Welcome to Twitter, Barack Hussein Obama! Having allowed his staff to mostly run the official @barackobama account for years, the US President is finally on the social network proper.
Tweeting for the first time via his new @POTUS handle, Obama wrote: “Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.”
As you do when first signing up, the Commander-and-Chief has gone on a following frenzy, first selecting the official White House account and, secondly, the first lady Michelle Obama (priorities, man). He’s also followed former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as some of the educational institutes he has attended and his favourite Chicago-based sports teams.
Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.
— President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015
POTUS, of course, stands for President of the United States, so whether or not Barack hands the keys over to the next guy in 2016, we don’t know. For now, this account appears to be the best place to go for clear and direct comments from Obama. The official White House blog has expanded on its intent.
“The @POTUS Twitter account will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him. President Obama is committed to making his administration the most open and participatory in history, and @POTUS will give Americans a new venue to engage on the issues that matter most to them.”
Obama has endured quite a bit of online trouble of late. Last month a spear-phishing attack led to sensitive parts of the White House email system being breached and Russian hackers gaining access to real-time information, including the President’s schedule.
It was also recently revealed that an employee at the Australian Immigration Department unintentionally emailed passport numbers and visa details of, among others, Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron, to an organiser of the Asian Cup football tournament. The world leaders were all in Brisbane at the time for last year’s G20 summit.