America, we've been duped. We thought the tweets coming from @BarackObama were actually written by the President himself, and now, we've learned that over the past few years, it's really been his staff sending out his tweets. Boo, lame! (Although, one might argue he has a lot of better, more important things to do than tweet all day, right?) Anyway, now that we're getting into the 2012 election, Barry himself will be sending out tweets. You'll be able to differentiate them from Obama for America staff tweets, because he'll sign 'em "-BO." That's cool.
A mere three years ago, social media sites like Twtter and Facebook were rarely used by politicians, but now, it's pretty much required for election or re-election to tweet. Obama's 2008 campaign changed the game. But it's like we've entered a whole new phase lately.
A phase in which social media use has actually gotten out of control for politicians like Anthony Weiner (who shouldn't have gotten so up close and personal with his tweets) and Sarah Palin (who doesn't seem to know when to stop mouthing off and pretending she speaks for all Americans via her tweets).
Getting into the game now, the President is entering dangerous Twitter-tory.
But the recipe for social media success -- and not a scandal -- isn't a difficult one. I think it all comes down to proving you can utilize the media to effectively interact with voters, while maintaining a barrier of sorts, a layer of formality, just enough so that there's still plenty of respect for you as a leader.
We want our politicians to be outspoken, bold, intelligent, and to talk to us human to human. That's why social media is so damn cool. It can be like a perpetual, virtual town hall. But I don't need to see Twitpics from them of their favorite tie or hear what they think of the White Sox score or read some kind of insider-y convo between @BarackObama and @NancyPelosi. No, that won't do. It has to be all about the people, all about their jobs. That's the only way they'll maintain credibility.
I think Prez Obama has proven he's got that recipe down pat before, and taking over his own Twitter account from time to time now won't change anything or put him at risk for a cybersex scandal (heh). But at the same time, we also better hope we don't see more of the same. If he wants to win a second term, President Obama and his staff are going to have to change the social media game -- all over again.
What do you think about President Obama tweeting for himself -- terrific idea or trouble?
Image via jamesomalley/Flickr