In a video posted to his new Facebook page, the president invites users to take a walk with him in his backyard. It might look familiar.
Screenshot by CNET
Do you “Like” President Barack Obama?
Obama on Monday said he’s set up a Facebook page, “POTUS,” where he plans to “have real conversations about the most important issues facing our country.” The president said he also plans to share “just-for-fun stuff, too.”
In his “Hello, Facebook!” post, Obama shared a video from the White House lawn showing him talking about his upcoming trip to Paris to discuss carbon pollution and other climate issues. “If we’re all in this together, I’m confident we can solve this and do right by future generations,” he wrote.
Three hours after joining, he garnered 147,231 “Likes,” far fewer than the rate of Twitter followers he collected May 18 when he joined the microblogging service. The number of “Likes” however climbed to more than 262,000 by the afternoon.
If you’re starting to sense a theme from the White House, you’re not alone. This new Facebook page is part of a social-media campaign the Obama administration has been pushing lately. In May, Obama joined Twitter under the username @POTUS, and garnered 1 million followers, faster than anyone else on the service up to that point (adding a Guinness World Record to the president’s list of accomplishments). In September, the president posted images and videos to Twitter, Instagram and the White House Facebook page to discuss the impact of climate change in Alaska.
The White House has built a roughly 20-person social-media team that manages the president’s various accounts and decides when to speak out on current events, according to The New York Times. Obama seldom writes his own social-media posts, the paper said.
More than anything, though, it appears the White House is attempting to establish a presence for the president as a person, not just the chief executive of the federal government. Part of that is younger generations’ preference for this type of communication. On average, looking at Facebook and Instagram takes up more than a fifth of mobile Americans’ attention.
In the “About” section of his page, Obama says he’s a “Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States. Comments and messages received through this account may be archived: wh.gov/privacy.”