the equipment he
re to find out. One of the women who came here tol
d us that 22 members of her family were totally bu
rned. She said a bomb distributed white power that
caught fire and then set people's clothes afire."

Apr 8, 2016

Confronted with news of the Panama Papers, Mr. Pre
sident, you spoke about how laws are failing to re
gulate the use of shell corporations to evade taxe
s. Yet it was you who pushed through the Panama Tr
ade Promotion Agreement, which like "free trade" a
greements before it, is laced with provisions ghos
t written by lobbyists. Instead of outlawing unacc
ountable shell corporations, your trade agreement
made it almost impossible to prosecute tax cheats.
It was you that made the law that is failing us!!

Oct 4, 2015

One Day After Warning Russia of Civilian Casualtie
s, the U.S. Bombs a Hospital in Afghanistan. This
comes only days after you condemned the way the Un
ited States ignores gun control & allows mass shoo
tings every few months. You may hold a Nobel Prize
, sir, but you are a hypocrite. It is under your l
eadership that civilians are slaughtered by drone
and by high tech weaponry. You crow about ending w
ars & yet you continue to bomb in both Afghanistan
and in Iraq. Your actions speak louder than words

Jan 21, 2014

Mr Obama would have Americans believe that he want
s to reform the covert spying programs uncovered b
y Edward Snowden, calling press conferences to mak
e a show of supposed reform. But just as Total Inf
ormation Awareness morphed into secret NSA program
s, the truth is that the administration is rearran
ging the deck chairs while maintaining the status
quo. As NSA chief Clapper has said, the national '
discussion' prompted by Snowden's revelations need
ed to happen. So how can he remain a public enemy?