Tonight, President Obama reflects on eight years of progress. Watch the #FarewellAddress at 9 pm ET: https://t.co/ZnwTsg155B #ObamaFarewell— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 10, 2017
That's pointing you to another place, the place where he's most comfortable speaking to the American people: on TV, in a calm, upholstered setting, a few feet away from a news or talk-show celebrity whose face glows with love.
And it's odd, isn't it?, that @BarackObama speaks of Barack Obama in the third person — President Obama reflects on eight years of progress.
That's not really the right way to do Twitter. You should feel like a real person, talking straight to us. Directly at us and in clear words that convey specific, almost startling meaning.
And you have to put a few things up every day. Before that January 10th tweet, @BarackObama hadn't tweeted anything since before the election. On November 5th, he tweeted: "In the weekly address, President Obama discusses what #Obamacare has done to improve health care" — (another promo for a speech, a little note to say what I have to say will be somewhere other than on Twitter). And he had 2 posts that day. The other one was: "Let's keep working to keep our economy on a better, stronger course."
Now, I'm reading the fine print: "This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo." I don't think there's been a "-bo" tweet in over a year.
Imagine the praise that would be lavished on Barack Obama if he'd really tweeted in the way that counts as real tweeting. Imagine if he'd said pithy things that cut to the core of important issues and events and if he had taken good-humored shots at critics. Oh! He'd have been celebrated as the new-media-savvy genius of the world!
But Barack Obama will only be President for 3 more days. The incoming President actually has already established himself a brilliant Twitter user. He has leaped over innumerable political and media critics, danced over their heads in a mind-boggling journey to the White House. He's talked to us the People in clear, sharp words and no one could stop him. We liked the straight talk. Not all of us, but some of us, and those that liked it got their/our way.
But the mainstream media will never celebrate his new-media genius. That's why he had to be a new-media genius to get where he did in the most impressive free-speech achievement in the history of the world. Oh! Suddenly, I am celebrating him. But I'm not mainstream media. I'm new media too. I'm savvy in my own way in my little domain of blogging, and I think I can say from one new-media voice to another: I celebrate you!
And to those old media people who publicly agonize about the prospect of the new President tweeting: I have seen your phony-baloney worried faces on the news shows...
... as you confront the serioso question whether Trump's advisers can stop him from tweeting. You are worried about yourselves, and rightly so. And you know damned well you'd have been utterly delighted and overflowing with praise if Barack Obama had tweeted like Donald Trump.
ADDED: Organizing for Action. That sounds familiar. Ah! Here it is. My post from January 18, 2013:
"Obama unveils 'Organizing for Action.'"Ha ha. And now, clicking on the Politico link, I see why @BarackObama is such a dead, dull Twitter feed:
I read the Politico headline out loud.
Meade immediately improvises a song, and I have the wit and the skill to transcribe as he sings:
Organize for actionADDED: "You in?"
Organize for some action, baby
Organize my organ
Activate my organ for organizing
A little girly action
Organize for action
President Barack Obama on Friday announced the relaunch of his remaining campaign apparatus as a new tax-exempt group called Organizing for Action that will “play an active role” in “mobilizing around and speaking out in support of important legislation” during his second term.The tax code lures people into restricting their own speech. Obama let his name appear on a Twitter feed that was doomed to be un-Twitter-y by the need to fit the demands of the IRS. Big Government trips over itself. Sad!
ALSO: I am directed to the Twitter feed @POTUS. This too presents itself as Barack Obama tweeting. I see 3 MLK Day tweets. e.g., "Dr. King and those who marched with him proved that people who love their country can change it. As Americans, we all owe them a great deal." Before that there is a January 12th post expressing pride in the arrival of Obama's autograph on Mars.
There is a January 12th post:
Thank you for everything. My last ask is the same as my first. I'm asking you to believe—not in my ability to create change, but in yours.Ask not what your President can change for you, ask what you can do for change.
On January 1st, similarly, Barack Obama spoke in vague terms about himself:
It’s been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen. Happy New Year everybody.And, also on New Year's, he approved of himself in a series of tweets like:
From realizing marriage equality to removing barriers to opportunity, we've made history in our work to reaffirm that all are created equal.I've reviewed this Twitter feed too, and I stand by my position that Barack Obama is not doing anything that I would count as real tweeting. There's no sense that the human being Barack Obama is using Twitter to speak to us directly and to speak clearly in his personal voice. Like @BarackObama, @POTUS feels like banal PR written by some unknown person with an assignment to cause a Twitter presence to exist.
AND: I've actually followed @POTUS since its inception, so I have seen it come up continually as I read Twitter. It's obviously not made an impression on me as something beyond a generic White House PR feed.