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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Presidential Twitter press conference

Just watched the first Presidential Twitter press conference - mostly on MSNBC, which stopped its live coverage about 10 minutes before the press conference was over.  I saw the rest on the more reliable Twitter site.

Like all firsts - such as the first YouTube Presidential debate, back in the 2008 campaign - the Twitter event was as much show as substance.   But there were some good questions and answers, and I think the event was therefore worthwhile.

Herewith a few helpful, friendly criticisms:
  • The "curation" or screening of questions gets in the way of the democratizing point of this kind of event.  Obviously, no President or any one person could answer or even read the multitude of Tweets.   My suggestion is randomly select the Tweets that the President will see and respond to.
  • Along these same lines, the inclusion of Tweets from House Speaker Boehner and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof only get in the way of a Twitter press conference being a real expression of the people.  Neither Boehner nor Kristof need Twitter to get their ideas in front of President Obama.  Most other Americans do.
  • Obama needs to work on his pronunciation.  The funniest part of the press conference was when he pronounced a Tweeter named "Schnapps" or "Shnapps" as "Shnepps" (apparently Obama has never had a schnapps?  Oy!)
But, all in all, a good first effort the President and the Twitter sector of new new media.  I hope we'll see more.  And this will be the first lesson in my "Politics and New Media" graduate class which I begin teaching at Fordham University tonight.


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