Obama chimes in on pop culture, 140 characters at a time
Jul. 07, 2015
WASHINGTON (AP) — After dipping his toe in the online world of Twitter years ago, President Barack Obama is now jumping in head-first, popping off tweets at all hours of the day about pop culture, sports and even Supreme Court rulings.
Although the White House has used Twitter throughout Obama's presidency, until recently it's been a highly scripted endeavor, with press aides composing and releasing tweets about Obama's agenda at strategic times. Only occasionally would Obama post to Twitter himself, identifying a bona fide presidential tweet by appending his initials.
Now Obama is composing his own tweets almost daily, weighing in on issues of the day from any location, without the filter of his press office. He's been tweeting with increased frequency since inaugurating his personal twitter account, @POTUS, earlier this summer.
"Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really!" Obama wrote in May. "Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account."
So how, exactly, does a president tweet? Obama, who has been known to use an iPad and a Blackberry, can send tweets from a variety of secure devices, according to the White House. Obama gives his team a heads up before he tweets, and his staff says he sometimes agrees to tweet about topics his aides suggest.
In the six weeks since Obama kicked off the account, he's already amassed more than 3 million followers. He follows only 66 Twitter users — mostly sports teams, federal agencies and top government officials. He briefly set a record for attracting a million followers faster than any other Twitter user. But Obama's record was quickly broken by Caitlyn Jenner.
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, says Obama was enthusiastic about having the chance to use venues like Twitter to communicate with people. "He's really taken to the idea," Earnest said.
A look at some of Obama's recent tweets:
Obama's first reaction to the Supreme Court's historic ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide came not in a press release or a Rose Garden appearance but through his Twitter account.
"Today is a big step in our march toward equality," Obama tweeted on June 26. "Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else."
When an enthusiastic debate broke out on Twitter this month about including peas in guacamole, Obama took to Twitter to say he had no appetite for the added ingredient. He responded to the pea-laden recipe in The New York Times during a "Twitter town hall" — a medium the White House has been trying out in which the president takes questions from Americans directly on Twitter.
"Respect the NYT, but not buying peas in guac," the president wrote, offering his personal recipe: "Onions, garlic, hot peppers. Classic."
BRING IN THE BAND
After Obama tweeted that he'd spent his morning listening to the new album from The Black Keys, the rock band tweeted back asking if they could use Air Force One for their upcoming gigs. A few hours later — at 8 p.m. on a weeknight — Obama tweeted his response to the band: "It's not mine; just a loaner. Maybe you can come play at the White House sometime instead?"
No word on whether the group will be rocking out at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
NO. 1 FAN
Obama congratulated the American soccer team and midfielder Carli Lloyd for their victory Sunday night in the Women's World Cup.
"What a win for Team USA!" Obama wrote, adding: "Your country is so proud of all of you. Come visit the White House with the World Cup soon."
Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP