19 Replies to “Observing Obama’s First Twitter Town Hall Live”

  1. I enjoyed it. A close friend of mine mentioned that Shnaps guy or whoever he was and tweeted something like “this is a joke”. And I understand why some people may have felt that or challenged the questions, or any of that. 

    But I believe a lot of that missed the point. Government is run by committee, and expecting perfection out of an organization is just as silly as expecting perfection from a person. And having occasionally lived abroad… in Africa specifically a few times… 

    The privilege of being able to even virtually attend an event of historical significance moved me. And I was so happy and proud that people that you and Shireen were there to represent the events to us… Its amazing how far we’ve come. It’s so, so important that this is even happening. 

    We’re going to be brought closer and closer to having a direct impact on government on all levels… because one day, some people were sitting at their kitchen table, or in their bedrooms thinking how neat it would be if it were possible for us to communicate with each other by typing into boxes. 

    1. I think including Shnaps was perfect. It was the ideal example of Twitter, and its silliness, and at the same its representative nature of us as Americans. Who knows what Shnaps does in real life, right?

      Anyway, thanks for the positive comment. I agree, it is good that Obama is making himself more accessible directly, albeit, there is the scaling issue. How that changes Democracy in the United States remains to be seen. We do know it is having significant global impact already!

  2. Very cool that you were there Geoff. I’m sure it was quite a moment to be there and shake hands with the President. Serious congratulations on that. Thanks for this analysis of it. I watched as much of it on the feed as possible – it went down a couple of times.

    I guess I do wonder about the choice of the forum for this Town Hall. I’m surprised it was ‘only’ 40,000 questions but I always thought that the volume of questions versus how many could be answered was going to be a bit of problem – get real people. 

    I wasn’t all that impressed with it and not just because the feed failed. I saw this as more a campaign event than a real town hall. He did a great job sticking to his messages – and that is his job. But I don’t agree with perception that this was new, different, more open, closer to the people because he sent a tweet. 

    Other than funny user names and typos what was different from a press conference with the MSM? And, frankly, given his position that is what it had to be. So, did this do more than create an illusion of being closer to ‘us’ and listening to ‘us’? It didn’t work for me. 

  3. Uh…where are the pictures of the swanky bathrooms?! Priorities, Livingston!

    I’m really jealous you had this opportunity. What a very cool life experience! And I appreciate how you talked about the criticism as well as your own opinion.

    The one thing I took away? We live in this world where we expect Steve Jobs to answer our emails and the President of the United States to tweet us. But, let’s be real, it’s impossible to do that, run a business (or a country), and not have something fall through the cracks.

    1. Yeah, in some ways the social revolution reminds me of a baby who cries. At first, you respond to everything. As time passes it becomes impossible/ or not right to give the baby everything. For example, cries about bath time. So it is with demands for attention on the social web.

      1. I can’t picture your baby girl making a fuss over anything, most especially bath time! She’s perfect and cute and cuddly all the time, and you can’t tell me otherwise! :)

  4. What did I think? Well, I thought it was interesting, but I also stayed rather much away from it on Twitter. Much like currently I am staying away from a chat that I know will be sort of formulaic and weird because of who is there. I like my Twitter experience like I like my food – off the cuff.

    I will say that I think it was brave of Obama to do this, but also perhaps silly in a PR way. There is no way to please everyone in politics or in the online world. If you mix the 2? You’re bound to tick off more people than you make happy. 

    1. Yes, it’s a 51% game, and I find Twitter to be the snarkiest of all the socnets, so it is a bit of walking into a wolf’s den.  All in all, it could have been worse.

  5. Geoff, thanks for sharing your experience. I think we (generally speaking) maintain unrealistic expectations and forget the weight of the office. If a President looks unpolished or “authentically” on the fence, the opposition or other countries will seize that to score political points or to use as a bargaining chip. Sometimes, we all need a reality check.

    So glad you had a positive experience. Great recap! And, like @ginidietrich:disqus I’m a little jealous you got to experience this in-person! :)

    Heather

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