Presidential Twitter Townhall @townhall

Yesterday, President Obama sent out his first publicly observable tweet starting off a new form of online Town Hall meeting, a Twitter town hall:

http://twitter.com/#!/whitehouse/status/88670359720697856

The Twitter Town Hall meeting was the second large-scale social media event sponsored by one of the most influential social media companies in the U.S.: About three months ago, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.com, has sponsored and moderated a Facebook Town Hall meeting live. This time the online Town Hall meeting was sponsored and moderated by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey:

[picture linked from The Guardian]

The most tweeted question was similar to what we have seen during the Open For Questions event: The most tweeted question – retweeted here as an example – with close to 5,000 retweets was:

http://twitter.com/#!/RobertJW4688/status/88784189264117761

The tweet was not answered by the President, even though it seems very different to the pro-marihuana agenda many people were pushing during the Open For Questions event. This one seems to be intelligent, with implications for overcrowded prisons and a sense that the consequences of legalizing marihuana might actually have a positive long-lasting impact on the legal system in the U.S. and could save government a lot of money.

The President also addressed a question posted by the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, giving the Republican party a minute in the limelight as well:

https://twitter.com/#!/johnboehner/status/88618213008621568

You can watch the whole event on the White House YouTube channel:

According to the graphic below, the submitted questions to the hashtag #askobama slowly picked up during the days leading up to the Twitter Town Hall, but then rapidly increased on the day before the actual event. The following statistics were published on http://obama.twitsprout.com/ and linked here:

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About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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