U.S. President First: Obama Tweets, Takes Questions via Twitter

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U.S. President Barack Obama will go down in social media history as the first president to hold a virtual Town Hall meeting, when today he took questions via Twitter, and sent out the first presidential Tweet ever. Using the hashtag #AskObama on Twitter, President Obama’s Whitehouse team has been collecting questions for the President, through Twitter, since last Thursday. By the day of the meeting, more than 60,000 messages (Tweets) on Twitter had referenced the #AskObama hashtag. The first official presidential Tweet was a question for the President’s Twitter followers: “In order to reduce the deficit, what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep? BO”


Earlier today, prior to the Twitter Town Hall meeting, the Whitehouse released this statement:

Background on the President’s Twitter Town Hall Today

The Twitter Town Hall will be moderated by Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman. The audience consists of 140 guests, including over 30 White House “Tweetup” participants from across the country that follow @whitehouse on Twitter. Twitter users have been posting questions since last Thursday, and will continue to post questions throughout the Town Hall using the hashtag #AskObama. As of noon, there were more than 60,000 tweets about the event using the hashtag #AskObama.

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U.S. President First:  Obama Tweets, Takes Questions via Twitter

Twitter has partnered with Mass Relevance to curate, visualize and integrate conversations for the event. Mass Relevance data helps make the questions regionally and topically diverse and provides insight into the most popular topic areas. Algorithms behind Twitter search will identify the Tweets that are most engaged via Retweets, Favorites and Replies.

A team of seasoned Twitter users will also help flag questions from their communities through retweets.

* Iowa – @willwilkinson. Blogs about American politics for The Economist.
* Minnesota – @Kara_McGuire. Personal finance columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
* Illinois – @RamanChadha. Professor at DePaul University’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.
* North Carolina – @steven_norton. Former @dailytarheel editor-in-chief. He will be a senior at UNC and this summer is a business intern at @theobserver.
* Louisiana – @KimQuillenTP. Business Editor at The Times-Picayune.
* California – @AssignmentDesk1. Online content producer for North County Times in California.
* New Hampshire – @DrewHampshire. Editorial page editor at the NH Union Leader.
* At Large – @Modeledbehavior. Karl Smith is an assistant professor of econ at UNC and an economics blogger.

A team from Twitter will use the inputs above to select questions during the event. Additionally, Twitter has selected questions in the hours prior to the event from the pool of questions posed since last Thursday.

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U.S. President First:  Obama Tweets, Takes Questions via Twitter

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