Today marks the 20th birthday of the White House website.
According to the White House Historical Society, President Bill Clinton welcomed visitors to the first White House website which included welcome messages from the President and then-Vice President Al Gore, a biography of the First Family, government updates, and even a Guest Book.
“Twenty years ago today the first White House web site appeared, and several updated versions of the site followed, establishing the online presence of the ‘Gateway to Government,’” The White House Historical Association wrote. ”At that time, only about 10 percent of people in the United States had access to the Internet, but the number of visitors to the White House website more than tripled each year of the Clinton administration.”
The first icon of the homepage is a landing page for the Executive Branch, where it lists the White House offices and agencies, recent presidential initiatives, recent public addresses, and a biography that is accompanied by a photo of young Bill Clinton.
The second icon links to a description and biography of the First Family, which includes a photo of Bill Clinton playing the saxophone, golfing, posing with the family cat, Socks. The page even includes an audio clip of Socks the cat.
Hillary Clinton also has her own landing page complete with an audio welcome message that says, “Hello, I’m Hillary Rodham Clinton and I want to welcome you to my Internet homepage. Please be sure to sign the guestbook and let us know what you think about this service.”
Vice President Al Gore, who has repeatedly claimed he created the World Wide Web, also welcomes users to his “Internet homepage.”
“I hope you find the information useful and informative. Electronic communication like this is of course changing the way we communicate, work and learn,” his page reads.
The White House website also created a page for Al Gore’s cartoon gallery that showcases Al Gore’s caricature in local and national cartoon strips. “Vice President Al Gore has amassed a large personal collection of cartoons characterizing his public life,” the page states. “Below are a few examples from his personal collection.”
The White House has certainly evolved with the times and the rise of social media with widgets, live streams, interactives, photo galleries, podcasts, Reddit AMAs, original videos, and frequent Vines.