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Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 07/06/2011

Obama’s Twitter town hall — a social media fail?


#AskObama? Maybe #DontAskObama (KIMIHIRO HOSHINO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Everyone is aflutter about President Obama’s “historic” Twitter town hall. It’s legendary! A landmark event! It’ll revolutionize communications, bring us closer to our highest elected official!

No, it won’t.

My colleague Chris Cillizza at the Fix suggests that this conclave “almost regardless of the content of the actual questions — amounts to a win-win for the White House.”

Almost regardless of the content of the actual questions?

That’s a pretty big almost — and a sign that he’s probably read the #AskObama hashtag.

The medium is the message? This is a handy way of saying that “The message can’t possibly be the message, because the medium is composed of idiots who ask questions like “Are ETs visiting our planet?” and “Can you explain why half of your autobiography reads exactly like Bill Ayers’ book?

Those are what Sarah Palin would call “gotcha” questions. Can’t wait to see what he does with them!

Except that he won’t answer these questions. He will answer the staid and boring questions, like “How did you calculate the number of jobs?” and “Talk about your vision for engagement.”

As long as he’s going for it, what I would give to see President Obama actually answer the questions at random! That would put a kibosh on this concept more quickly than anything. Radical New Social Media engagement? Nine times out of 10, when people proclaim Social Media Engagement Initiatives, it is because the old guy in the corner of the room in the sweater vest who doesn’t know what any of the words means said, “Why don’t we put it on the Twitter?”

And the only way to show how foolish this is, is to respond to everything! Twitter is pulling no punches whatsoever. Tell the American Tweople what they want to know.

I imagine that it might go something like this:

Are you readt to be IMPEACHED?

I am not sure what readt is, or why you felt you needed to capitalize IMPEACHED. Malia and Sasha, my daughters, who are 13 and 10, would never do that. Regardless, please don’t impeach me.

How is PBS any different than Pravda?

Well, for starters, PBS has more cooking shows. Also it spends more time focusing on such natural wonders as caves, plants, elms and those glowing underwater fish. I for one could marvel at it for hours.

What is it you admire so much about Stalin’s Russia?

I don’t know. I don’t know. If I had to pick something, I would say “the architecture.” No, I’m sorry, “not the gulags.” Let’s go with that.

Was Rahm your partner at Gay Bath House in Chicago?

No.

Why so serious? xD

I am the President of the United States. x|

If I vote for you in 2012, will you finally get #ThugLife tattooed across your belly?

My initial answer is “No, definitely not.” But call me closer to November and we may be able to negotiate something, say removing the T.

if a tree fell in the woods and nobody was around to hear it, would it make a noise?

I will answer that question with another question. Is this Twitter town hall actually serving any purpose other than to inspire a vague terror in people who don’t use Twitter?

IS THIS YOUR IDEA OF CHANGE OBAMA

THAT’S NOT A QUESTION WHY IS EVERYONE CAPITALIZING EVERYTHING?

So there is this girl that is kinda into me, but Im not really sure its complicated. What should i do?

No more questions. Vote Obama 2012!

This is a pale attempt to recapture Obama’s chemistry with the coveted 18 to 25 demographic. “Young People are on Twitter!” withered advisers coo. “Look, here are statistics! Yessiree! You should be there, too.” No, not really. This is what Macbeth might call the false forest effect. The marching trees are a display meant for people who aren’t standing in the middle of the woods and wouldn’t know a real moving forest if they saw one. This will be most impressive to people who say that they’re Not Yet On The Tweeter and for whom “Barack Obama is hosting a Twitter town hall using hashtags” is just a fortuitous jumble of nonsense words. This is not an actual wood moving toward the castle. You can’t produce that at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday.

A success regardless of what the questions say? It had better be.

By  |  11:49 AM ET, 07/06/2011

Tags:  Twitter, Barack Obama, fail

 
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