Daily Video

July 7, 2011

Town Hall Highlights Social Media’s Use as Political Tool

In his most recent endeavor to embrace and utilize social media, President Barack Obama used the popular social networking service Twitter to address public inquiries during a town hall meeting.

According to the White House, more than 60,000 tweets were sent to the event by noon, and many more came in even as the event took place. Many of the day’s questions focused on jobs and the economy.

Users from all over the U.S. and the world tweeted their questions and concerns. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey participated in the event by selecting and posing a handful of questions to the president.

Twitter is micro-blogging and social networking service that was founded in 2006 and has since gained massive popularity. The service has more than 200 million registered users, including the president of the United States.

Mr. Obama is not the only well-known political figure using Twitter to connect with citizens. Republican Mitt Romney used the service to announce to his followers that he is running for president. And with more than half a million followers, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is a frequent user as well sometimes posting multiple times a day.

The Twitter town hall was the third such social media event for the president this year. Earlier, Mr. Obama also took part in a town hall hosted by Facebook, and he also answered video questions submitted via YouTube.


“We have to be successful at the cutting-edge industries of the future like Twitter. But we also have always been a country that makes stuff.” Barack Obama, president.

“What we want to focus on is advanced manufacturing that combines new technology, so research and development to figure out how are we going to create the next Twitter, how are we going to create the next Google, how are we going to create the next big thing, but make sure that production is here.” Barack Obama, president.

Warm Up Questions

1. What is a town hall meeting? What is a democracy?

2. What purpose do town hall meetings serve in a democratic society?

3. What is social media? What are some examples of social media?

Discussion Questions

1. Do you visit any social media websites? If yes, which one(s)? What do you use them for?

2. Why do you think that President Obama is using social media websites to reach out to citizens?

3. If you could have submitted a question for President Obama via Twitter, what would you have asked? Why?

Additional Resources

Video Transcript

Social Media in 2020 and Beyond

Are Social Media Services the Next Tech Bubble?

Space Explorers Keep Contact With Social Media

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