So President Barack Obama got his own personal Facebook page. It has his timeline with life moments, a video of him tooling around in his backyard, and a promise of some just-for-fun stuff in the future as well. It's also yet another creative and attention-getting idea from an administration that has a long history of being smart and successful with social media outreach.
And that's because it's done by professionals. The thing is, while most people post their statuses while they're in between work meetings or waching TV, President Obama's online presence, per The New York Times, is managed by a team of 20 White House staffers. This is normal for any president's media team, but no administration has had so extensive a social media presence.
Strangely enough, Obama's actual Facebook page as president is facebook.com/barackobama/ while his new personal account is facebook.com/potus/ (President of the United States). And his first message on this new Facebook account was about one of his late-term passions, addressing the issue of climate change.
Hello, Facebook! I finally got my very own page. I hope you'll think of this as a place where we can have real conversations about the most important issues facing our country - a place where you can hear directly from me, and share your own thoughts and stories. (You can expect some just-for-fun stuff, too.)I'm kicking it off by inviting you to take a walk with me in my backyard - something I try to do at the end of the day before I head in for dinner. I say this often, but that's because it's always at the front of my mind: We've got to preserve this beautiful planet of ours for our kids and grandkids. And that means taking serious steps to address climate change once and for all. Now, we've made a lot of progress to cut carbon pollution here at home, and we're leading the world to take action as well. But we've got to do more. In a few weeks, I'm heading to Paris to meet with world leaders about a global agreement to meet this challenge.I hope you'll join me in speaking out on climate change and educating your friends about why this issue is so important. At a time when nearly three in four adults online use Facebook, this feels like a great place to do it. Share your thoughts in the comments, and pass this message on to folks you think need to see it.If we're all in this together, I'm confident we can solve this and do right by future generations.Posted by President Obama on Monday, November 9, 2015
Also strange? The events listed in the President's timeline. For example, on January 20th, 2009, he was sworn in as President of the United States. Is that something Facebook lets you pick from major life events? Like just under the "Got Married" box there's a "Became Leader of the Free World" one?
Makes your post to your timeline about switching jobs seem kind of small in comparison, doesn't it?
One of the interesting things about the Obama presidency has been the strong focus on social media and other tech- and media-oriented outreach efforts. Certainly any administration that lasted from 2008 to 2016, during the period when social media went from something young people used to something everyone used, was going to utilize new technology and ways of communicating. But the Obama administration has taken unique advantage of the rise of the social media era.
The creation of the Facebook page has become yet another channel in the media-savvy arsenal that is this President's outreach efforts. This was a president who sat between two ferns with a scruffy comedian and used a selfie stick and muttered "Thanks, Obama," to himself to promote his healthcare initiative. He did an AMA on Reddit. Obama's "Four More Years" tweet was, at the time, the most retweeted of in history.