White House Embraces Twitter

Obama administration sponsors eight feeds, in addition to the president's own, for connecting with the public.

Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributor

November 16, 2010

2 Min Read

Best Government Websites

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Best Government Websites

The size of the sweet potatoes in the First Lady's garden and the time White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs leaves the White House for the day are just two of the many things people can learn about activities at the White House through eight official Twitter feeds.

The Obama administration underscored its active participation in the social network and the different perspectives about the administration people can glean from it in a White House blog post this week.

Obama has been the most tech-savvy to date, making use of contemporary technology apart of the fabric of his administration. Using social networks like Facebook and Twitter to better engage with citizens also is in line with his Open Government Directive, which requires all agencies and departments to use technology to be more transparent about activities and provide better public services.

The eight White House-sponsored Twitter feeds are: @whitehouse, @lacasablanca, @PressSec, @billburton44, @petesouza, @macon44, @whitehouseostp, @OpenGov. @whitehouse shares tweets about activities going on at the residence itself, while @lacasablanca is a similar feed for Spanish-language speakers. @PressSec is Robert Gibbs' Twitter feed, on which he shares insights about his work with the president and news coming out of the White House, while Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton shares pertinent news links and humorous quips -- such as his opinion on Gibbs' new eyeglasses ("@presssec rocking some new glasses") -- on @billburton44. People can view behind-the-scenes photos of the president and other administration and First Family activity via White House photographer Pete Souza's Twitter feed (@petesouza), while New Media Director Macon Phillips tweets about some of the ways the administration is leveraging contemporary technology at @macon44. The Office of Science and Technology policy has its own feed (@whitehouseostp) for sharing anecdotes and links to notable scientific or technological breakthroughs. The administration also has a feed for the Open Government Initiative itself; on @OpenGov, people can find links and anecdotes about the strides the administration is taking in that area. People appear to be most interested in activities at the White House itself; that feed has 1,882,850 followers. The press secretary also has a sizable following, with 113,918 people interested in his tweets. The White House even will compile questions from Gibbs' followers, which he will take turns answering in daily online videos. What the blog post fails to mention is that the president, too, has a Twitter feed, @barackobama. His is the most popular of all, with 5,904,044 followers.

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