White House Hits Three Million Twitter Followers

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White House

August 4, 2012; Source: WhiteHouse.gov Blog

A rather large and significant part of our world has 3,000,000 Twitter followers: the White House, or @WhiteHouse when you’re using Twitter. While social media has blossomed as a communications instrument in government, business, and the nonprofit world, the Obama White House has embraced social media like there’s no tomorrow (and without social media, there might not be a tomorrow for the Obama administration) to become the republic’s most social media-attentive administration in history.

It is aggressive and comprehensive in its domination of social media as a means of political communication and political community-building. In addition to the general @WhiteHouse account, consider these other Twitter accounts that the White House would love to see followed by citizens interested in getting the Obama message:

@blog44; White House blog

@JoiningForces; Joining Forces, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to support military families

@lacasablanca; White House updates in Spanish

@letsmove; Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids

@OMBPress; Office of Management and Budget

@VP; Office of Vice President Biden

@WeThePeople; We The People, the White House petition tool

@WhiteHouseOSTP; Office of Science and Technology

@WhiteHouseCEQ; Center of Environmental Quality

@WHLive; White House live updates

@Brundage44; Amy Brundage, deputy press secretary

@ChrisLu44; Chris Lu, cabinet secretary

@DavidAgnew44; David Agnew, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

@jearnest44; Josh Earnest, principal deputy press secretary

@jesseclee44; Jesse Lee, director of progressive media and online response

@JonCarson44; Jon Carson, director of the Office of Public Engagement

@jsmith44; Jamie Smith, deputy press secretary

@ks44; Kori Schulman, director of online engagement for the Office of Digital Strategy

@macon44; Macon Phillips, director of the Office of Digital Strategies

@petesouza; Pete Souza, director of the White House Photography Office

@pfeiffer44; Dan Pfeiffer, director of communications

@PressSec; Jay Carney, White House press secretary

@vj44; Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president

Using Storify, the White House has posted some of what it considers its “top Twitter moments:”

  • the launch of @WhiteHouse on May 5, 2009;

  • the first-ever White House Twitter Town Hall on July 6, 2011;

  • twenty days later, the launch of “Office Hours,” a Twitter Q&A (#WHChat) for followers to get questions answered;

  • the December 2011 #40dollars campaign to get people speaking in favor of extending the payroll tax cut;

  • the January 2012 Office Hours “marathon” following the State of the Union speech involving 30 administration officials answering questions—and VP Joe Biden’s first Twitter interview;

  • the president’s surprise Q&A appearance to press Congress on job creation; and

  • the June 2012 #DontDoubleMyRate campaign, which mobilizes people to argue against increases in student loan rates.

Twitter communications with the White House aren’t always positive endorsements of the Obama administration’s policy proposals. People use access to the White House Twitter accounts to give the White House feedback on things that are not going well, too, though we suspect some of that negative feedback in this political environment is undoubtedly the canned screeds of ideologues. Hopefully, some of the White House responses are meaningful communications rather than poll-tested, PR-generated applause lines.

We’re curious: Some NPQ Newswire readers just have to be among the 3,000,000 followers of @WhiteHouse, true? What has been your experience tweeting to the White House?—Rick Cohen