Thursday, July 7, 2011

Was Obama's "Twitter Town Hall" a failure?

This past Wednesday, President Obama held the first live town hall meeting on Twitter. The event was hosted at the Whitehouse, and moderated by Twitter's Jack Dorsey. By using the #AskObama hashtag, anyone on twitter could submit a question for the president and Twitter Search algorithms and a panel of seasoned Twitter users identified appropriate tweets.

You can watch a recording of the event here.

The question is, was this a social media success for the man who has become known as "the social media president"?

Press reaction to the event is, perhaps predictably, mixed. Digital Trends reports that "The event moved surprisingly smoothly, if you don’t count the fairly robotic tone of Twitter’s Jack Dorsey." You can view a great infographic about the session by TwitSprout here.

If the goal was to revitalize the President's image as a tech-savvy candidate, it may not have been a success. This opinion post on The Daily Beast claims "The first problem was the president’s own apparent obliviousness to the format (despite the news that he’s started tweeting for himself)." And WNYC chimes in with the headline "What We Learned From Obama's Twitter Town Hall? He Doesn't Get Twitter."

Still, some credit is due for making an attempt to embrace new technologies. What do you think of this social experiment? Share with us in the comments or on twitter @Community20.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com.

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